Sunday, June 14, 2009

What's for Dinner?

A trip to the supermarket may be daunting enough (especially with young children in tow), trying weed out artifical ingredients, preservatives, potential allergens, and chemicals in a quest to eat healthier. But lurking beyond the labels may just be the most dangerous "ingredient" yet: modified DNA.

Genetically Modified (GM) foods are those that contain DNA fragments not natural to their species. Lab-created genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are used to boost crop production and bolster profit margins. But the outrage over GMOs is building and more than a few credible sources are calling for the ban of genetically-modified foods. Most recently, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine released a position paper calling for a moratorium on GM foods and for the "implementation of immediate long term independent safety testing, and labeling of GM foods, which is necessary for the health and safety of consumers."

Think that GM foods are not something for you to be concerned about? Naturopathic physician Dr. Nathan Batalion disagrees: "if you recently ate soya sauce in a Chinese restaurant, munched popcorn in a movie theatre, or indulged in an occasional candy bar - you've undoubtedly ingested this new type of food." On his website,, Dr. Batalion offers a crash course in the history of GMOs. More alarming, he provides "50 Harmful Effect of GM Foods" from increased food allergies to soil sterility, cancer and degenerative disease and even death.

What's a parent to do?

First, become informed. According to WebMD, "The most common genetically modified foods are soybeans, maize, cotton, and rapeseed oil. That means many foods made in the U.S. containing field corn or high-fructose corn syrup, such as many breakfast cereals, snack foods, and the last soda you drank; foods made with soybeans (including some baby foods); and foods made with cottonseed and canola oils could likely have genetically modified ingredients." Rice, tomatoes, and corn are often GM foods.

Read labels. Know how to identify soy and corn derivatives, as these are the most common GM food products. Stay away from foods containing high fructose corn syrup, sorbitol, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and soy lecithin, among others.

Eat Organic. Eating certified organic foods may be your best defense. By definition, certified organic foods are free from GM organisms.

Identify GM Produce by their Stickers. Those little stickers on produce carry PLU codes. Codes with just four numbers are conventionally grown produce, those with five numbers starting with a "9" are organic and those beginning with an "8" are genetically modified.

What else you can do:

Rent or puchase a copy of the movie The Future of Food, watch it with friends and family and get everyone involved!

Want to take action? Get involved in organizations fighting GMOs and make a difference for the future - for our health and for the safety of our food supply!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great information. The plu trick I will definately use next time I'm in the grocery!


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