Friday, June 14, 2013
Become familiar with the most common applications of genetic modification. These are the products (and their derivatives) that are most likely to be genetically modified:
Soybeans - Gene taken from bacteria (Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4) and inserted into soybeans to make them more resistant to herbicides. See How to Live With a Soy Allergy for more information on avoiding soy products
Corn - There are two main varieties of GE corn. One has a Gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis inserted to produce the Bt toxin, which poisons Lepidoteran (moths and butterflies) pests. There are also several events which are resistant to various herbicide. Present in high fructose corn syrup and glucose/fructose which is prevalent in a wide variety of foods in America.
Rapeseed/Canola - Gene added/transferred to make crop more resistant to herbicide. (thanks to Monsanto)
Sugar beets - Gene added/transferred to make crop more resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide.
Cotton - engineered to produce Bt toxin. The seeds are pressed into cottonseed oil, which is a common ingredient in vegetable oil and margarine.
Dairy - Cows injected with GE hormone rBGH/rBST; possibly fed GM grains and hay.
Sugar. In 2012 the FDA approved GMO Beet Sugars to be allowed to be sold on the market under the name.... "SUGAR" So now, when we go to buy "All Natural" Breyer's Ice Cream, we can't even know for sure that we are actually eating regular natural cane sugar. If you see "CANE SUGAR" there's a good chance it's not GMO. This is one of the biggest frustrations with labelling, as sugar is in so many things, and we might be avoiding food that POSSIBLY has GMO sugar, but really does not.
Corn sold directly to the consumer at Roadside stands / markets. Buy organic corn, popcorn, corn chips only.
Baked goods: Often has one or more of the common GM ingredients in them. Why do we need corn or soy in our bread, snacks or desserts? It's hard to find mixes to use as well. Some brands avoid GMs, find one you like and try to stick with it. Organic is one option, learning how to cook brownies, etc, from scratch with your own organic oils is another.
Recognize fruit and vegetable label numbers. (I like this, although it involves a lot more reading)
If it is a 4-digit number, the food is conventionally produced.
If it is a 5-digit number beginning with an 8, it is GM. However, do not trust that GE foods will have a PLU identifying it as such, because PLU labeling is optional. 
If it is a 5-digit number beginning with a 9, it is
Buy whole foods. Favor foods that you can cook and prepare yourself, rather than foods that are processed or prepared (e.g. anything that comes in a box or a bag, including fast food). What you lose in convenience, you may recover in money saved and satisfaction gained, as well as increased peace of mind. Try cooking a meal from scratch once or twice a week--you may enjoy it and decide to do it more often.
Purchase beef that is 100% grass-fed. Most cattle in the U.S. are grass-fed, but spend the last portion of their lives in feedlots where they may be given GM corn, the purpose of which is to increase intramuscular fat and marbling. If you're looking to stay away from GM0s, make sure the cattle were 100% grass-fed or pasture-fed (sometimes referred to as grass-finished or pasture-finished).
Trusted Organic Certification institutions include QAI, Oregon Tilth, and CCOF. Look for their mark of approval on the label of the product.USDA Organic standards pale in comparison , do not consider a product 100% organic if it is only USDA Organic Certified.
Buy food labeled 100% organic. The US and Canadian governments do not allow manufacturers to label something 100% organic if that food has been genetically modified or been fed genetically modified feed. You may find that organic food is more expensive and different in appearance from conventional products.
Also, just because something says "organic" on it does not mean that it does not contain GMs. In fact, it can still contain up to 30% GMs, so be sure the labels say 100% organic.