If you’re reading this, you probably already know what GMOs are. They are genetically modified organisms. They are an especially hot topic right now, but people have been fighting for our right to know if food has been genetically modified for decades already. Unfortunately, the fight is still going strong. So strong in fact that Monsanto might be suing the entire state of Vermont for recently taking action to require that genetically modified food is labeled as such. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons why a huge company like that is willing to fight so hard for secrecy in GMO-labeling is because there are an unbelievable amount of genetically modified foods and ingredients on the market.
Until we achieve full disclosure from food manufacturers, we should try buy as much local and organic produce as possible and try our best to get to know the farmers behind these products to ensure that they haven’t been genetically modified (and that they don’t come from genetically modified seeds). The Organic Trade Association prohibits GMOs, but only foods that have the “Certified Organic” label have been held to this standard. However, it’s difficult to procure 100% of our food this way, so it’s useful to know the top genetically modified foods in the USA – foods that you have to go out of your way to find without genetic modification.
Soy is one of the most commonly used food products in our country and it is also genetically modified most of the time. As of 2007, 91% of soy has been genetically modified. I do enjoy eating soy, but I have to go out of my way to find non-GMO soy.
Much like soy, most corn has been genetically modified. While the Non-GMO Project (look for the label) doesn’t guarantee food has not been genetically modified, it does guarantee that the products with the label have been vetted and that an overwhelming majority of the ingredients in any given food product have not been genetically modified. According to the Non-GMO Project, a 100% GMO-free label at this point from any food manufacturer would be misleading. You can find a list of Non-GMO Project-approved corn foods here: http://www.nongmoproject.org/find-non-gmo/search-participating-products/search-by-name/
You might love your canola oil, but 90% of all canola in the USA is genetically modified these days.
Cutting down on your sugar is a good idea regardless of GMO status. According to the American Heart Association, women should get no more than 25g of added sugar per day and men should get no more than 37.5g of added sugar per day. To put these numbers in perspective, a 12-ounce can of Coke has 35g of added sugar. But over-consumption and addiction aren’t the only issues with modern sugar. When a product lists sugar as an ingredient (opposed to pure cane sugar, for instance), there’s a good chance that the sugar is actually a combination of sugar cane sugar and sugar beets sugar and 90% of sugar beets in the USA are genetically modified – a number that is expected to rise.
Most of the zucchini you see in the produce aisle of a grocery store has been genetically modified. It has been engineered to resist certain viruses and it is among the most common genetically modified foods in the USA.