As many of us have come to know, navigating the supermarket isles is no longer a trivial task. Until recently, those concerned about consuming genetically modified foods (or foods made from genetically modified ingredients) were unable to shop with confidence as a result of the absence of mandatory GM food labeling in the United States.
Taking initiative,Â the Institute for Responsible Technology (a.k.a. The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America) togetherÂ with the Center for Food Safety, have created the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, which has recently been updated.
The updated Guide includes new features, such as a free iPhone App, the ShopNoGMO, which, not only lists brands that do not use genetically modified ingredients, but also identifies more than 100 hidden ingredients, like dextrose and lecithin, which may be derived from GM soy, corn or other GMOs, so consumers know what to avoid. Plus, the iPhone App divides foods into 22 categories, making it easy to locate brands.Â The App also allows users to create favorites lists and answers frequently asked questions about GMOs.
You may also want to check out the updated Guide on-line and familiarize yourself with food products and labels. The Guide, for example, gives you information as to the following:
1. Foods that have not been genetically engineered â€“ a category which includes most fruits and vegetables (the only commercialized GM fruit so far is papaya from Hawaii â€” about half of Hawaiiâ€™s papayas are GM).
2. Foods derived from animals fed or treated with GE products – While GE animals are not yet commercialized, plenty of non-organic foods are produced from animals raised on GM feed. The Guide advises that you should â€ś[l]ook for wild rather than farmed fish to avoid fish raised on genetically modified feed, and 100% grass-fed animals.â€ť
Similarly, while shoppers may already be purchasing milk labeled rbGH free, which denotes that cows were not injected with the genetically engineered hormone rbGH, also called rbST, to boost milk production, they may be surprised to know that the animals producingÂ such milkÂ may still have been fed with GM feed. Only organic dairy products are rbGH-free and do not use GM grains as feed.
3. GE foods and ingredients â€“ The updated Guide also identifies the by-products of the most common genetically modified crops inÂ the United States–corn, soy, canola, and cotton.Â Such byproductsÂ include, but are not limited to, starch, gluten, syrup, soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate, and isoflavone, and theyÂ find their way into the majority of packaged foods in our supermarkets.
4. Non-GMO Certification Program â€“ The updated Guide also cross-references products that participate with the Non-GMO Projectâ€™s third party GMO Avoidance Verification Program.
Check the brands and the labels of all the products you purchase and compare it against the Guide. If it does not say â€śorganicâ€ť or â€śnon-gmo,â€ť you cannot be sure that the product and/or its ingredient is not a GMO.
You wallet speaks volumes. Make sure it sends the right message.
Read the Non-GMO Shopping Guide