By now you have probably heard of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the potential negative consequences they can cause on human health. Are you aware of the ways GMOs show up in your life and present themselves?
As a quick refresher,you can read this article. GMOs are organisms that have had their genes altered with DNA from other species to create a product with certain desired traits. Unfortunately, in North America, staying away from GMOs may not be as easy as it should be. GMOs are in common everyday items, often times unannounced. Here are 6 places that GMOs are showing up and what you can do about it.
#1 ways GMOs show up in your life: Cotton
Many of the fabrics in our homes are made from cotton, which is largely produced in China, the estimated world leader in cotton production. For over an estimated 15 years, they have been genetically modifying their cotton to help fight off the bollworm. While this practice of modifying cotton has helped to fight off the pests, it has led to an increase in another pest that is affecting other crops. Unfortunately, most genetically modified cotton is typically not labeled. To avoid it, look for non-GMO or even organic cotton companies and clothing brands. The demand for organic cotton in the United States is growing, and only one percent of the cotton grown in the U.S., so you will have to shop non-GMO intentionally. You can also opt for clothes made of alternate materials such as hemp, bamboo or polyester.
#2 ways GMOs show up in your life:Tomatoes
Tomatoes have become known as one of the most common genetically modified foods available in our country. In 1994, a popular tomato type known as the Flavr Savr was mixed with a deactivated gene to prevent it from rotting as quickly. This type of tomato was popular on the market until the scientist who created it expressed concerns about its possible toxicity. While the Flavr Savr may not be popular on the market, other GMO tomatoes are alive and well. To avoid these, it is important to shop for non-gmo brands. Heirloom varieties are popular and known for being healthy, with varieties including Black Cherry organic, Cherokee Purple Organic and Emmy Organic.
#3 ways GMOs show up in your life: papayas.
While papayas are not a very common crop, genetic modification started on the plants because of a virus that was common for many years. Adding the “viral capsid” protein created an immune response that made the papayas resistant to the virus. In 1999, the first GMO commercial papayas were grown in Hawaii. These GMO papayas are estimated to make up about three quarters of the total amount exported from the islands. Sadly, the U.S. still allows these to be exported into the lower 48 states. To avoid buying a genetically modified papaya, try to shop at grocery stores that label their produce as non-GMO. Whole Foods, for example, has committed to labeling all their food products to indicate if they contain GMOs or not.
#4 ways GMOs show up in your life: Rice
Like any other commercial crop, rice is not immune to GMO testing. Scientists are aiming to genetically modify rice in order to keep the crop as healthy as possible. With more than half the world’s population depending on rice for survival, continuous supply is necessary to prevent starvation. China is ahead of many other countries when it comes to genetically modifying the grains. While there has been a type of pest-resistant rice that has been approved in the U.S., it has not been used by farmers. Do your research to avoid any genetically modified rice and aim to buy varieties that you know are not genetically modified. Look for the logo indicating that the rice is “Non GMO Project Verified.”
#5 ways GMOs show up in your life: Milk
While milk may seem like a strange item to be included on this list, it can contain rBGH, also known as recombinant bovine growth hormone. This type of hormone is synthesized from a GMO type of bacteria which helps to produce higher milk yields. rBGH is still used in the U.S. while it is banned in many countries. To avoid buying dairy with rBGH, stay informed and buy organic brands. Some non-organic brands of dairy may also have a non-rBGH label as well.
#6 ways GMOs show up in your life: Canned Soups
If you are a fan of soup in a can, you will likely have to change your ways to avoid GMO’s. Prepared and canned soups often contain high fructose corn syrup, vegetable oil, corn and other vegetables. All of theses ingredients are genetically modified in high percentages. Make soup yourself with ingredients which you know are non-GMO for a healthier option. You can even freeze your soups to preserve them, if you would like to extend their shelf life.
It’s possible to rid yourself from GMO’s while it may seem overwhelming to completely rid your life of GMOs. Awareness about the harmful effects of GMO’s is growing every day and so more and more options are becoming available and more clearly labeled. By doing a quick Google search, you can find companies that ensure GMO free choices.