Hilary’s Eat Well Chooses NO GMO
Hilary’s Eat Well Chooses NO GMO
contributed by Hilary Kass
Everyday you make choices about what to eat: animal or plant, cooked or raw, fresh from scratch or prepared for convenience, preservatives or clean label, organic or conventional, and now GMO… or nonGMO?
At Hilary’s Eat Well we are constantly choosing, too. And we have chosen nonGMO.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) is a food that has been manipulated to alter the genetic material- the codes that make each living thing in the world what it is. Genes can be reversed, removed or inserted. If new material is inserted it generally comes from another organism. The genes are manipulated to generate foods with certain traits such as increased growth, nutrition or the ability to withstand the application of herbicides. For example, soybean crops can be genetically modified to express an insecticidal protein which makes the soy plant resistant to the use of the glyphosate herbicides- so the herbicide that is applied in the field kills the weeds around the plant but does not destroy the plant itself.
Farmers have always manipulated their crops by choosing seeds based on preferred traits- usually to increase yield or for the ability to grow under certain conditions. Perhaps you save seeds from your favorite tomatoes to plant the following year so that you can get the characteristics that you like best-meaty, juicy, good slicer.
The major difference with GMO/ or GE (genetically engineered) crops is that the desired traits are drawn from other species or manipulated using biotechnology. This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
Today GMO crops make up 94% of soy, 95% of sugar beets, and 88% of corn sold in the US.
Who is monitoring this? The FDA regulates all food products including food from GE crops. Almost 20 years ago, the FDA decided that GE foods did not need to be labeled because they were not “materially” different from other foods. And in the spring of 2000, after efforts to require mandatory labeling, the FDA announced that labeling of GE foods would remain voluntary, even though there was no indication that any company would voluntarily label GE foods. And in the years since, none have.
But not everyone agrees that GE foods are not “materially” different or that there are no negative effects of GE crops for the environment and human health. And regardless of scientific proof one way or another, many would just like to know if the foods they choose are from GE crops. Just Label It www.justlabelit.org, and GMO Inside http://gmoinside.org are two consumer groups working to inform consumers and get products containing GMOs labeled as such.
Just Label It explains that here are many reasons why Americans want labeling of genetically engineered foods. For some it is due to health, safety or environmental concerns. For others, it is due to religious considerations. Still others believe that the right to know is a core American value. Whatever the reason, the vast majority of Americans believe that we have the right to know.
Food companies and retailers are working to advance customer awareness, too. Whole Foods Markets will require products sold in its stores to disclose whether they contain such ingredients by 2018.
Hilary’s Eat Well voluntarily verifies that our products do not contain GMOs through the nonGMO Project Verification process.http://www.nongmoproject.org. This process requires us to get statements from each and every ingredient supplier that we source ingredients from that confirms the item is free from all GMOs. This takes time and attention on our part but it is worth it to keep us and our customers informed.
Controversy swarms around the development, use and full disclosure of this technology. Research is crucial. We will continue to stay vigilant to the quality of every ingredient that we use to make food for you. And we ask that you become informed and voice your opinion about how foods are grown and labeled. Together we will support an honorable food system that supports all beings.