Mark your calendars – Sunday, October 16th is World Food Day – and during the month of October, many groups are coming together to urge our Federal Government to require labeling of genetically engineered crops, so that we as consumers have a better idea what we are eating. We may choose to support the genetic engineering of crops, or not to support it – that is our own decision. But the Federal Government does not have the right to take that choice away from us
How can we know that a crop is genetically engineered? There are a couple of ways.
First – look at the food. If the oil is from corn, soy, cottonseed or canola, the likelihood is that the food is genetically modified. If the meat is not grass fed or wild caught, changes are excellent that it is genetically modified. Most non-organic dairy products come from cows treated with genetically modified rbGH (growth hormone).
Second – read the label. If a food is organic, the chances of its being genetically engineered are very small – unless, of course, there has been cross-pollination of crops. If a food is genetically modified, it should say so on the label. But oops! In the United States there is no requirement that genetically modified foods be listed on the label. So if the label does not say organic, assume genetic modification.
Some foods that frequently contain genetically modified ingredients: Infant formula, salad dressing, bread, cereal, hamburgers and hotdogs, margarine, mayonnaise, cereals, crackers, cookies, chocolate, candy, fried food, chips, veggie burgers, meat substitutes, ice cream, frozen yogurt, tofu, tamari, soy sauce, soy cheese, tomato sauce, protein powder, baking powder, alcohol, vanilla, powdered sugar, peanut butter, enriched flour and pasta. This list is taken from Jeffrey Smith’s website.
This does make grocery shopping a challenge, unless you stick to the produce section of the supermarket, and buy only grass fed beef or wild caught fish (and even so, the GM salmon have been known to escape from their pens and breed in the wild).What else can we do? You can call ahead to any restaurant at which you plan to eat, and ask a few simple questions
- What oil do you use for cooking?
- Is your olive oil pure or a blend?
· - What is the source of your meat and fish?
· - Do you know which of your food products is genetically modified?
· - Do you use packaged sauces or dressings?
You can download the Institute for Responsible Technology’s shopping guide here: http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/
You can even download it to your iPhone:
iPhone non GMO shopping guide
You can send a message to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. You do have to disclose your name and e-mail address.
This is the message that I have sent (slightly edited from the original):
I am writing to urge the FDA to require the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. I have a right to know about the food I eat and what I feed my family.
In America, we pride ourselves on having choices and making informed decisions. Under current FDA regulations, we don't have that choice when it comes to GE ingredients in the foods we purchase and feed our families. Labeling is essential for me to choose whether or not I want to consume or feed my family genetically engineered foods.
Genetically engineered foods are required to be labeled in the European Union nations, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries around the world. As an American, I firmly believe I should also have the right to know if my foods have been genetically engineered.
Please feel free to share this information and the e-mail with your state legislators, as well as with the FDA Commissioner.
We can only vote with our pocketbooks on this issue. Remember how hard it used to be to shop gluten free? And look at how easy it is now – even WalMart has organic and gluten free products. They still do not label the GM foods, however. But remember, the power of the pocketbook is not to be underestimated.