Cathy's Blog

GMOs: How to Avoid Them

The Dalai Lama and Pope Francis are against them. Sixty countries ban or restrict their sale. Polls reveal that 90 percent of Americans want them labeled, and 53 percent don’t want to buy them at all. Nevertheless, thanks to the very deep pockets of the biotech lobby, the odds are slim to none that Congress will pass a law that, at the very least, lets us know whether the products we buy contain genetically modified organisms. Fortunately, there are ways we can opt out of consuming GMOs.

  • Buy food with the Non-GMO Project seal, “committed to providing consumers with clearly labeled, independently verified non-GMO choices.” This nonprofit organization has done a clever end run around the biotech industry’s efforts to keep consumers in the dark.
  • BUY USDA certified organic products, including dairy products labeled “No rBGH or rBST.”

If paying a premium price for these labels is not an affordable option, there are other ways to avoid GMOs in non-organic food products.

  • Avoid buying processed food. If it’s sold in a package it’s bound to contain GMOs, an 88 percent likelihood for a product containing corn and 94 percent for soy.  In the list of ingredients on the side of a box, these high-risk foods also masquerade under names like flavoring (artificial or natural); anything convoluted or strange (hydrolyzed vegetable protein, guar gum, mixed tocopherols); any sweetener ending in -ose; or any name preceded by the word “modified” (duh). To be brief, recipes have ingredients; food is food.
  • Cook from scratch, e.g., oatmeal from a measuring cup, not a packet laced with “natural” flavorings. True, cooking this way takes more time, but the payoff is spending less of it being sick.

If you want to do your own end run around that nasty biotech cabal, you can plant a garden like Buffalo Bird Woman, a member of the farming Hidatsa tribe. Each year she chose the finest seeds from her harvest of corn, beans, sunflowers, and squash to plant the following season. She didn’t have to worry about GMOs. We do. But on the other hand, we don’t have to make our garden hoes out of a buffalo’s shoulder bone, and come February we get to enjoy mulling over the latest batch of organic seed catalogs. You can also read Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden to learn about an ancient farming method that for untold generations did no harm to the environment, unlike what agribusiness has done to our precious farmland (and our health) in just a few decades.

July 12, 2015

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