GMOs – how to avoid them

protect yourselfI don’t know about you but I don’t know anyone who wakes up in the morning thinking: “I have such a craving for a pesticide-producing corn this morning, with a special serving of Roundup, the infamous weed killer.”

I certainly don’t want to be a guinea pig of big corporations that are threatening the biological diversity, polluting our planet and trying to control the food supply. I want to know what I am eating. We all have the right to know what’s in our food and decide what we prefer.

If you are not a fan of genetically engineered food and wondering how to avoid it, here are some simple tips and useful information.

The main GMOs on the market currently are:
corn, soy, canola, cotton, sugar beets

Other GMOs available but not widespread:
Hawaiian papaya (most), zucchini and yellow summer squash, alfaalfa

In the EU – if a product contains more than 0,9% of GMO, it must be labeled! Why not zero? Unfortunately, it has been impossible to avoid contamination of crops and it is not compulsory to label meat from animals fed GMOs.

  • check the labels
  • buy organic
  • avoid processed foods (they often have hidden GMO sources – aspartam, food additives etc.)

If you live in the USA, I recommend You can download their non-gmo shopping guide which has verified brands and products. Unfortunately, companies in the US are not obliged to label GMO-containing products and the percentage of GMO crops is very high, so it’s pretty hard to avoid.

I believe that by demanding quality food in shops and restaurants, we can help push GMOs out of the market. GMOs have become economically undesirable for many companies who now proudly advertise their non-GMO ingredients.

Interesting info:

  • Over 80% of GMO crops worldwide are engineered to be sprayed with glyphosate (main ingredient of Roundup).
  • Roundup is the number one weedkiller and is used in parks, golf courses, around houses, schools. Your child can come in contact with it as well as your pets who can then bring it home. Inquire about this and make sure it’s replaced with nontoxic alternatives.
  • The companies that produce and sell GMO seeds are chemical companies that also profit from the sale of toxic pesticides: BASF, Bayer, Dupont, Dow Chemical Company, Monsanto, and Syngenta.
  • GMOs are labeled in 64 countries, including China, Russia, Japan, Australia, and the European Union. The United States and Canada are the only industrialized countries on the planet where GMO labeling is not mandatory.

  • Growing GMO crops has led to more than 500 million pounds of additional pesticide use over the 16 years from 1996 to 2011. We now have “super weeds” and “super pests” contributing to the rising amounts of herbicides and pesticides.
  • Animals, including cows, pigs, geese, elk, deer, squirrels and rats avoid eating GM foods when given a choice.
  • Apart from polluting the soil, Roundup was found in drinking water, rain, breast milk and even children’s vaccines.
  • More than 250,000 farmers just in India have committed suicide within the past 16 years as a result of crop failures that led to lost livelihoods. They were promised higher yields with GMOs and lower chemical costs.
  • Conventional breeding has yielded over 150 new drought-tolerant varieties in 13 African countries under the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project, whilstGM drought tolerant varieties are still behind.

  • Local fruits and vegetables such as mango and sweet potato can, and already do, tackle micronutrient deficiency by providing a balanced and diverse diet, not promoting a single ‘miracle crop’ like GM ‘Golden’ rice.

  • Genetic engineering has not delivered crops that are resistant to flooding or high temperatures. It lags behind conventional plant breeding that can actually help agriculture cope with climate change. One of the most effective strategies to adapt agriculture to climate change is to increase biodiversity – e.g. planting a range of different crops and varieties across farms.

  • Chemical-intensive industrial monocultures with little natural habitat are major drivers of the decline in bee numbers that has sparked a pollination crisis around the world.

  • In 2015, over 300 independent researchers signed a joint statement saying there was no scientific consensus on the safety of GM crops and calling for safety to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

  • By the end of 2013, nearly 400 incidents of GM contamination of crops had been recorded around the world.

  • 20+ year-long study on European farms, soils that were fertilized organically showed better soil stability, enhanced soil fertility and higher biodiversity, including activity of microbes and earthworms, than soils fertilised synthetically.
  •  The WHO has recently reclassified glyphosate, the herbicide used on ‘Roundup Ready’ GM crops, as a substance that is probably carcinogenic to humans.

  • GM crops don’t deliver higher yields. Western European countries have achieved higher average maize yields per hectare than the predominantly GM maize systems in the US, and Western Europe has also outperformed Canada’s GM rapeseed yields.