Thursday, January 16, 2014

What's NOT Listed in the Food Label

So, food labels are important to read--that's obvious.  But what can you do about ingredients that are not listed?  I'm talking once again about GMO ingredients, because they do not have to appear on the label.

This is where consumer savvy comes in.  You need to spend some time reading about food crops that are GMO.  Then you need to make a list or create a little jingle that you'll always remember so you can use that information when you are food shopping.

As a short aside to this, and concerning additives that ARE listed, make up a list of the ones you want most to avoid when shopping and keep it handy in your wallet or purse so you can refer to it when food shopping.  It's up to you to safeguard your family's health.

Getting back to what's not listed on food labels, today in America, as many people are aware, most of the soybeans and corn that are produced are GMO.  If you have been reading food labels, you'll know that two of the most common ingredients used in most processed foods are soy and corn. And they are not listed as GMO soy or GMO corn, because they don't have to be.

But there are other ingredients frequently used that are also GMO, but not listed that way.  They include: sugar beets, canola (think canola oil) and cotton (think cottonseed oil).

I call these the Big 5 and I count them off the fingers of my right hand as my personal jungle to be aware of when I'm food shopping.  Corn, soy, sugar, canola and cotton.  For the sake of our health, we must absolutely avoid these food ingredients, unless they are labeled organic.

Different states have been working on their own state laws requiring the labeling of GMO ingredients in food.  People may remember Proposition 37 here in California, requiring such labeling.  It was narrowly defeated at the polls. Recently, California's neighbor state, Washington went through the same process by putting the initiative in front of the voters (I-522) and again it was very narrowly defeated.
All together, about 30 states have drafted legislation on this issue.  To date, only Maine and Connecticut have successfully passed it.

But other groups who are players in the way food is manufactured and distributed in this country have decided to take matters into their own hands.  The GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association has plans of its own concerning GMO foods labeling. According to a draft bill outline leaked by Politico last week the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is proposing a federal voluntary labeling bill that would preempt states from passing meaningful mandatory labeling bills, redefine GE food as “safe” and even allow GE foods to be labeled as “natural.” I urge your strong opposition to this or any similar bill.

With all of this said, it is basically a situation of "consumer beware" when you are food shopping.  Read all the labels carefully,  consult your list or jingle so you can avoid GMOs and safeguard your family's health.  Refer to you additives list so you can avoid the ones you feel are the worst.

Fortunately, there is some help for consumers who want to avoid GMOs in processed foods. The Center for Food Safety has published the True Food Shopper's Guide that is available on line. Use this link to get it and print off a copy.
 The Institute of Responsible Technology has published a Non-GMO Shopping Guide that is available on line. Use this link to get it and print off a copy‎.   

Both these guides are small and can fit into a wallet or purse for your easy reference when shopping.
Last, but not least, the Non GMO Project has dedicated itself to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, along with education of consumers about GMOs.
Look for these images on any food product and you can rest assured that it is GMO free.

  • The Non-GMO Project

  • It's our job to guard our health and the health of those dear to us.  Be vigilant with reading food labels and doing your own research.  Good luck to you in doing this!

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