Monday, November 12, 2012

Avoiding GMOs

Okay so California Prop 37 didn't pass. Bummer. Crazy to see that over $45.6 million was spent to defeat 37. Some of the biggest contributions to this effort came from Monsanto and the world's largest pesticide and junk food companies. Not surprising. I know the prop wasn't perfect though so I'll leave it be. But honestly, it'll be fine. It's definitely okay for people that already take the time to research the food they buy. It will be a little tougher for those that aren't in the habit and the toughest for those that "don't want to know." And, in my opinion, those are the people it could have helped. A GMO label on the package of Doritos would make it harder to throw it in the cart. At least I would hope so.

Before I go any further, let me address that there is a lot of debate about GMOs. I happen to be on the side that believes they are bad news and should be avoided. It's scary to think that GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food in the US*. Keep in mind that genetically modified food has only been around since the 90's, 1994 I believe. I can't help but think of GMOs as intentional mutations. And when genes mutate, it usually isn't good. Cancer for example. I'll post some links later in this post that expand on GMOs. Your head is likely to spin after reading them. It really bothers me that all this experimentation is allowed to be done with our food supply - on people, our kids. Most of my childhood, although filled with a lot of processed foods, was free of GMOs. This is not the case for my kids unless I actively avoid them and even then, there will be some exposure. I'm not an expert on this by any stretch but I'm just not comfortable knowingly feeding my kids experimental, mutated food.

So how am I going to avoid GMOs without having a GMO label on everything that contains or may contain them? I've been researching the food I buy for a long time. I'll continue to do this as well as utilize some really cool tools to assist me concerning GMO foods. Like the Fooducate app. I discovered this app (iPhone) earlier this month and have been using it every chance I get. You can scan bar codes and it will bring back a nutritional profile (and grade) including if it is considered GMO free. The first time using it was so much fun. It not only gives you info on the product scanned but gives you a list of alternatives. The database is ever growing so if you scan an item that's not in their database yet, you are prompted to enter and send the info to them right then and there. For example, Trader Joe's Egg Nog wasn't in the database yet. It asked me if I would like to enter the info, including pictures (three pics, one of the product, one of the nutritional info and one of the ingredients). So I did. They follow up with an email letting you know they received the information and that it's being processed (or something like that). The app also links to info about specific ingredients and other topics. So far I love this app. Did I say that already?

In addition to apps like Fooducate, there are sites like Non-GMO Project and Say No to GMOs. Also, some companies like Amy's label their food non-gmo. And even though they don't label their food, Trader Joe's says they source non-genetically modified ingredients for their private label food. The information is there. You just need to take the time to check it out. If you really want to know, you can find out. 

*Source: GMO Facts
Additional links: Huff Post Blog, Wikipedia

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