The movement to a cleaner, healthier and more organic and non-GMO food supply has brought us to a turning point of sorts, where forces are mobilizing on both sides of the aisle to try and turn the tide in another direction.
The organic food market saw record sales of $45.7 billion in 2017, but despite the good news the Monsanto-Bayer merger looms as a huge threat, especially considering Monsanto’s recent $125 million deal to flood the market with new “longer-lasting” GMO foods.
With that in mind, it’s important to know how to protect your family from GMOs in 2018, especially in light of the fake, misleading new “GMO labels” set to hit store shelves.
How to Avoid GMOs in 2018
Here are the top 10 ways to avoid GMOs in 2018, a crucial year for supporting the true organic and non-GMO food movement:
1. Know the “Big Five”- The first step to avoiding GMOs is knowing which foods have been genetically modified (also known as engineered) in a laboratory and which haven’t been.
The five most important GMOs to avoid are corn, soy, canola, sugar beets (look for “sugar” on the package and it’s probably GMO, cane sugar is a far safer choice), and cotton.
These crops are engineered by Monsanto and other companies to resist large doses of pesticides like Roundup, or to produce Bt insecticides within the plant itself.
2. Two New GMOs to Avoid- A new genetic engineering technique called CRISPR is now available, and it allows even amateur scientists to “play God” with our food.
New GMO Apples and potatoes have hit store shelves in limited amounts; to avoid them always buy organic and be sure to check labels closely.
Look for ‘Arctic’ apples which are being sold unlabeled, and avoid any potatoes from the Simplot company that are non-organic if at all possible.
These foods have not been independently tested for long-term safety and will not be labeled. Be sure to ask restaurants or cafes if they use these or any other GMO ingredients (including cooking oil, which is usually made from GMO corn, canola or soy).
3. Keep an Eye on the Headlines- While new GMOs take a while to hit the market, the CRISPR technique could change all that.
New GMO mushrooms have been approved, and Monsanto may create GMO wheat and strawberries in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled.
4. GMOs vs. Hybrids — Know the Difference- Several memes have been going around the Internet conflating genetic engineering with hybridized, traditionally bred crops created in the field.
But the truth is that genetic engineering (aka genetic modification, used to describe altering food crops in a lab) is far different than traditional breeding.
For example, a seedless watermelon may look GMO, but it was actually created through years of careful breeding.
It may not be as healthy as the seeded variety, but it is not GMO per se based on the way the word has been used sine Monsanto began selling GMO crops back in the mid-1990s.
5. Lesser Known GMOs- Along with the above crops, small percentages of crookneck squash, alfalfa and (Hawaiian) papaya may also be genetically modified. Buy these organic whenever possible.
6. Know Your Labels- If you buy organic food, it is non-GMO by definition, so buying organic is always your best bet.
Alternatively, you can also look for Non-GMO Project Verified products are stores, and be sure to know your farmer and ask plenty of questions before buying at the farmer’s market.
Also, read up on the misleading new “GMO labels” before they hit store shelves because they are highly confusing, using terminology that most people have never heard of before in a deliberate attempt to mislead the consumer.
As always, knowledge is power, and this is one fight we can’t afford to lose.
Thanks so much for reading and marching as always.