7 things we can do to have a GMO-free Thanksgiving
by Monique Mikhail
November 25, 2013
© Kitchen Vignettes
- A recentNew York Times pollfound that 93 percent of Americans favor labeling of GE food.
- Nearly half of all U.S. states have introduced bills requiring labeling or prohibiting genetically engineered foods. CFS has a website that goesstate by state on legislationon GE foods.
- Just a couple of weeks ago, a ballot initiative in Washington State to label GE foods was narrowly defeated. Huge food and chemical companies spent $22 million to mislead the public, the most money ever spent in Washington State on a ballot initiative, and yet they only won by 3 percent of the vote.
- Labeling is possible and happening around the globe: 61 countries, including member countries of the European Union, Russia, China, Brazil, Australia, Turkey and South Africa require standards of mandatory GE food labeling.
- Until the US government requires GE labeling, buying foods that are certified organic is the best way to avoid eating GE foods. Natural foods have no strict legal definition, so they are not necessarily GE-free.
- Most GE ingredients are made from corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, and sugar beets. So, avoiding processed foods made with these ingredients is a good start.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are largely GE-free. The only commercialized GE produce is papaya from Hawaii (not generally a Thanksgiving regular). Small amounts of zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, and sweet corn might be GE, so either avoid those vegetables or buy organic.
- When you cook those side dishes and salads, watch out for condiments, oils, and dressings. Corn, soybean, cottonseed, and canola oils probably contain GE ingredients. Ketchup usually uses corn syrup. And, mayo and conventional salad dressings generally use these oils as major ingredients.
- By far the greenest way to eat your Thanksgiving meal is to skip the turkey and fill up on those vegetarian choices. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 30% of the Earth's land mass is used to raise animals for food! Unfortunately for vegetarians, many alternative meat and dairy products include GE ingredients like soy. But that's no reason to avoid a vegetarian Thanksgiving! A shoppers guide compiled by CFS lists the brands that do and dont use GE soy.
- If you feel you don't want to go fully vegetarian for Thanksgiving, you'll be pleased to know that no bioengineered meat is yet approved. However, most of the feed for livestock, poultry (including egg-laying chickens), and fish comes from GE grains and alfalfa. Only organic and free range meat, dairy, and eggs are guaranteed to use GE-free feed.
- Thankfully, consumer and farmer pressure has kept GE wheat out of the market. So, when you go for that pumpkin pie, the main concern is avoiding baked goods containing GE ingredients like soy or corn syrup.