Tag Archives: genetically modified organisms

Help finding hidden GMOs

FoodFacts.com understands that there are many members of our community especially concerned with avoiding GMO foods and any food products that may contain GMO ingredients. Since there are no labeling requirements for GMOs, it can become difficult to figure out what products you may want to avoid.

So we’ve done some hunting for you and we’ve come up with a list of ingredients that may, in fact, contain hidden GMOs. While we can’t tell you that every time you see one of these ingredients in a food product’s list that it is GMO, we can tell you that unless the product is certified organic or has declared that it is non-GMO that it MAY be. It’s up to each of us individually to determine what we want to avoid in terms of food consumption. So here’s the list:

 

Aspartame
Baking powder
Bee pollen
Caramel color
Cellulose
Citric Acid
Cobalamin
Corn Gluten
Corn Masa
Corn Oil
Corn Syrup
Cornmeal
Cornstarch
Cyclodextrin
Cystein
Dextrin
Dextrose
Diacetyl
Diglyceride
Fructose
Glucose
Glutamate
Glutamic Acid
Gluten
Glycerides
Glycerin
Glycerol
Glycerol monooleate
Glycine
Hemicellulose
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Hydrogenated starch hydrolates
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Inositol
Invert sugar
Inverse syrup
Isoflavones
Lactic acid
Lecithin
Lysine
Malitol
Maltodextrin
Maltose
Mannitol
Methylcellulose
Milo starch
Modified starch
Monosodium Glutamate
Oleic acid
Phenylalanine
Phytic Acid
Sorbitol
Soy flour
Soy isolates
Soy lecithin
Soy protein
Starch
Stearic acid
Tamari
Tempeh
Threonine
Tocopherols
Tofu
Trehalose
Trehalose
Triglyceride
Vegetable oil
Xanthan gum

FoodFacts.com makes every effort to provide you with information on the issues that are most important to our community. These food ingredients, which may contain GM soy, corn, cotton or canola, may be ingredients you want to keep your eye out for when shopping. If you know of any others we can add to this list, please let us know, so that we can update it and our community as we extend our knowledge.

Are we Inhaling Monsanto’s “Roundup”?

monsanto-roundup

Brought to you by Foodfacts.com

(Reuters) – Significant levels of the world’s most-used herbicide have been detected in air and water samples from two U.S. farm states, government scientists said on Wednesday, in groundbreaking research on the active ingredient in Monsanto Co’s Roundup.

“It is out there in significant levels. It is out there consistently,” said Paul Capel, environmental chemist and head of the agricultural chemicals team at the U.S. Geological Survey Office, part of the U.S. Department of Interior.

Capel said more tests were needed to determine how harmful the chemical, glyphosate, might be to people and animals.

The study comes on the heels of several others released recently that raise concerns about the rise of resistant “super weeds,” and other unintended consequences of Roundup on soil and animals.

Capel said glyphosate, the key ingredient in “Roundup” herbicide, was found in every stream sample examined in Mississippi in a two-year period and in most air samples taken. Tests were also done in Iowa.

“So people are exposed to it through inhalation,” said Capel.

The research did not look at the impact of the glyphosate in the air and water; the purpose was purely to determine exposure.

More research is needed, Capel said, to analyze the implications.

It is difficult and costly to test for the presence of glyphosate, a popular herbicide used around the world to control weeds on farm fields, golf courses and in residential yards. As a result, little research has been done on the implications for waterways and the air, according to Capel.

“This study is one of the first to document the consistent occurrence of this chemical in streams, rain and air throughout the growing season,” said Capel. “It is used so heavily and studied so little.”

Capel said researchers looked at samples from Mississippi, a key agricultural area for corn, soybeans, cotton and rice. Many farmers of those crops use large quantities of glyphosate when growing to combat weeds. Researchers also took samples from areas in Iowa.

Monsanto Co. introduced glyphosate to the world in 1974 branded as Roundup, and has made billions of dollars over the years from Roundup herbicides as well as from the “Roundup Ready” corn, soybeans and cotton the company has genetically engineered to survive dousings of glyphosate.

Most of the corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the United States are part of the Roundup Ready system.

The USGS said more than 88,0000 tons of glyphosate were used in the United States in 2007, up from 11,000 tons in 1992. The big increase in usage has spurred concerns on many fronts, most recently from farmers and environmentalists noting the rise of “super weeds” that are resistant to Roundup.

Fast-growing, glyphosate-resistant weeds are choking out crops in some areas, and some scientists say research shows harmful effects of glyphosate products on soil organisms, on plants, and on certain animals.

The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing the registration for glyphosate and the data gathered by the U.S. Geological Survey has been submitted to the EPA, said Capel.

The EPA has set a deadline of 2015 for determining if glyphosate should continue to be sold or in some way limited. The EPA is working closely with regulators in Canada as they also assess the ongoing safety and effectiveness of the herbicide.

Monsanto spokeswoman Kelli Powers said the company was reviewing the study. The EPA had no immediate comment on the study.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by David Gregorio)

The Great Soy Debate!

soy-foods
Many active or athletic vegetarians look to soy as a reliable way to get their daily protein requirements. Soy is also becoming a popular item on the health food shelves. But there is a cloud of controversy surrounding this new star in the grocery aisle. Here are some of the issues that have created what some are calling “the great soy debate”.

Soy products, made from the soybean, have been eaten for thousands of years in Asia, and have always been traditionally prepared. Typically, soybeans are soaked for long periods, then often fermented or slowly boiled and eaten with animal proteins. Vegetarian travelers to Asia often find themselves unexpectedly staring at a “vegetarian” tofu dish containing pork or egg. This is because, in addition to long soaks, slow boils and fermentation, animal proteins help improve the digestibility of this ancient legume. These methods of cooking and eating soy turn off the anti-nutrient qualities of the phytic acid found in soybeans; phytic acid can block our body’s ability to break down the protein in the soy. Studies of Asian eating patterns have found that no more than 2 – 3 tablespoons of soy products are typically eaten per day.

Nowadays, soy is one of North America’s top three genetically-modified (GM0) foods, next to wheat and corn. Animals raised for meat consume up to 90% of U.S. soy crops. Since most soy is genetically-modified, that means huge tracts of land are being plowed, watered and soaked with insecticides, herbicides and pesticides, mainly to support the meat industry. Most soy products on the market today are also made from this genetically-modified soy.

If you are eating soy that has been prepared quickly, or not alongside animal protein, you may be causing undue stress on your digestive system. Anti-nutrients in the soy may be blocking absorption of protein and other minerals your body requires such as calcium and especially zinc. This is particularly problematic for vegetarians who generally consume less zinc due to a lack of meat in their diets, which is an adequate source of zinc for omnivores.

A big concern in the soy debate is that the isoflavones contained in soy may pose a threat to women, children and to thyroid health in general. These isoflavones are found in high concentration in soy milk, soy protein isolate and soy infant formulas.

Most doctors already advise pregnant women against consuming too much soy, while this possible health threat is being further studied. There is also heated debate over whether the goitrogens contained in soy (and other foods like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) increase the risk of thyroid disease. These goitrogens are said to block or suppress hormones that would normally circulate in our bodies and this can lead to thyroid disease, growth problems, immune system and menstrual cycle issues. Again the thyroid disease risk is mostly a concern for vegetarians who do not eat sea vegetables, because meat eaters get the thyroid-supporting mineral iodine in their diet through fish, thereby balancing out any negative effects of the goitrogens.

All of this might sound like reason enough to avoid soy. Even the FDA is monitoring the issue, although they initially approved the soy industry’s request for health claims. “FDA continues to monitor the debates about the relative safety of these individual soy components and the scientific research that will eventually resolve them,” says the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

However, there are some very good reasons to seek out soy products. As an alternative to dairy, a glass of soy milk contains no saturated fats and is rich in polyunsaturates (Omega 6s) that are good for our health. A glass of soy milk also contains less total fat and generally fewer calories than a glass of whole milk. Beware the flavored soy milks on the market which are filled with sugar and calories. Organic, and non-GM soy products also contain none of the antibiotics and hormones that may be found in conventional dairy products.

Soy products may be good for heart health, and this is why the FDA gave it the green light as a health product in the first place. However, some scientists are now disputing this claim. They state that the reason for study participants’ improved cardiac health was that soy products replaced or reduced the amount of potentially artery-clogging foods like red meats and dairy products in their diets.

There are no doubts that eating more legumes is a very good way to increase your intake of fiber, polyunsaturated fats and also a good non-animal source of protein. But to be safe, pregnant women and those with thyroid disease should probably avoid eating soy products, or at least try to reduce them in the diet.

People with digestive problems should look for soy products that are prepared by soaking overnight or longer. You can find this out by going to manufacturers’ websites or calling their toll-free customer service line. It’s good practice to ask questions of our food providers; whether they be farmers at the market, restaurant managers or manufacturers, they should always be able to answer our questions about food quality or safety. Also, look for soy products that are low in isoflavones such as tofu or soy nuts or the beans themselves prepared traditionally. Soy milks and especially soy protein isolates will have higher concentrations of isoflavones, unless they say so otherwise on the label. Watch out for calorie-rich flavored soy milks with added sugars. Even “natural” flavored soy milk often has sugar added. Alternatives to soy milk (for vegans) are almond milk, rice milk and there are some delicious grain milks on the market. Lactose-intolerant dairy product lovers can sometimes find lactose-reduced yogurts and milk products, as well as rice-milk frozen desserts.

Wherever possible try to get organic non-GMO soy, which also tends to be processed in a more traditional manner. If you’re looking for alternative non-animal sources of protein, don’t forget all the other legumes which also should be soaked overnight before cooking, and whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa.

Ultimately, we need to think carefully about what we eat, now that we live in a world where we do not grow or raise our food in our own backyards. It’s our responsibility to make informed choices about the food on the grocery store shelves. Many of the packaged foods we find there will be quick and convenient, but not necessarily the best ingredients for our optimal health.

Article provided by Caroline Rechia

Don’t know if you’re eating GMO’s?

franken-tomato

If you think that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) don’t affect you, then consider this. Up to 90% of all major US grown crops are grown with genetically engineered seed, and can be used in human and animal foods without any safety testing or labeling to let us know what’s been used.

This includes GM corn (maize), soybeans, canola (a North American cultivar of oilseed rape), sugar beet and cotton, which have made their way into approximately 80% of current US grocery store items. Don’t know if you’re eating GMOs? If you’re not buying organically produced foods or growing your own vegetables and raising your own animals for food, you’re probably eating genetically modified ingredients in most of the foods you’re consuming today.

In Europe last week, officials ruled that the European Union’s constituent countries could not independently ban genetically modified crops. Paolo Mengozzi, legal adviser to the European Court of Justice, ruled that only the EU itself could institute such bans. France and five other EU countries have put a blanket ban on GMOs, citing safety concerns. “The French authorities could not suspend the cultivation of genetically modified maize (MON 810) on national territory without having first asked the European Commission to adopt emergency measures citing a risk to health and the environment,” said Mengozzi.

Last month, for the first time, European judges allowed GMOs in small amounts as contaminants in other crops – such as imported alfalfa (aka ‘lucerne’).

Monsanto’s MON 810 seed has been authorized for sale and cultivation in the EU’s 27 member states since 1998. The license for MON 810 is up for renewal this year, with pressure coming from both sides. The US has been putting pressure on the EU to accept the planting of GM crops from US-based companies. France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Greece have all blocked GMOs.

MON 810 corn and the Amflora potato, developed by BASF, are the only GMO seeds approved for farming in the EU. Dozens of GMOs can, however, be imported. The US has been lobbying hard to get all GMO restrictions removed in Europe, considering it an issue of unfair trade (with GMOs making up 95% of US corn and soybean production, it limits what the US can export).

Scientific testing has not been done on what effects GMOs may have on humans. What has been shown is that GMO foods contain excessive amounts of certain toxins, the effects of which have not been determined. Genetically modified foods also negatively impact the environment by creating more toxins and potentially leading to the creation of mutated soil bacteria, which may lead to more harm regarding the future of food production.

The US Department of Agriculture statistics show that the majority of animal products produced in the US today that are raised on confined feed lots (aka ‘CAFOs’ – confined animal feeding operations), are fed with genetically modified feed, and are injected with genetically engineered hormones and vaccines.

Genetically modified foods are grown so that crops can withstand repeated, heavy application of weedkillers – and still survive and be turned into food. GMO crops were first introduced in the 1990s, and pesticide use has only increased – it hasn’t eliminated weeds or the need to reduce weeds. Instead, weeds have become stronger and our food has become more toxic.

US consumers are years behind in demanding the reversal of the use of GMOs. How safe do you feel knowing your government does not give you the right to choose which foods you will buy based on how they were grown?

Lack of truth in labeling takes away the consumer’s choice to eat or refuse foods grown with genetically modified ingredients – there is no requirement by the US government to label GMO foods.

Americans have the right to know what is in their food, and food labeling is the most basic of requirements for consumers to be able to make a real choice. Ask your federal, state, and local politicians to commit to truthful labeling and your right to know as a consumer by supporting mandatory GMO labels on all foods.

http://www.ukprogressive.co.uk