Don’t Think You’re Eating GMOs? Think Again

August 25th, 2014

Inspired Bites
by Robyn O’Brien

gmo.protest.smYou may not think you are eating genetically modified foods, but chances are that if you’ve grabbed a back of chips, loaf of bread or any other staple from the grocery store, you are.

Just how pervasive are genetically modified foods in the US? Very.  The ingredients listed below are found in most conventional, processed foods.  High fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, vegetable oil, cornstarch and other ingredients are where genetically engineered ingredients are used.  Genetically engineered corn, which in some cases, is registered by the EPA as a pesticide, and genetically engineered soy are often fed to the animals we eat.

And while these ingredients are labeled in countries around the world, they are not yet labeled here in the United States.

Things are changing though.  This year alone, over 30 pieces of legislation have been introduced in over 20 states.  Why?  It’s not just because these ingredients were quietly slipped into our food without labels or post-market surveillance in place.  One of the chief concerns around genetically engineered ingredients are the chemicals that are applied to them.

Total volume of herbicides sprayed on US crops annually has grown by 500+ million pounds (from 1996 to 2011) since their introduction, with glyphosate use up 300%.

On top of that, there is no post-marketing surveillance of GMOs used in the U.S. food supply.  The industry that introduced these ingredients, the chemical industry, claims that there is no evidence of harm, while positioning themselves as an agricultural solutions company.

It’s hard to have surveillance or evidence of harm if you don’t have labels.  Which is why the industry is fighting so hard to keep labels off of our food products here in the U.S.

Correlation is not causation, but the record rates of cancer in children, autism, allergies, asthma, ADHD, diabetes and other conditions suggest that something has changed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Non-GMO” is one of the fastest-growing label trends on U.S. food packages, with sales of such items growing 28% last year to about $3 billion, according to market-research firm Nielsen. In a poll of nearly 1,200 U.S. consumers for The Wall Street Journal, Nielsen found that 61% of consumers had heard of GMOs and nearly half of those people said they avoid eating them.

It’s time to join the rest of the world and label GMOs. If our American companies can label these ingredients overseas, the way they do in China, India, Russia, Europe, the UK and Japan, they can do it here.

Follow Robyn on Twitter @foodawakenings.  She is a former financial analyst and author who has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich” by Bloomberg and the New York Times.


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