How to Avoid GMOs when Shopping
1) Always Choose USDA Organic and/or Non-GMO Project Verified Products
USDA Organic products cannot intentionally include any GMO ingredients. Get the full story about organics and GMOs here >
Products bearing the “Non-GMO Project” verified seal indicate these products went through a separate certification process.
As of 2013, you can also include products bearing the GMO Guard verified seal from Natural Food Certifiers (the organization best known for their “Apple K Kosher” certification process / label).
2) Download a Free Smart Phone App
The list of Smart Phone apps that help people identify and avoid GMOs has grown so long, we’ve given it its own page. Click here to see them all >
3) Use a Printed List
Don’t have a smart phone? No problem. Download one (or more) of the following Non-GMO Shopping Guides and carry it in your wallet or purse:
- Non-GMO Project’s Shopping Guide
- Center for Food Safety’s Shopper’s Guide
- Institute for Responsible Technology’s Shopping Guide
- Mercola’s Non-GMO Shopping Guide
- Canada’s GMO Shopper’s Guide from Greenpeace
4) Choose GMO-Free / Family-Owned Organic Brands
- This page contains an alphabetized list of GMO-free food brands.
- This page provides a list of family/privately-owned organic brands who are OPPOSED to GMOs / contain no GMOs (remember, USDA Organic = GMO free!)
- This page lists the mega corporation-owned organic brands (many of whose parent companies donated millions of dollars to oppose GMO labeling; choose these brands only if you have no other choice for avoiding GMOs… your shopping dollars eventually “trickle upstream” to prevent labeling!)
5) Find Organic Grocery (and other) Stores in Your Area
This website maintains a list of the top “GMO / Right to Know”grocery stores by region. Here’s another website to locate everything from organic food stores to restaurants in your area.
6) Buy Organics Online (if you can’t find them locally)
If you aren’t having much luck finding anything in your area, consider getting your organics delivered from one of these online organic companies.
7) Find Farms, CSAs, and Organic Restaurants in Your Area
There are a number of websites that let you locate organic farms, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture: locally grown organic produce delivered to your door), farmer’s markets, and organic restaurants in your area by location and/or zip code. These include:
- Eat Wild: U.S. and Canada
- FarmMatch: U.S.
- Eat Local Grown: U.S.
- Certified Naturally Grown: U.S. + Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Ontario
- Local Harvest: U.S. and southern Canada
- Organic Food Database: U.S. and a few farms in Canada and Australia
- Green Restaurant Association: find “certified green” restaurants
8) Locate your Nearest Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter
Many people have never heard of this organization, whose mission is to “restore nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism.” When all else fails, try contacting one of their local chapters, which can be an excellent source to help you find locally-grown organic and biodynamic vegetables, fruits and grains, raw milk and organic dairy products, as well as eggs, chicken and meat from pasture-raised animals.
Many large grocery chains such as Safeway, Walmart, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Giant Foods, and others have developed their own in-house, privately labeled “Organic” brands. These are often a more affordable way to choose organics for your family. But are they GMO-free? That all depends…
If the product you are purchasing under their in-house organic label also bears the USDA Organic symbol, then that product can not intentionally contain any GMOs. However if you do not see this label, you must personally decide if you trust the store’s marketing claims about their sourcing, manufacturing, and certification process, since there is typically no publicly available documentation about any of these aspects. Here are a few examples of why some consumers are beginning to doubt these in-house labels:
Trader Joe’s insists that all Trader Joe’s branded products are sourced from GMO free ingredients. However many consumer groups are not convinced, because Trader Joe’s does not reveal the name of their “third party lab,” nor do they reveal their actual ingredient sources. In fact it was only after a salmonella outbreak traced back to Trader Joe’s peanut butter that the source of their peanut butter was revealed. Read our blog post about this issue here; here’s a second and a third article… and decide for yourself.
Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods maintains their own brand called 365 Everyday Value, in which “all ingredients derived from plants are sourced to avoid GMOs, and hundreds of those products are verified by the Non-GMO Project.” They are currently working to have both the organic and conventional products within the 365 line certified by Non GMO Project. However a recent Cornucopia Report claims to have found more than 50% GMO corn in Whole Foods’ 365 brand cornflakes…
Safeway claims it follows USDA Organic methods to ensure its “O Organic” line delivers what it promises. However just like Trader Joe’s, Safeway does not reveal its ingredient sources nor the names of its certification laboratory(ies). Furthermore, Safeway is a dues paying member of the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association—an organization that donated $2 million to defeat GMO labeling in California, and as of early Summer 2013, donated $472,500 (twice the amount of the next largest donor) in the movement to defeat GMO labeling initiative I-522 in Washington state.
For Additional Recommendations about Avoiding GMOs…
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Please tell me that youre going to keep this up! Its so great and so important. I cant wait to read more from you. I just feel like you know so much and know how to make people listen to what youve got to say. Excellent stuff, really. Please, PLEASE keep it up!
Thank you, and a big yes! 😀
I am very grateful for your research and information. I am trying to buy and eat healthy, but it is very difficult and very expensive. with the information you and others are publishing, hopefully the government will make changes, but I doubt it!! Unfortunately PROFIT is too important!
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i have just learned that 365 products, boxed, frozen or canned, are GMO ingredients unless it specifically states that it is organic. I had not understood this, until just this week and mistakenly took for granted that Whole Foods’s own 365 brand just meant non GMO. NOT AT ALL SO.
Flor, can you provide a source for your information? As recently as a week ago, I was in a Whole Foods store, where their “How to Avoid GMOs” sign prominently posted in the store listed their 365 Brand as one of the three methods to avoid GMOs. While I’m not in a hurry to believe marketing signs, I always want to source the facts.
This is really late to this conversation, but I found this link. Please let me know your thoughts: http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/05/foods-365-everyday-value-good-bad-questionable/
I think it’s an awesome link; I’ll be adding it to various pages of this blog where Whole Foods is discussed, thank you!
Whole foods also sells GMO products. In fact, many local markets sell these products and don’t even know it because Monsanto refuses to label the dangers of there products so as to be prevented from shutting them down. I feel that they are too huge of a company now to even do so. We also have been eating GMO products since the 90’s without the public knowing until now because of the internet and various doctor’s and scientists that have diligently been testing there products with lab rats. You can research it for yourself on you tube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=monsanto+documentary
We are all doomed for sure and what I don’t believe is that the FDA along with the government doesn’t care about the damage it is causing both to mankind, animals and the environment. It’s not fair nor morally responsible for a bunch of corporate greedy mongers to do these things without criminal consequences or accountability. May God protect and help us from these evil and sinister people who only care about their own selfish greedy desires. Amen.
This information is perfect. Thanks!
Your information on Trader Joes is old….
Please elaborate; I’m always happy to update information with new sources! 🙂
Taking our first big steps towards a non-gmo household. Have been aware and buying USDA Organic when we can. With a three year old and 7 month twins, we can no longer ignore this issue. I can’t imagine feeding this stuff to my kids. This page has inspired us to take the step. Your information is incredible. Do you have a newsletter? If not, you should.
Thanks so much for your comment. Big high five to you for making the shift for your family!!
We do not have a newsletter, but you’re welcome to subscribe to this website by email (there’s a link in the right margin on the home page) to receive our (roughly) monthly posts, or follow our Facebook page, where we provide more frequest news, tips, and updates. 🙂
I am full of admiration for your relentless pursuit of information regarding GMO foods. Here in Britain we have more safeguards but not enough yet. We are reeling from the horse meat scandal which shocked many of us..and disgusted me so much I started a blog..wrote a book and started a fan page..that has led me to discover just how corrupt the food industry is..makes me want to go and join my family in New Zealand on their organic farm!
Keep up the good work..hope you don’t mind if I curate some of your information for my blog?
What a kind compliment… thank you! You are welcome to quote from the materials and resources you find on this blog with appropriate credits, thanks very much for being willing to learn more and raise awareness!
The iphone apps is not avalable for canadian. Do you thinks you can fix it for canadian human. I realised that part of my sickness is due to gmo messing with my guts and stomac. I try to avoid ogm but i need help to identify gmo based product.
Alain, I am sorry, but I do not know of any iPhone apps for non-GMO shopping in Canada, unfortunately! Hopefully one will be developed soon…
I’ve found a free app for android called “True Food Network” (Center for Food Safety), it has lots of shopping tips and a full updated shopping list, that truly helps me!
Bet ya didn’t know we have a whole page full of apps for ya! 😀 https://gmo-awareness.com/shopping-list/smart-phone-apps/
Buycott is a really great app. You can scan the products and it will tell you if it has gmos in it! If you need help with the app, you can email me at email@example.com. Some of my friends found the application confusing. Have a nice day 🙂
I am looking to go GMO free for my family and I. since looking into it I see it is very pricey:( we are a large family of 7 (FIVE KIDS;) on a very tight budget. I am a waitress and my husband is a laborer. I usually shop at Walmart for the value but I want my family healthy please give me some advice and tips on how I can do this for my family:) Thanks
Christina, first off, big kudos to you for seeking to go GMO free for your family! We started to compose a reply for you, and it grew so long that we’ve turned it into a blog post in your honor. We hope this helps! https://gmo-awareness.com/2014/05/19/10-ways-to-make-gmo-free-organic-food-affordable/
How do you tell if the food you buy is gmo or not? Anyone know of stores in NC that doesn’t sell gmo food?
As per this article, look for the USDA Organic and/or Non-GMO Project Certification on the package. For fresh produce, look for an organic section at your grocer, and ask the farmer at the farmer’s market to tell you more about where he sources his seeds and how he grows them. Although this article is focused on sweet corn in Canada, it has some good questions to use when speaking to your farmer at the bottom of the article.
I have petitoning for gmo labeling for all food. Just read a list yesterday that included two cereals I eat often Cheerios and Raisin Brand. Campbells creme of mushroom soup and the list goes on and on. I am horrified by this and will have to fnd alternatives. I am trying to eat healthier and do not want modified food in my body. Used to have my own vegtable garden because didn’t want chemicals on my veggies. Maybe will do that again this year.
Are the allegations that Whole Foods have been lying about their products being GMO-free true? This is very troublesome to me. I’ve been sticking to the local farmer’s markets and Trader Joe’s ever since I heard this news.
What we know about Whole Foods is discussed on this page >
Thank you for this information, I’m just becoming aware of GMO foods/products…this is so helpful for my family.
You are most welcome Tasha.
It should be Law that GMO products should be labeled the reason they do not is 95% of all meat grain bread chicken etc is GMO
Is there any nutrition value in GMO fruit meat etc ?
Yea. GMO fruits and vegetables are extremely nutritious. They are as nutritious or more nutritious than their nonGMO versions, but never less nutritious.
It should be law that gmo people food , live stock & pet foods be banned …. Who wants to eat Frankenstein food when , American farmers can grow awesome , God given food !!!
Greed rules the day and at the expense of life …. No wonder there is so much sickness and auto immune disease … It’s a crime against humanity …. Mad hatters running the food chain !!! America Wake up and look up we have a problem in the sky as well !!!! Among other things….
Thank you for sharing this information, as another reader commented, high prices are the first inconvenient to eat healthy, some people can afford it, many other can just try a little bit. Maybe all together can make the change happen and defeat the monster of GMO, People must know that we are all eatin poison. I am joining you to spread this info as much as I can.
Everyone is free to have their own superstitions. If you want great tasting, healthy food there is NOTHING wrong with eating GMO produce.
DNA is not an ingredient. Every single piece of scientific evidence shows that GMO food is healthy and safe and that the anti-GMO nonsense is unhelpful pseudoscience.
whether or not you believe in it’s safety or harm, the consumer deserves the product to be labeled GMO or non GMO. If there’s no problem, then what do they have to hide? Don’t take my choice away from me and the chance to understand what I’m eating exactly and how it was manufactured.
Alysia you are 100% right, its very important to know what we are feeding our familys, I do not want to eat round up ready foods…its Poison!
Im not sure if anybody knows but a firm called bryanwood is buying a lot of corporate brands and just reselling them under a different name suck as quaker unilever litelife and some. Different name same hazard.