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Genetically Modified Food: 7 Things Every Shopper Needs to Know

Are you trying to sort out the pros and cons about genetically modified food and genetically modified organisms (also known as GMOs)? Here's what you need to know to shop wisely at the supermarket. 1. Genetically modified foods have been linked to serious health issues. Foods that are genetically modified have had their DNA structure changed, with a goal of improving the organism. This might make it more resistant to herbicides, so that it can grow while weeds around it are treated. However, several studies have shown a potential connection between genetically modified foods and illnesses such as cancer, infertility, and severe allergies. But the health risks are not entirely clear: many of these studies were conducted on animals, and the results might be different for people. While European countries are banning GM foods, at the same time their researchers are encouraging the technologies. In the U.S., labeling genetically modified foods has become a hot political topic, even though there are no long-term studies on GMOs because they are relatively new to our food stream. Concerned? Read on. 2. Genetically modified soy and corn are probably in many of the foods you buy. About 90 percent of the country's soy and corn crops are genetically modified. Since almost all processed foods contain their derivatives—and corn, the nation's largest crop, is a staple for animal feed—chances are high that you are eating genetically modified foods. How can you tell? For now, there are no labels required as there are in countries like Britain. Look for ingredients like maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), dextrose, soy lecithin, and corn starch. And unless your meat is grass-fed and specifically GMO-free, it's likely to have been affected, too. 3. It's not just plants; animals are being genetically engineered, too. The AquAdvantage salmon is a genetically engineered fish that grows to maturity in half the time of its natural cousins (one and a half years compared to three), and the company behind it is in the final stages of the lengthy, FDArequired New Animal Drug Application (NADA). If approved, it will be the first genetically modified animal in the U.S. food supply. This isn't the first time scientists have played with animals' genomes; the University of Guelph created the Enviropig, aka "frankenswine," in an effort to help pigs' digestion. But those GM pigs were subsequently killed off when the project lost funding. . Non-GMO Shopping Guide.. Also on the list: sugar beets. include canola oil and animal products like milk. Conventional . but especially for crops like corn and soy. papaya. and yellow squash. Also in January. 80 percent of your grocery store's items are derived from GMOs. zucchini.rd. Examples: Organic .. Organic farmers try their best to avoid contamination. Mars. Robert DeMaria D. Angela Pellegrini of non-GMO certified Saffron Road. Remember: organic food can still have traces of GMOs. Coca-Cola. Pepsi-Frito Lay. which recently became the first supermarket in America to require labeling on any GM foods. and others met with the FDA to review a mandatory federal GMO labeling law. OrganicConsumers.4. pesticide. This non-profit organization is currently the only third-party verification.S.. rising in popularity are retailers like Whole Foods. or both. some of the organic corn that's fed to organically raised chickens or pigs. You can decode how your food was grown by checking its produce sticker.D. 6. In addition to corn and soy.973634. In fact. Codes starting with "4" mean the food was likely treated chemically with an herbicide. high-level executives from some of the U. 7.C. eggs. and meats. General Mills. offering a Non-GMO Shopping Guide and app." explains NPR. 5. i. Mother Nature Read more: http://www.e. However. so it's best to ask. it can be particularly difficult.if pollen blows from genetically modified corn into your organic cornfield and pollinates a few kernels.’s largest food corporations like Wal -Mart.. you aren't 'using' it — at least according to the USDA's interpretation of those rules. Huffington Post. NonGMO Project. Although codes starting with "8" are meant to designate genetic modification. Institute for Responsible Technology. alfalfa. "Though organic rules prohibit the 'use' of genetic modification in organic agriculture. N. most supermarkets have not adapted that labeling practice with their produce. Today. Farmer's Weekly. also known as The Drugless Doctor. other foods that have been approved for genetic modification in the U.450801. You can check for the Non-GMO Project Verification logo. no chemicals or synthetic additives. Also: Organic largely means the type of farming methods involved. Codes starting with "9" are organic. Sources: Dr. does contain a small level of GMOs.S.