Two thirds of the people in the U.S. have no idea that most of what they eat every day contains genetically modified ingredients — starting with the primary foundation crops grown in our country.
Primary GMO Crops:
As of 2014, the USDA reports the following percent of all crops grown in the U.S. are genetically modified:
• Corn – 93% (up from 90% in 2013) *see note
• Soybeans – 94% (up from 93% in 2013)
• Cotton – 96% (up from 90% in 2013)
• Sugar Beets – 90% as of 2013 (2014 data not yet reported)
The following represent percentages from 2012, as no current data can be found on the USDA site:
• Canola – 88%
• Hawaiian papaya – more than 50%
• Zucchini and Yellow Squash – small %
• Quest brand tobacco – 100%
• Alfalfa (recently approved by the FDA; widely fed to animals to produce meat and milk)
• Kentucky Bluegrass (recently approved by the FDA; even more widely fed to animals to produce meat and milk; already an invasive grass in its natural state, it will spread even more uncontrollably with genetically engineered resistance to RoundUp)
• Farmed salmon (as of 2014, the FDA is still considering comments about their conditional approval of salmon containing a growth hormone)
*Because corn has been engineered to produce its own insecticide as it grows, the Environmental Protection Agency now regulates corn as an insecticide.
Think you don’t eat much of those crops? Think again. GMO is nearly impossible to escape because the byproducts of genetically modified soy, corn and sugar beets are used in almost every single processed food made in this country.
A few years ago the Grocery Manufacturers of America estimated that 75% of all processed foods in the U.S. contained a genetically modified ingredient. And the numbers have only gone up since. Most of these GMO ingredients come from the “Big Five:” corn, soybeans, canola, sugar beets, and cottonseed (used for oil).
Your safest bet? Always buy products marked 100% Organic, USDA Organic, or Non-GMO Project certified. Read more about that here.
Other Sources of GMOs:
- Meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GMO feed (the primary use of GMO corn and soy is to feed U.S. meat animals)
- Dairy products from cows injected with the GMO hormone rbGH
- Food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, ranging from the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet) to the rennet used to make cheese (if the dairy animals were fed GMO feed)
- Honey and bee pollen from bees that have foraged on nearby GMO crops
Typical GMO Foods to Avoid:
Here are the specific types of foods that rely heavily on GMO ingredients in their processing, unless they are certified USDA Organic or Non-GMO Project verified:
• Infant formula
• Protein powder
• Malt (used in beer)
• Sodas (GMO corn syrup)
• Juice drinks (GMO corn syrup)
• Enriched flour
• Baking powder
• Any sugar not 100% cane-sourced
• Confectioner’s glaze
• Vanilla (when it contains corn syrup)
• Chocolate and other candy (Mars and Hersheys use GMO beet sugar)
• Eggs from chickens that are given GM feed
• Milk, cheese, butter and ice cream (from animals that eat GM feed or cross-pollinated hay)
• Frozen yogurt
• Meat from animals that eat GM feed; the USDA recently approved Round-Up resistant alfalfa
• Hamburgers and hotdogs
• Veggie burgers
• Meat substitutes
• Soy cheese
• Peanut butter
• Fried food (the frying oil is usually from a GM crop)
• Salad dressing
• Tomato sauce
• Tamari and Soy sauce
• White vinegar
Even non-food items such as cosmetics, soaps, detergents, shampoo and bubble bath often contain GMO ingredients.
Typical GMO Ingredients:
Drilling down one final step, click on this page to see an extensive list of ingredients that are derived from genetically modified corn, soy, sugar beets, canola, and cottonseed oil, which are used in the processing of the above list of GMO Foods to Avoid.
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