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What is a GMO?

 

GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. The most common GMOs are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, and zucchini. GMOs may be hidden in common processed food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

The Natural Products Expo West, the biggest organic trade show of the year was held on March 8-10th. At it, Whole Foods made a HUGE announcement that by 2018 all products in its U.S. and Canadian stores must be labeled to indicate whether they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). I asked Max Goldberg, a leading expert on organic foods, why this is so tremendous. “Whole Foods’ decision to make companies label GMOs is absolutely enormous. While 62 other countries around the world require GMOs to be labeled, the U.S. does not. This flawed policy essentially means that consumers do not have the right to know what is in their food and goes against everything that America stands for.

Despite the inaction by our government, Whole Foods has said that its shoppers have the right to know what is in their food and this could be the real tipping point in the fight against GMOs. There are several reasons why.

– Consumers will become much more aware of GMOs, if they see a GMO-label on a product, and will start asking questions about what GMOs are and what are the health risks of consuming them. With approximately 80% of the food on supermarket shelves containing GMOs, most consumers do not know that they are ingesting genetically modified organisms on a daily basis. This will drive demand down for GM-products.

– Vendors will start switching to non-GM raw materials because they will not want their products containing a GMO label. This means the demand for non-GM crops will go up and the demand for GM-crops will go down. The impact on the food supply chain will be huge.

– This move by Whole Foods will put pressure on other supermarkets to label GMOs as well because there will be a precedent and their shoppers are going to demand it.

This is the biggest news in the industry ever since organic standards were put into place more than a decade ago. The fact that Whole Foods is the one who announced it is no surprise at all. By far, they are the leader.”

For more info follow Max on his twitter @livingmaxwell or blog www.livingmaxwell.com

Riley, who has served in that post longer have a glimpse here than any other
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Sharon Richter, RD
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Phone: 212.977.7779

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