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Genetically Modified Food

What is Genetically Modified food?

Genetically Modified (GM) food, also called Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), are made by forcing genes from one species, such as bacteria, viruses, plants, animals, or humans, into the DNA of a food crop or animal to introduce a new trait.

Why avoid Genetically Modified food?

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine reported that "Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food," including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.

What foods are Genetically Modified?

Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (94%), cotton (90%), canola (90%), sugar beets (95%), corn (88%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres). (The number in parentheses represents the estimated percent that is genetically modified.)

Blue corn cross-pollinates with current GM corn varieties. Sugar beets may cross-pollination with other beet varieties and near relatives, such as chard. All but soy cross-pollinates.

How to ensure your seeds are not Genetically Modified

1. Buy seeds from suppliers who have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. The Safe Seed Pledge helps to connect non-GM seed sellers, distributors and traders to the growing market of concerned gardeners and agricultural consumers. The Pledge allows businesses and individuals to declare that they "do not knowingly buy, sell or trade genetically engineered seeds".

View Safe Seed List

2. Buy organic seed. Certified organic growers are not allowed to have GMO's in their seeds.

How to avoid eating Genetically Modified food

Although most Americans say they would avoid brands if labeled GMO, unfortunately labels are not required. Here are 4 tips to help you shop non-GMO.

1. Buy Organic Certified organic products as they cannot intentionally include any GMO ingredients. Buy products labeled “100% organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic ingredients.” You can be doubly sure if the product also has a Non-GMO Project Verified Seal.

2. Look for Non-GMO Project Seals. Products that carry the Non-GMO Project Seal are independently verified to be in compliance with North America’s only third party standard for GMO avoidance, including testing of at-risk ingredients. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization committed to providing consumers with clearly labeled and independently verified non-GMO choices. Their website is


3. Avoid at-risk ingredients if they're not labeled organic or verified non-GMO. Avoid products made with ingredients that might be derived from GMOs (see list). The eight GM food crops are corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya (most), papaya from China, and a small amount of zucchini and yellow squash. Sugar: If a non-organic product made in North American lists “sugar” as an ingredient (and NOT pure cane sugar), then it is almost certainly a combination of sugar from both sugar cane and GM sugar beets. Dairy: Products may be from cows injected with GM bovine growth hormone. Look for labels stating No rBGH, rBST, or artificial hormones, or check brand listings at

4. Download the Guide. Visit to download the growing list of Non-GMO products available and check out the iPhone application, ShopNoGMO free at the iTunes store.

Information courtesy of the Institute for Responsible Technology