Monday, March 15, 2010


March is National Nutrition Month. We really are what we eat, and Barry Sears, author of The Zone Diet, says that food is the most powerful drug we take. Every day our children ingest foods and beverages that we hope are nutritious and safe. We shop the outside aisles of the store to purchase foods that are “close to the earth” rather than the highly processed foods stocked in the inner aisles. We read labels so that we can avoid foods containing additives, dyes, high fructose corn syrup, and transfats. Unfortunately there is one “ingredient” that is not included on the product label, and to me, it is the scariest one of all – GMO’s.

According to the website Non-GMO Shopping Guide, a GMO – Genetically Modified Organism – “is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, hence they are also known as transgenic organisms. This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.” This Genetic Engineering is different from traditional cross breeding, grafting and hybridization. “With genetic engineering, scientists can breach species barriers set up by nature. For example, they have spliced fish genes into tomatoes. The results are plants (or animals) with traits that would be virtually impossible to obtain with natural processes, such as crossbreeding or grafting.”

There is no research showing that GM foods are safe. In fact, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine states, “several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.”

Without the benefit of a label, how can we avoid GM foods? Non-GMO Shopping Guide lists four ways:

1. Buy organic because certified organic products are not allowed to contain any GMO’s
2. Look for “NON-GMO” labels
3. Avoid at-risk ingredients such as those made from the “big four”: corn, soybeans, canola and cottonseed
4. Use the
Non-GMO Shopping Guide available on the website

The shopping guide identifies GMO brands and non-GMO brands. I was sad to see that Morningstar Farms and Gardenburger may contain GMO ingredients. The list is very thorough and easy to follow, and it includes dairy, alternative dairy, meat, fish, eggs, alternative meat products, baked goods, baby food and formula, frozen foods, soups, sauces, canned foods, beverages and more. It even includes chocolate. Goodbye Ghiradelli.

I would add one more tip in addition to our vigilance – lobby Congress for mandatory

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