GMO Apples are Here (And Why You Should Avoid Them)

Genetically modified foods like corn and soy have been around awhile, and it still creates controversy on the safety of our food supply. Now, biologically engineered apples are on their way to the produce section of U.S. grocery stores.

The first commercial harvest of GMO golden delicious apples will be going from Washington state orchards to around 400 Midwestern grocery stores in early November according to a recent report.  The apples have been modified into non-browning “Arctic Apples” through a process that suppresses a gene that releases an enzyme causing the apples to brown.

It has been said that the only food that is truly good for you is food that can go bad. What we want in our diets are real, whole foods, not something that can stay on the shelf way beyond it’s time. The effects of modified food sources can be clearly seen by the poor health effects of processed foods in our diets. With that being said, I would like to restate my position on Genetically Modified Foods (GMO’s).

To avoid or ignore GMO’s (genetically modified foods) is currently a raging debate as our choices of food products are more and more “industrialized” and less and less grown naturally. It is estimated that about 75% of all processed foods on the shelves in U.S. supermarkets contain genetically modified food ingredients. It is my belief that the more you stay on the natural path, the better off you are.

The only way to be sure that you are keeping GMO’s out of your diet is to buy unprocessed 100% certified organic foods. But you have to be careful, as a label that simply says “organic” can still contain genetically modified ingredients.

You have to be an investigative shopper to make sure that what you are getting is really 100% certified organic. On those stickers, you see on fruits and vegetables, look for a 5-digit number on it. If number starts with “8,” the food is either genetically modified or genetically engineered.  If the number starts with “9,” it’s organic.  A 4-digit number indicates it was conventionally grown and may contain GMO’s. 100% certified organic food can’t by law be genetically modified.

If you aren’t sure, don’t buy it, even if you are at a farmer’s market, because a lot of the seeds and plants used today are genetically modified or engineered to start with. Look or ask for food labels that say “non-GM” or “GMO-free.”

Here are your main clues that the food contains GMO’s:

  • It contains Corn or high fructose corn syrup. Most processed foods and baked goods are full of it, as well as most sodas. Any food that has corn in it should be avoided.
  • If Soy is in the list, including soy flour, soy isolates, soy lecithin, soy protein and isoflavones leave it alone. Be sure that soy-based products such as tofu, soymilk, and edamame have a label that say it is 100% certified organic.
  • Canola or Rapeseed Oil made from the rapeseed plant. They are derived from genetically engineered crops and are used mostly in cooking oil and in margarine.
  • Cottonseed oil is a primary in vegetable oil and margarine, both of which are unhealthy fats, and also could contain trans fats. You can also find it in processed foods like potato chips and other fried snack foods.
  • Some dairy farmers inject cows with the hormones rBGH or rBST to boost milk production. They also feed cows genetically modified foods in the form of grain and alfalfa. Look for products that are free of these hormones.
  • Beet sugar should be avoided by buying products labeled as made with evaporated cane sugar.  100% cane sugar or organic sugar is not currently modified.
  • Stay away from products such as NutraSweet and Equal; Aspartame is derived from genetically modified microorganisms.
  • Your meat purchases should come from 100% grass-fed animals (sometimes also referred to as grass-finished or pasture-finished). For pigs and poultry that aren’t 100% grass-fed, buy meat that is labeled as 100% certified organic.
  • Farm raised fish are fed fishmeal containing GM grains and sometimes meat and bone meal. Get your fish wild caught
  • Eggs should be labeled 100% certified organic. The ones labeled “free-range,” “natural,” or “cage-free” label is not necessarily free of GMOs.

GMO foods are popping up everywhere, and so are the concerns. Keep informed about what goes into what goes on your table.

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Brandon Tarpon Springs