In October, retailers, manufacturers, and consumers unite with the Non-GMO Project to say no to genetically modified foods and ingredients.
Last April, Delicious Living ran an important update, “What You Should Know About Seeds,” which highlighted behind-the-scenes changes occurring right now in our food system (namely, that giants Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta have gained control of nearly half of all seeds in the U.S.). Many of those seeds are now genetically engineered. According to the Non GMO Project, that means approximately 80 percent of all packaged products in the average grocery store contain genetically modified ingredients (a.k.a. GMOs). Corn, soy, and cotton aren’t the only GMO crops: canola, sugar beets, squash, and others are gaining.
The companies who own and distribute GMO seeds claim that they have tested these foods and that they are safe to eat. But few independent studies have been conducted, and certainly none have looked at the effects of GMOs in the human diet over the long term. In fact, two recent studies on lab animals showed some disturbing results, says Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non GMO Project: Animals fed GMOs had significantly reduced fertility when compared with a control group. By the second generation, GMO-fed animals had fewer, smaller offspring with lower survival rates. “As a young woman who would like to have kids someday, those results really got my attention,” says Westgate. “We [the Non GMO Project] believe that consumers have a right to know if their food contains GMOs—so that they can make an informed decision about what they put into their bodies.” Currently, the U.S. government does not require labeling of such foods.
In honor of GMO Awareness Month (and GMO Awareness Day, October 10, 2010, or 10-10-10), the Non GMO Project kicks off a national campaign to raise shopper awareness. Look for the Non GMO Project Verified seal (which is the only GMO-free claim that is third-party verified) on favorite products, or go to their website (nongmoproject.org) or download their free iPhone app to browse the thousands of participating brands.