(NaturalNews) The best way to avoid genetically modified foods is to know which foods are genetically modified and which foods are not. It helps to understand the difference between heirlooms, hybrids, and GMOs.
With heirlooms, you save the seeds of a fruit or vegetable with favorable characteristics. Other than selecting which plant seeds to save, the seeds are not manipulated.
Hybridization is the act of cross-pollinating two plants; each with a dominant favorable trait resulting in fruit that will bear both of those traits. Seedless watermelons are a good example of a hybrid; they are not a GMO food.
Foods That Are Genetically Modified
Beets, corn, cotton, Hawaiian papaya, soy, rice, canola, alfalfa, yeast (for making wine), and milk (with RGBH) are genetically modified foods that have been deemed "fit for human consumption," and are being produced and sold to us.
More than half of the cotton grown in the world is genetically modified. Cottonseed oil is frequently used in food production.
Genetically modified rice has been approved, but it is not yet in large-scale use. GMOs were recently banned in Hawaii, but they excluded papaya from the ban.
Genetically modified wheat has been developed, but not yet approved for consumption. Unfortunately, commercial wheat fields have been contaminated with the genetically modified seed. There is a good possibility that we have been consuming GMO wheat.
Other genetically modified foods that have been deemed fit for human consumption, but are not being sold (or are very hard to find being sold) at this time (due to consumer and/or farmer demand) include summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and potatoes.
Conventional factory farmed animals are fed genetically modified grains. If you need one more reason to never eat factory farmed meat or eggs, there you have it.
GMO foods for human consumption that are not yet approved include rice, salmon, bananas, apples that don't brown, and a purple tomato may be coming to your local neighborhood supermarket in the near future.
Genetically Modified Foods in our Grocery Store
First and foremost, the easiest way to avoid genetically modified organisms is to eat whole, unprocessed foods that are labeled organic. When organic is not available, know the most likely offenders; these include soy, alfalfa, Hawaiian papaya, and occasionally sweet corn (GMO sweet corn is not yet common in grocery stores).
When buying packaged foods, such as snack foods, know your GMO ingredients. Without a GMO free guarantee, one should avoid corn, dairy, soy, canola oil, sugar (sugar beets), and any conventional meat. Conventional, factory farmed livestock are fed genetically modified grains, including GMO foods that aren't even trusted for human consumption.
As far as corn is concerned, it should be noted that popcorn comes from corn that is not genetically modified and sweet corn on the cob is, typically, not genetically modified (but like how genetically modified organisms can contaminate crops, GMO sweet corn may become more common very quickly).
Also, note that even when you buy organic, in order to completely avoid GMO foods it is imperative to know and trust the company when it comes to soy, alfalfa, wheat, sugar (from sugar beets), and corn. A reputable producer of food that cares about their customers' health and freedom of choice will test their products regularly (like Eden Foods and Bob's Red Mill). GMO contamination is a very serious problem, and it's getting harder and harder to grow food without genetically modified seeds sneaking into the crops and taking over.
For more on Heirlooms vs hybrids vs GMOs, check out the first source link below. For more information on which foods are GMOs, check out the second link.
About the author: Michael Edwards is the founder, owner, editor-in-chief, and janitor for Organic Lifestyle Magazine and Green Lifestyle Market. At age 17, Michael weighed more than 360 pounds. He suffered from ADHD, allergies, frequent bouts of illness, and chronic, debilitating insomnia.
Conventional medicine wasn't working. While he restored his health through alternative medicine he studied natural health and became immersed in it.