By Laurel Sterling Prisco, MA, RD
October is National Non-GMO Month; it is a time to recognize the importance of foods that are free of genetically modified organisms. According to the USDA, in 2009, 93% of soy, 93% of cotton, and 86% of corn grown in the U.S. were GMO. It is estimated that over 90% of canola grown is GMO. In 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs, because they are not considered proven safe.
Genetic modification of food involves splicing genes into the DNA of food, crops, or animals. The GMOs can be engineered with genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals, or even humans. The NON-GMO Project gives…
Four Tips for Avoiding GMO Crops
- Buy organic
- Look for “non-GMO” labels
- Avoid at-risk ingredients (corn, soy, canola, cottonseed)
- Buy products listed in their guide.
Some of my favorite non-GMO foods include: Stoneyfield Farm yogurts, So Delicious Almond milk, French Meadow Men’s Bread, Quorn Chick’n Patties, Amy’s Kitchen Brown Rice/Black-Eye Peas and Veggies, Amy’s Lentil soup, Amy’s Black Bean soup, and Helen’s Kitchen. Of course fresh fruits and veggies are included! Very few for sale in the US are GM. The NON-GMO project states that small amounts of zucchini, yellow squash, and sweet corn may be GM. Also fish, fowl, and meats have the complication where they are typically raised on GM grains. Look for wild or 100% grass-fed on the labels. As for dairy, look for organic to be sure they are not given the hormone rbGH or fed GMO grains.
There are plenty of great non-GMO snacks. My daughter Lily and I love Late July Peanut Butter crackers, Garden of Eatin’ Sesame Blue chips with guacamole, Clif bars, Lara bars, Odwalla bars, and Endangered Species chocolates. Look for snacks made from rice or oats and ones that use sunflower or safflower oils. One canola oil that I found that is not GMO is by a Canadian company called Viterra. It has received the Non-GMO Project Verification.