Thursday, September 25, 2014

Some critics are unclear on dangers of genetically modified food

Nature's Bakery Fig Bar, which I buy at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack, is labeled "non-GMO," meaning none of the ingredients are genetically modified. But there are no laws in the United States to compel such labeling.


Jersey City Mayor Stephen Fulop is the latest official to declare that consumers have a right to know if the food they are eating contains genetically modified ingredients.

In a newspaper opinion column on Wednesday, Fulop discussed "an explosion of GMO foods on the shelves of our grocery stores" since they were first introduced in 1996.

"Inadequate testing of these genetically manipulated crops has left many consumers concerned about the safety of these foods.

"As of today," Fulop wrote, "GMO foods have still not been independently tested by the federal government for long-term impacts on human and environmental health and safety."

Local food

Fulop notes Jersey City is a major force in the local-food movement, "with seven farmers' markets running weekly this season."

He urges New Jersey legislators to join Connecticut and Maine, the first two states to pass laws mandating GMO labeling on all products on store shelves.

The catch: More populous states in the region must pass similar laws before their mandates go into effect, the mayor says.

But besides the lack of testing and labeling, Fulop doesn't get much more specific about the dangers of genetically modified organisms in our food.

Healthy eating

For that, consumers should turn to the Web site of the Institute for Responsible Technology, which says it is "the most comprehensive source of GMO health risk information" on the Internet.

Here's a link to the site:

Healthy eating starts with informed eating

The IRT Web site includes detailed information on the dangers of genetically modified organisms, non-GMO shopping and dining out guides, and other startling information.

GM crops

The site also lists the percentage of "commercialized GM crops" in the U.S., including:

Soy (94%), cotton (90%), canola (90%), sugar beets (95%), corn (88%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres).

Olive oil is recommended for cooking to avoid soy, cotton and canola oils containing GMOs.

Go to the Web site of the Non-GMO Project to find a list of products without genetically modified organisms:

Choose Non-GMO

All food products labeled organic are also non-GMO. These Love Beets are grown in Europe and sold at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack.
A growing number of organic and non-organic products carry the label of the Non GMO Project. This one is on a bag of Tru Roots lentils from Costco.
House Foods Firm Tofu, a new item at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack, isn't organic, but it is non-GMO, as you can see from the Non GMO Project Verified badge on the label to the right of the American flag, above.

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