Do you avidly read the labels on food products while you shop? What are some of the things you look for? Calorie count? Sugar? Carbohydrates? Genetically Modified Ingredients? Wait, what? Genetically modified ingredients?
You read me right. There are a number of foods in the market that are consumed on a daily basis that contain some sort of genetically modified ingredient (also referred to as GEs or GMOs). The thing is, you might never realize that, since the USA does not require food producers to mention GMOs on the label.
Americans Say They Want To Know…
In a series of polls over the past couple years it has become evident that Americans are more aware of what GMO ingredients are and that they are in foods that we eat.
- In an October 2010 survey Thomson Reuters PULSE Healthcare Survey polled 100,000 US households via telephone and found that 93% believed genetically modified foods should be labeled so.
- A June 2011 MSNBC online poll showed that 96% of Americans think that genetically modified food is an ethical issue and should be properly labeled so consumers can make informed choices.
- An ABC News poll from June 2011 found that 93% of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Health activists have become much more vocal about GMO ingredients, especially of late. Recent studies, including the ones listed above, show that on average 93% of Americans support mandatory labeling of GMO foods. These studies make it apparent that the majority of Americans would like to know exactly what we are consuming. The campaign believes that consumers should have a voice in the matter as well as a choice.
What Are the Concerns about Eating GMO Foods?
The question is: Is there really a need to be concerned about GMO ingredients?
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) doesn’t believe that GMO food is safe for consumption. AAEM has reported, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food.” These health risks included: infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.
Further studies have had these findings, according to the AAEM website:
- Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants
- Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
- More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
- Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly
- By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies
- Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity
- Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen
- Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
- The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
- Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc.
Although there are no human clinical trials of GMO foods, these animal findings led the AAEM to ask physicians to start advising their patients to avoid GMO foods.
The Just Label It! Campaign Thinks We Have a Right To Know…
In September 2011, the “Just Label It” campaign submitted a formal letter to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by attorneys from the Center for Food Safety. The Just Label It campaign and supporters know that Americans cannot make informed choices about what food we eat if we aren’t aware of what is in our food.
Gaining Support for Labeling GMOs
Just Label It has hundreds of healthcare community members, consumer advocates, farmers, concerned parents, environmentalists, food and farming organizations, businesses, businesses and organizations working together to rally consumers to support this label initiative. A full list of Just Label It’s partners can be found on their website.
The Just Label It website states that:
- The majority of the livestock Americans consume as meat are raised on genetically engineered grains. Why? Because the two most prevalent genetically engineered crops are corn and soy which are used in many processed foods and most animal feeds.
- Statistics show: Nearly 90 % of corn, 94% of soy, and 90% of cottonseed grown in the US are from GE seeds.
- Corn, soy, and cottonseed are ingredients that are most commonly found in packaged foods like cereals, crackers, cookies, chips, high fructose corn syrup-sweetened soda, frozen meals, etc.
8 Ways to Avoid Eating GMOs: Advice from the Just Label It Campaign
- Take action and let the FDA know you support the Just Label It campaign, with just one click.
- Go Organic – USDA certified organic products prohibit genetic engineering
- Avoid the 5 most common products that are most likely to be genetically engineered: corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar.
- Eat more produce than processed foods. Most GMOs are found in processed foods.
- Download the True Food Shoppers Guide from the Center for Food Safety.
- Keep eyes peeled in stores for products that identify themselves as non-GMO – i.e. the Non GMO-project labels
- Contact the product manufacturer directly to inquire with them about whether or not their product contains genetically engineered ingredients.
- Check out Just Label It’s video to make yourself more aware of GMO foods.
What Do You Think?
How do you feel about eating foods that contain GMO ingredients?
Would you like to see food labels disclose GMO ingredients?
More Info On Just Label It Campaign and Genetically Engineered Foods:
- QuickLabel Blog: Genetically Modified Food Labeling: Salmon
- Wall Street Journal: FDA Suit Wants Labels On Genetically Modified Foods
- The Center for Food Safety