GMO Foods in the Grocery Stores-Part 1

Last week I posted about how to tell if your produce is GE, organic or conventional by looking at the PLU labels. This week I want to talk about GE foods and labeling of them. Some might ask, what is the big deal about genetically modified food and the labeling issue that so many people want in the grocery stores? For your information, genetically modified foods are sometimes also called GE (genetically engineered), GM (genetically modified) and GMO (genetically modified organism) and are sometimes used interchangeably.

Well, there are several big deals. For the first one we have to go back to the beginning. No GE crops that are grown for the production of food have ever been tested in long term studies to see if they are harmful to people.  No testing required-no regulation whatever. Why? Because the USDA doesn’t require them? Why? Good question! I wouldn’t be as concerned if the manufacturers of these seeds were required to run tests to make sure their products/produce were safe for humans before putting them on the market. That could prove whether they are actually harmful or not. These corporations are certainly making enough money to do the research required for safety but don’t. I don’t think they care as long as they are not required to care. Here’s my opinion-Profits first! Money for these corporations, money for congress people (not all congress people) who won’t pass laws protecting the consumer, money for USDA to turn their heads. Sad isn’t it but if it isn’t true, than why are we not being protected?

Here is some information on current GE foods in America:

‘Round Up Ready’ corn seeds – What does that mean? Well, it means that the gene that makes ‘Round Up’ work (kill weeds) has been spliced genetically with corn genes. Round Up is the same herbicide you may be using to kill weeds in your gardens. So when a farmer gets ‘Round Up Ready’ seeds, they can spray Round Up on their crops without killing them but it kills the weeds. The crops will not die but the weeds will.  Also the manufacturers of these seeds just happen to sell Round Up as well-hmm!! In the beginning it worked. Now I read recently that a whole slew of ‘super’ weeds have developed (evolved) that Round Up doesn’t work on anymore.

Bt corn’ seed (to control corn worms). Bt is an organic pesticide that is being sliced into the corn gene. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re the worm), the worms are starting to become resistant to this. Now, one could argue Bt is an organic pesticide. This is true, but do I want to ingest it in genetically altered food I eat? No.

Round Up Ready’ sugar beet seed which has been approved by USDA. Of all the sugar produced in the US, 54% comes from sugar beets and 90% of all sugar beets out there are GE grown. This will greatly increase GE sugar in the American food chain. Great! But there is a way out of this-use sugar cane products-sugar cane is safe-NON-GMO.

‘Round Up Ready’ alfalfa is also fed to our livestock that we eat or drink their milk. Again we don’t ingest it first hand but don’t you want to make that choice?

GE herbicide-resistant soybeans95% of soybeans grown in the US are GM!

The second part will be on the next post-GMO Foods in the Grocery Stores-Part 2

Here are some interesting articles you might want to read: Read the first one for sure..

** have a great shoppers guide-quite extensive and list BY BRAND AND STORE and you can get an app for your phone while shopping.

USDA Approves Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets

GM soybean


Just label it-GMO products

I am not very political but as an organic gardener and consumer, I feel this is important. I just received an email from an organization, Just Label It asking me to sign a petition being sent to the FDA to make food corps label their food IF it has GMOs in them. We are not just talking about labeling the fruits and vegetables we buy in the store (fruits and vegetables are non GMO in the US right now) but to label ALL products that have GMO products in them. If you are interested in signing it, go here. I did.

There is also a group, TRUE FOOD NETWORK, that has a GMO shoppers guide that you can download on your computer or get a free phone app to use when you are in the grocery store. I was amazed at what foods and which companies do and don’t have GMO products in them. I’m only promoting this because 1. it’s interesting and 2. we should want to know.

Genetically engineered foods are required to be labeled in 15 European Union nations, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries around the world. I think we should also have the right to know if our foods have been genetically engineered. I’m not talking about making a judgement about whether it is good or bad, but just label it and let us decide for ourselves. After all if I wanted to know if a product has artificial sugar in it all I’d have to do would be to look at the label. I want the same done for any GMO food products sold here in the US.

When asked why Europe has been so successful at generally keeping out GMO foods, it has been said that the Europeans are closer to their food sources. They don’t have the big grocery stores which tend to remove the consumer from the process. They go shopping at the local markets in the streets to get their foods and don’t use as many processed foods as we do and as such are much closer in knowing where it comes from.

Now the number one way to go around this is buy everything ORGANIC but not everyone CAN (too expensive) or will so I appreciate True Food Network getting the information together to educate us. Of course what do you expect from me- an ORGANIC  gardener?

P.S.  Remember that Minnesota ruling I wrote about where I mentioned an organic California farm also won a ruling against its non organic neighboring farms for contamination of its organic crops? Well, the organic farm is Del Cabo-you know, the one that sells those small cherry tomatoes in Trader Joes and other stores. Now it becomes more personal. I see the Del Cabo brand everywhere in the grocery stores. So the next time I see the organic variety of Del Cabo tomatoes in the store (they also have non-organic) I will be reminded of the fight some of the big organic farmers (as well as the little organic farmer) are going through to give us organic produce. It all becomes more personal when you know what’s going on.

Ok, I’ll get off my box now…

What is a GMO vegetable?

Now I mentioned  in the previous post, most giant pumpkins are hybrids and not GMOs. So what is a GMO vegetable? GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, which means any food product that has been altered at the gene level.

Now farmers and gardeners have been crossbreeding different species of plants since Luther Burbank pollinated one flower of a plant with another flower of another plant to create a plant or vegetable with certain desirable traits that produce heartier, better tasting, or more beautiful crops. These are called hybrids.

The concern here is with modern genetic engineering, genes from an animal, plant, bacteria, or virus are inserted into a different plant, altering irreversibly, the genetic code, (blueprint) of the organism that received the gene. What a scary thought! This would be like taking a flounder gene and inserting it into a tomato gene to create a tomato with a longer shelf life (this is true-they are doing this)!

Franken food pumpkin head

To think that we are crossing different species (think animal with a plant or virus with a plant) is outrageous. I don’t want to worry if some vegetable I’m growing will rise up and bite me on the butt while I’m working in the garden! No wonder they have the nickname of “Franken Foods”!

We should all be demanding to know what foods in our store are GMOs or contain GMOs and demand the stores remove them. Who knows what the hell these vegetables  and products will do to us in years to come…