As much as I would love to head to the supermarket once each week, no such luck. With three growing boys to feed the fridge looks pretty empty almost immediately after it’s been filled.
When I head to the supermarket I tend to stand in the aisles reading labels. Yes, I’m THAT woman. And I know I’m not alone. There’s no denying that most of us want to know what’s in our food. According to a New York Times poll 93% of people surveyed support labeling foods that have been genetically modified or engineered.
Genetically Modified Organisms (also called GM, GE or GMOs) refers to crop plants that are consumed by animals and/or humans that have been tweaked or modified in a lab to boost desired traits such as: the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide, disease resistance and improved nutritional value.
Unfortunately labeling of GMOs in food ingredient lists isn’t required in the US. If we take a look at our friends in the EU and other countries -GMO labeling has been the norm for years.
When we head to the supermarket our pocket books can do some of the talking since food buying power has a tremendous impact on our food system.
Here are 5 tips to help you purchase food at the supermarket without GMOs
Buy Organic When You Can
Look for the organic certification when you do your shopping and buy organic when you can. Products with an organic certification are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.
USDA certified products cannot intentionally contain GMOs. The USDA does not require testing for GMOs, so accidental contamination may occur.
Look for the Non-GMO Project Seal
Remember that Non-GMO isn’t the same as organic. The label provides consumers with independent, third party assurance that the product contains no GMOs (products tested must contain less that .9percent GMOs, which allows for unintentional contamination). And yes, there could be unintentional contamination.
Avoid Ingredients that Could Come from GMOs
For shoppers it can be challenging to keep up with the foods that are at-risk of being genetically modified, and even if you are up-to-date that list is constantly changing. According to The Non GMO Project the ingredients with a high probability of being GMO are:
- Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
- Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
- Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
- Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
- Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)
If you see these ingredients they could contain GMOs:
Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Ethanol, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.
Stick with Fruits and Veggies
Most fruits and veggies found at the supermarket, especially organic, are non-GMO. Steer clear of those listed above and you’ll be eating food packed with nutrition without the genetic engineering.
Buy in Bulk
Head to the bulk section at the supermarket and load up on dry beans and fruit, nuts, cereals and seeds. Buy organic bulk food when you can. If you avoid anything in the bulk section with corn and soy and there’s a good chance you’ll be eating GMO-free.
How do you avoid buying GMOs at the supermarket?
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photo credit: It’sGreg via photopin cc