GMO's - How do You Know if Your Food is Genetically Modified?

When polled only about one-quarter of Americans report having eaten genetically modified food. However, if you randomly pick an item off your grocery store’s shelves, you have a 70 percent chance of picking a food with genetically modified (GM) ingredients. This is because at least seven out of every 10 items have been genetically modified.

If more Americans were aware of this fact, the polls would certainly turn out differently, but Americans are kept largely in the dark about GM products, and most are not aware they are eating these foods because there are no labeling requirements for GM foods. This, despite the fact that there have been no studies done with humans to show what happens when genetically modified foods are consumed, and an ABC News poll (PDF) found that 92 percent of Americans want mandatory labels on GM foods.

Even more concerning is the fact that genetically modified organisms are not easily contained. The Washington Post reported "techniques for confining genetically engineered ... organisms are still in their infancy, and far more work needs to be done to make sure the new products do not taint the food supply or wipe out important species." As a consumer, one way you can voice your resistance to these widely untested, experimental organisms is by not purchasing GM products, a task that is not easy to achieve when you consider the extent to which GM products have already saturated the American market.

There are, however, several ways to reduce your chances of eating GM foods--if you know where to look.

Buy Organic

Buying organic is currently the best way to ensure that your food has not been genetically modified. By definition, food that is certified organic must be:

•    Free from all GM organisms 
•    Produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers   
•    From an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs

However, GM crops are becoming more and more prevalent, and the spread of GM seeds and pollen is a major concern. Even organic products may be contaminated with traces of GM elements that have been spread by wind or insects such as bees.

Read Labels

GM soybeans and corn make up the largest portion of genetically engineered crops. When looking at a product label, if any of the following ingredients are listed there’s a good chance it has come from GM corn or soy (unless it’s listed as organic).

By Dr. Joseph Mercola with Rachael Droege

Susan Arruda