How to Avoid GMO
There are all kinds of labeling out there on packages, produce, you name it. You can buy whole grain, low fat, sugar free, etc. You can check packaging for aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, and other potentially harmful and unnatural ingredients. This all stems from the belief that we have the right to know what we are eating, we have the right to avoid certain ingredients if we choose to. Why, then, is it so difficult to avoid Genetically Modified foods? According to a CBS news poll, 87% of consumers polled were in favor of GMO labeling. Most brands don’t label their packaging as no-GMO because most brands use GMO ingredients. Furthermore, even if they don’t use GMO ingredients, it can be difficult and expensive for them to achieve that labeling from the FDA. So how can a smart consumer avoid GMO ingredients in their foods?
Avoid Processed Food
Most processed foods are not labeled regarding GMO, even if they don’t contain GMO ingredients. Because of this, it is usually best to avoid processed foods. If you must buy processed, try to aim for packages with no-GMO labeling, or use the resources below to find brands committed to GMO free products.
There are several smartphone apps available to help you navigate the shelves of processed foods. Some of the popular ones include:
Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide: for iPhone
ShopNoGMO: for iPhone
Consult Online Resources
Non GMO Project
The Non GMO Project website has a wealth of information about GMO as well as an extensive list of verified non-GMO packaged foods. They list non-GMO beverages, sweets, oils, grains, meat, and more. This is a great resource to use to check if the brands that you typically purchase are non-GMO, even if the package itself may not say so.
The Center for Food Safety
The Center for Food Safety’s website also offers information about the labeling debate over GMO foods as well as an immense amount of information about other food-related issues. Their website is a great resource to stay informed about our food system.
USDA Organic products cannot contain GMO ingredients, so looking for products, meads, dairy and produce labeled as organic are usually a safe bet. There is a list of high-risk crops according to the Non GMO Project, which currently include alfalfa, corn, cotton, canola, papaya, soy, sugar beets, zucchini and yellow summer squash. Other items that are also high-risk include dairy, meat, eggs, and honey because of the contamination in their food. As mentioned, if a meat is labeled organic, that means that their feed was organic and GMO-free as well. There is also an extensive list of other ingredients that are derived from these same high risk crops, which you can find on the Non GMO Project website.
The best way to avoid GMO produce is to buy directly from a farmers market or a similar service, like our door-to-door grocery delivery. We partner with organic farms to deliver the best produce and other products in the area. Farmers know their crops better than anyone else; they know about the growing methods, the use of pesticides (whether natural or chemical-based), and they know if they are buying GMO seeds.