With that latter thought in mind, we’ve developed an infographic to highlight the top 10 GMO (genetically modified organism) foods to avoid, in no particular order:
1.Tomatoes: What? Tomatoes? Yes, that’s right. It’s probably the No. 1 symbol of a GMO food, having been on the market since about 1994. Still, some think modifying them genetically is okay, including those who traditionally shun GMO foods, which is perplexing. The most recent converts are hailing a new technique developed by researchers for extending the shelf life of tomatoes and other crops from the traditional 15 days or so to a full month. This is accomplished by suppressing two enzymes (A-Man, B-hex) which accumulate during the ripening process. Backers say this modification can decrease waste and increase efficiency, but again, it’s a process that genetically alters the product, and there have been reports that some animals have died shortly after consuming GMO tomatoes.
2.Cotton: Considered a food item because its oil can be consumed, cotton – in particular, genetically modified Bt cotton, common to India and China – has damaging consequences. According to recent Chinese research, while Bt cotton is capable of killing bollworms without the use of insecticides, its decreased use has increased the presence of other crop-harming pests. Also, Bt cotton production has been linked to drastic depletion of soil nutrients and lower crop yields, as well as much higher water requirements.
3.Canola: This is probably one of the most misunderstood, misguided “healthy” food choices out there right now, but there is little about canola – and similar oils – that is good for you. Extracted from rapeseed, canola oil and others must be chemically removed from the seeds, then deodorized and altered, in order to be utilized in foods. They are among the most chemically altered foods in our diets.
4.Aspartame: An artificial sweetener found in a number of products, aspartame – discovered by accident in 1965 by a chemist testing an anti-ulcer drug – accounts for as many as 75 percent of adverse reactions to food additives reported to theFood and Drug Administration(FDA), according to some reports. Some seizures and even some deaths have been blamed on aspartame.
5.Dairy: A disturbingly high number – as many as one-fifth – of dairy cows in the U.S. today are given growth hormones to increase milk production, a figure that has been rising since the FDA approved a genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone known as rbGH or rbST for use in dairy cows in 1993. While said to boost production by 5-15 percent, scientists have expressed concern that the increased levels of IGF-1 (insulin growth factors-1) from hormone-treated cows may boost the risks of colon and breast cancer. Since 2008, Hiland Dairy has stopped using milk from dairy farmers who inject their cows with growth hormone.
6.Corn: Modified now to create its own insecticide, as many as half of all U.S. farms growing corn for Monsanto are using genetically modified corn, with tons of it now being introduced for human consumption, according to the FDA. Doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospitalin Quebec recently found Bt toxin from modified corn in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, as well as in non-pregnant women.
7.Papayas: Genetically modified papayas have been grown in Hawaii commercially since 1999, designed to combat the Papaya Ringspot Virus. Approved for sale and consumption in the U.S. and Canada, GM papayas cannot be imported or sold in the European Union.
8.Potatoes: That favorite of American starches, potatoes, especially those that have been genetically modified with Bacillus thuringiensis var. Kurstaki Cry 1, have been fed to mice and those mice have been found to have toxins in their systems. Also, according to Dr. Nina V. Fedoroff Willaman Professor of Life Sciences and Evan Pugh Professor atPennsylvania State University, “rats fed the transgenic potatoes had significantly lower organ weights […]”.
9.Soy: Like other foods, soy, too, has been genetically modified to resist herbicides. Soy is included in soy flour, tofu, soy beverages, soybean oil and scores of other products, especially baked goods and pastries. According to one report, “[a]fter feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies. They also suffered slower growth, and a high mortality rate among the pups.”
10.Rice: One of the most prevalent starches in the Asian and U.S. diets, rice has been modified to contain a high amount of vitamin A. But despite the goal of boosting rice production in countries with high demand, it’s not being universally accepted. China, for instance, suspended distribution of genetically modified rice within its commercial food supplies over growing concern about its safety.
Sources for this article include: