Genetically Modified Foods: Give Them the Boot

As my life’s work is dedicated to sustainable wellness, it goes without saying that I’m a passionate opponent of genetically modified foods. For me the case against GM foods is a simple one: GM farming methods are poisonous to the environment and its chemicals-baked-right-in yield may be toxic to humans. Does eating GM foods that may deliver loads of genetically-altered organisms plus chemicals and pesticides directly into our bodies seem like a good idea to you? Certainly not. Therefore, as a wellness doctor, lobbying against GM food and raising awareness is critically important. For my patients though, the concern is more immediate when they ask how they can avoid GM foods. Here are four relatively easy ways to keep your distance from GM products:

  1. Profile your produce.

    The PLU label – that slightly annoying little sticker you’re always pulling off your produce? Think of it as a mini-dossier on your fruits and veg. It tells you where it was grown and most importantly whether or not it’s been genetically modified. How to crack the code? Look for a PLU number that starts with the number 9, followed by four numbers – that means it’s been grown organically. GM produce starts with the number 8 and is followed by five numbers. Conventionally grown produce has just 4 numbers. How to remember which is the good stuff? Think of the organic 9’s as having a higher value both nutritionally and numerically than the GM coded 8’s. Or as one of my patients recently said, “9 is fine. Negate the 8. Leave 4 at the store.”

  2. Use it: Your local farmer’s market.

    Support organic growers and whenever possible, local ones. Eating as much certified organic, locally grown produce as you can will help minimize your exposure to genetically modified crops. Why certified organic? Because the certification helps insure that the products you buy are the real organic deal and aren’t GM.

  3. Lose it: Food in cans, bags and wrappers.

    In other words, give processed foods the boot. The more processed foods you eat, the more GM ingredients you’ll ingest, so I say, stay away. By some estimates it’s said that up to 75 % of processed foods contain GM ingredients – not to mention too much sodium, sugar, bad fats and too few nutrients – so why bother eating foods that do so little good?

  4. Read all about it – with a magnifying glass.

    If you aren’t able to totally eliminate processed foods, then knowing what to look for on a label will go a long way towards helping you make the best possible choices. Be on the lookout for corn and soy and their derivatives because unless they’re tagged with the certified organic label, chances are they’ll be GM. And for more information, read my blog on practical tips to avoid GM foods.

  • Guest1234

    All organic food is genetically modified – through a thousand years of breeding.
    GMO can make food cheaper in the 3rd world. That's important.
    Packaged foods are bad, for sure. Eat your GMO broccoli.

  • Guest 12345

     That makes them hybrid not GMO – two very different things. Hybrids are not necessarily bad, GMO on the other hand are incredibly bad for the human and the planet. Better off to eat your Organic Broccoli.

  • Steve

    You’re wrong 12345. Selective breeding is no different than GMO. Genetics are genetics. If you breed one tomato because it’s got large fruit with one that has good flavor and you plant 50 of them and kill off all but the ones that have large good tasting fruit, you have just modified their genetics. You have selected the one that had the genetics that you want.

    All GMO does is take some of the guess work out. You’re simply switching on the genes that make the changes that you want instead of waiting for them to come out of random chaos in breeding. There is nothing inherently bad about it.

    Can you tell me what it is that makes the statement “GMO on the other hand are incredibly bad for the human and the plant” true? Do you have any idea what you’re talking about? Dr Lipman likely doesn’t either. Reading the above article he obviously thinks it’s some magical process.

    Any of the modifying bacteria (if that process was even used) are killed off long before growing the plant at all leaving nothing behind but a plant with a genome that now contains the new/modified gene. There are methods, that are employed regularly, that do not use the bacterial insert method at all and do nothing but place the new sequence into the cell and then get propagated when the cells divide (as they do naturally).

    I agree that “Round up Ready” is not necessarily good because of the insane amounts of herbicides that that likely uses but GMOs are not inherently bad.

  • Steve

    One more point, if I may, the picture is highly inaccurate. There are very few times that syringes are ever used in genetic modification. It is especially unlikely that they would ever be put to a ripened fruit. There would be no point. It doesn’t grow anymore. The only point that there might be would be to extract a chemical or something but there are easier ways to do that.. I don’t understand why so many images contain fruits getting stabbed with syringes…

  • Steve

    I noticed a typo in my quote of you, I apologize. “..the planet” not “.. the plant.”

  • Citizen

    Thanks to franken foods our fauna and flora getting destroyed!