It seems like almost every day we hear a story on the news or through social media about GMOs (also known as “genetically modified organisms”) and the negative impact they can have on our health and the environment. But what exactly are GMOs and how do they get into the food we consume?
At Tommy’s Superfoods we believe that the healthiest and best food is made from non-genetically modified ingredients.
All of our frozen vegetables medleys and every ingredient in them – from the spices and herbs to each of the veggies – are 100% GMO free. What does this mean? We’d like to take just a few moments and explain, in simple terms, what GMOs are and how you and your family can best go about avoiding them in your daily diet.
GMOs are materials that have been created in a laboratory through genetic engineering techniques. This is a relatively new scientific development and results in combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that would not normally occur in nature nor through traditional breeding measures.
Often, these scientific manipulations have not undergone long-term scientific testing, and many are brought to market before they have been evaluated for their potential risks to the human body and other living creatures on the planet.
Crops At Risk for GMOs
The Non-GMO Project (a certifying organization that ensures food products are free of GMOs) has identified the crops that are determined to be “high risk” for GMOs because they are currently allowed for commercial production. These high-risk crops include:
- Sugar Beets
- Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash
How to Avoid High Risk Foods
You might think that you could simply avoid GMOs by eating organic or Non-GMO Project verified options for each of the crops listed above, but did you also know that these high risk crops are used in creating the following ingredients:
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.
Chances are, you’ve seen most of these ingredients listed on the labels of packaged food before. These GMO-based ingredients are widely used in all sorts of processed foods – even in foods that might have an “all natural” or “healthy choice” label on the packaging.
Other Foods That Might Contain GMOs
In addition to the high-risk GMO crops, there are also crops that are susceptible to “contamination” due to cross-pollination between non-GMO and GMO varieties. These monitored varieties include the following:
- Chard varieties
- Rutabaga varieties
- Bok choy varieties
- Acorn squash varieties
In addition to the above listed vegetables and grains, consumers must also be careful when purchasing salmon and milk. In 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved genetically modified salmon but then reversed its decision after public outcry and banned it until labeling rules could be established. When buying salmon, or any seafood or fish in a grocery store or restaurant, it never hurts to ask for sustainable and naturally-raised varieties.
When buying milk, consumers should be aware that 15% of dairy cows in the US are injected with the genetically modified bovine growth hormone called rBGH. rBGH has been shown to negatively impact the health of cows and has been banned in many countries. While many stores and restaurants will only sell or serve rBGH-free milk, be sure to look for proper labeling or ask for organic milk or milk that is rBGH-free.
How to Keep GMO Food Off Your Plate
- Look for Non-GMO Project verified products
- Eat USDA Certified Organic as this designation excludes any GMO use or contamination
- Shop at your local farmer’s’ market or buy locally grown foods through your grocery store or regional CSA (community supported agriculture) program
- Grow your own fruits and veggies using organic seeds or plants
- Read the labels! Avoid or keep to a minimum processed foods containing ingredients from corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, and cotton.
At Tommy’s Superfoods, we’re seriously concerned about GMOs and do not want them on our plates or yours! We firmly believe that not only do non-GMO veggies taste great, but they help to keep both our bodies and the environment healthy and strong. That’s why all of our flash-frozen vegetable medleys are verified by The Non-GMO project and/or Certified USDA Organic. Pick up a bag for dinner tonight and taste for yourself how delicious good health can be.