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5 Ways to Tell if GMOs Are in Your Food

5 Ways to Tell if GMOs Are in Your Food

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By    |   Thursday, 08 December 2016 03:45 PM

GMOS are still relatively new to grocery shoppers, with labeling guidelines just making their way to the market. Until recently you would have had to do some digging to learn more about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in the foods you buy, with labeling laws varying by state.

But this hidden group of ingredients in many drinks and foods is becoming more transparent to American consumers. President Barack Obama recently signed a bill into law requiring food manufacturers to label or provide information on GMOs in their products.

Even so, with a two-year phase-in it will still be a long time before all GMO foods are properly identified.

In the meantime, however, Consumer Reports recently identified five ways to determine if the foods you buy contain GMOs:

Two product signs: Depending on the food product you buy in a grocery store, it may have a particular logo or seal indicating it is free of GMOs. Look out for U.S. Department of Agriculture organic labels, which are certified as free or GMOs, and or the GMO Project Verified Seal —verifying that the product does not contain more than 0.9 percent genetically modified ingredients.

Corn, soy, and canola: Many products made with these three ingredients — including baking mixes, cooking oils, cereals, granola bars, tortillas, soy-based infant formulas, soy milk, tofu, protein shakes, energy bars, and veggie burgers — contain GMOs, unless the label says otherwise. The next time you buy corn-based products or sweetened drinks consider the labeling on the packaging and do some research.

Even so it is important to note, “ordinary wheat has long been strictly a human-engineered plant; it could not exist outside of farms, because its seeds do not scatter,” says David H. Freedman, a science, business and technology writer with Scientific American.

Wheat has been modified from its inception, but food products today expand this notion than ever before. Instead of corn on the cob maybe consider some green beans. Other GMO-free alternatives: Oatmeal, organic toast, and a fruit shake without added ingredients.

Sugar: It’s no secret that sugar is a main ingredient in a majority of processed food products and it’s almost always genetically modified. “Much of the sugar in America’s sugar bowls and processed foods — not only baked goods, soda, and sweets, but also foods such as bread, cereal, soups, and yogurt — come from sugar beets and 99 percent of that crop is genetically modified,” says Consumer Reports.

You should also know that high fructose corn syrup, a sweetening alternative to sugar, is a GMO food, unless otherwise labeled. Artificial sweeteners – Sweet’N Low, Splenda, and Equal are still found on restaurant tables today. But some cane sugars are non-GMO products, as are natural sweeteners — such as honey, maple syrup, and molasses.

Other labels: Many ingredients listed on food labels are scientific by name so it is difficult to tell if they are genetically modified. One such example is citric acid. Also, many food ingredients are made from GMO canola, corn, and soy — including baking powder, beta carotene, cellulose, corn starch, lactic acid, lecithin, riboflavin, miso, soybean oil, soy protein, soy sauce, vitamin E (tocopherol), and xanthan gum.

Look for whole foods: Perhaps the best way to steer clear of GMOs is to distinguish natural and whole foods from artificial or processed ones. Eggs and chicken labeled organic or cage-free, for instance, are non-GMO foods. That’s also true of many whole, natural, unprocessed foods — including fruits, vegetables, fish, and seafood.

Key phrases such as “added ingredients” on any food packaging should be an immediate indicator of one or more GMOs.


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If you're worried about GMOs (genetically modified organisms), it isn't always easy to determine whether they're in the foods you buy. But Consumer Reports recently identified five ways to find out. Here's a primer.
gmo, label, risk
Thursday, 08 December 2016 03:45 PM
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