by Dr. Joseph Mercola
with Rachael Droege
Published 24 January 2004
Published by senaa.org 27 December 2011 with permission
When polled only about one-quarter
of Americans report having eaten genetically modified food.
However, if you randomly pick an item off your grocery storeís
shelves, you have a 70 percent chance of picking a food with
genetically modified (GM) ingredients. This is because at least
seven out of every 10 items have been genetically modified.
Americans were aware of this fact, the polls would certainly
turn out differently, but Americans are kept largely in the dark
about GM products, and most are not aware they are eating these
foods because there are no labeling requirements for GM foods.
This, despite the fact that there have been no studies done with
humans to show what happens when
genetically modified foods are consumed, and an
ABC News poll (PDF) found that 92 percent of Americans want
mandatory labels on GM foods.
Of even more
concern is the fact that genetically modified organisms are
not easily contained.
The Washington Post reported "techniques for confining
genetically engineered ... organisms are still in their infancy,
and far more work needs to be done to make sure the new products
do not taint the food supply or wipe out important species."
a consumer, one way you can voice your resistance to these
widely untested, experimental organisms is by not purchasing GM
products, a task that is not easy to achieve when you consider
the extent to which GM products have already saturated the
however, several ways to reduce your chances of eating GM
foods--if you know where to look.
Buying organic is currently the
best way to ensure that your food has not been genetically
modified. By definition, food that is certified organic must be:
- Free from all GM organisms
- Produced without artificial
pesticides and fertilizers
- From an animal reared
without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or
However, GM crops are becoming
more and more prevalent, and the spread of GM seeds and pollen
is a major concern. Even organic products may be contaminated
with traces of GM elements that have been spread by wind or
insects such as bees.
GM soybeans and corn make up the largest portion of
genetically engineered crops. When looking at a product label,
if any of the following ingredients are listed thereís a good
chance it has come from GM corn or soy (unless itís listed as
corn flour and meal
fructose and fructose syrup
(unless specified non-corn)
(corn starch is the usual filler)
mono- and diglycerides
modified food starch
vitamins that do not state
||soy protein isolate
or protein isolate
||lecithin or soy lecithin
||many non-stick sprays
rely on soy lecithin
Mayonnaise and salad
dressings also may include lecithin.
As you can see, there are many products that
may contain GM soy or corn derivatives (or GM vegetable
oil). Some of these products include:
||hamburgers and hotdogs
||enriched flour and pasta
|Non-food items include cosmetics, soaps,
detergents, shampoo, and bubble bath.
Aside from corn and soy, other GM foods grown in the United
States include cotton, canola, squash and papaya.
Look at Produce Stickers
Those little stickers on fruit and vegetables contain
different PLU codes depending on whether the fruit was
conventionally grown, organically grown or genetically
engineered. The PLU code for conventionally grown fruit consists
of four numbers, organically grown fruit five numbers prefaced
by the number 9, and GM fruit five numbers prefaced by the
- Conventionally grown PLU: 1022
- Organically grown PLU: 91022
- Genetically modified PLU: 81022
In terms of fruit, another strategy is to avoid hybrid
varieties, which are fruits that have been altered by humans.
Typically hybrid fruits contain more sugar than regular
varieties so they taste sweeter and can be picked out because
generally they don't contain seeds (seedless watermelon,
seedless grapes, etc.). Although there are also seeded hybrid
varieties, avoiding seedless fruits is one of the more prominent
ways to avoid hybrid fruits.
Avoid Processed Foods
About 70 percent of all processed foods contain genetically
modified ingredients, and the food manufacturers themselves
often donít know for sure whether their products contain GM
elements. There are many reasons why processed foods are not
optimal for your health--for instance they often contain
acrylamide and little nutritional value--so avoiding them
will not only help you to cut back on the amount of GM foods you
are consuming, but will also boost your health.