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9 Healthy Foods You’re Eating That Probably Contain GMOs


Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs (sometimes referred to as GM foods), are at the center of heated debates about the environment, human health, animal health, food ethics…the list goes on. For a quick read on the issues surrounding GMOs, click here.

If you would like to avoid GMO ingredients and foods, here’s a list of nine foods that probably contain GMOs, and are, therefore, maybe not as healthy as you thought they were.

1. Vitamins.

Rounding out any diet sometimes means taking some supplements, or maybe your doctor has told you you’re low in a certain vitamin or mineral. Careful; many vitamins are sourced from GMOs, and even the fillers and additives may be as well. For more info, read up here.

2. Papayas.

Few fruits are genetically modified, but generally the easiest way to avoid GM foods is to buy organic. The big offender is papaya from Hawaii, as 50% of papayas from Hawaii are GMOs.

3. Alfalfa.

The use of alfalfa as animal feed is a hugely important current affair, as many believe that cross-contamination of alfalfa will mean that even organic crops will one day be contaminated by the GM plants. To read a more in-depth article on this issue, click here.

4. Vegetable oil.

Unless your veggie oil says it’s organic, it’s probably a GMO. Vegetable oil is sourced from corn, soy bean, and canola oils, which have all been altered to be resistant to round-up pesticides, which definitely would not fall in the category of “healthy”. For info on pesticides, read up here93% of canola in the US is a GE crop, to avoid this, once again, buy organic.

5. Squash.

Many varieties of squash, including zucchini, have been altered to fight off diseases, so being careful when purchasing these delicious fall foods might be a good idea. These new variety of squashes are the favorite food of cockroaches, and are considered to be a danger in regards to new pathogens and bacterial diseases.

6. Margarine.

Margarine is, of course, made from vegetable oils. Margarine is chosen frequently as a health or vegan option, but be careful. It’s a highly processed food, so sneaking in a GMO is easy. To avoid this, look for products that are %100 percent organic, and read up. For info on cooking with fats, look at One Green Planet’s advice right here.

7. Veggie burgers.

Veggie burgers are no-doubt a lovely vegetarian/vegan alternative to this commonly-found food, but many of them are probably containing GM soy. This is of course a problem with any processed food; it’s hard to know what’s really in that super long, hard to pronounce list of ingredients. If you would like to explore the world of vegan burgers and not worry about what might be hiding in the package, buy organic, or even better, try making your own! Click here for a list of great recipes.

8. Bread.

Of course, to many, bread and baked-goods might not fall into a “healthy foods” category, but even store-bought whole wheat, multi-grain, high fibre “healthy” breads could contain GMOs. Flours tend to be GM free, so that’s not where the danger lies. Many breads bought in stores have additives, soy products, and maize as sneaky added ingredients. For information, check out what the GMO compass has to say, or, when in doubt, taking things into your own hands and making your own food is always a safe option. Whether you’re a vegan, eating gluten free, or prefer certain flours, this list certainly has something for you.

9. Breakfast cereals.

Many breakfast cereals are hiding sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and soy products that are likely all GM crops. Buying a breakfast cereal can already be super daunting, what with the ridiculous amount of “healthy” labeling all over the boxes that generally fill an entire grocery store isle, and adding looking for GMOs to the to-look-for list will only add stress. It’s easiest to just know what to buy, so check out this list here.

The best way to avoid all of these? As repeated any times above, buy organic and look for product labels that state that ingredients are GM food-free. Labeling of GMOs is not required in the United States, but many companies that are opposed to their usage declare themselves as such to allow consumers to make informed choices. In order to check, or if you’d like to have a general idea of what to look for in stores, the Non-GMO project has lists of verified ingredients for every type of food imaginable.

*Correction: this post previously contained incorrect information on tomatoes, potatoes, and bananas. GM tomatoes and potatoes are no longer permitted in the United States, and while there are trials being done on bananas, they are not available in the U.S. either. 

Image Source: Kelly/Flickr

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21 comments on “9 Healthy Foods You’re Eating That Probably Contain GMOs”

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Jill Higgs-Boson
4 Years Ago

i'm fine eating gmo food

Vaness Louise
4 Years Ago

Amanda Simmons check this out

Candice Urban
4 Years Ago

Laura Baker these peer reviewed studies you cited were done over a decade ago and the "potential risks" have yet to manifest. Meanwhile those spreading unsubstantiated fears are making every bit as much money as the biotech companies. By all means people should support their local growers, buy a tomato plant at the Home Depot and grow it on your patio if they choose to, but the vilification of these companies through the years with a complete lack of compelling evidence of a true risk is getting old.

Meghan Van Vliet
4 Years Ago

Wow, I'm actually surprised by a couple of these! Time to start re-evaluating some of the foods I've been buying. Again.

Charles BigBear Miller
4 Years Ago

I agree on Non GMO Project. I just dont like the idea of the widely use term organic. My hydroponic nutrients are all natural and purely refined to make it fully accessable for my plants. But it cannot be labeled organic in the US because the minerals have been refined. But in Sweden were it is made it is labeled as organic because no toxic chemicals were used in the refinement of the minerals.

Charles BigBear Miller
4 Years Ago

Ill say it because it needs to be said- Organic is just a label if your buying at a store. The USDA and FDA do not check seed stock of every Organic plant. The only way to avoid GMO is to buy local from a known source. And btw most gmo cereal grains are for livestock feeds.

Laura Baker
13 Apr 2014

Non-GMO project is great for any shelved food items. They go through a lot of hoops to receive their certification. Just look for the little orange butterfly icon/label on the box.

Laura Baker
4 Years Ago

Marsha: I have read countless studies in peer reviewed scientific journals which state there is a very real potential for harm. And The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has stated that, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation as defined by Hill's Criteria in the areas of strength of association, consistency, specificity, biological gradient, and biological plausibility” (Dean and Armstrong 2009). One of the biggest problems is glyphosate, round up herbicide. It is taken up by the plants, and can't be washed off. It has been linked to several very serious health problems. The precautionary principle is the best one to follow- why wait for more evidence of harm or the dots to be connected, when we can simply opt out of this giant experiment all together?

Geni Barnes-Walton
4 Years Ago

Mumm's Sprouts are all gmo free for what its worth. (sprouting.com)

Marsha Stanton
4 Years Ago

Helpful article to avoid GMOs, but according to numerous studies and reviews, they pose no health risk. Recommend a website - GMO answers - has general information and opportunity to ask questions.

Geni Barnes-Walton
13 Apr 2014

This is a propaganda website! This is what the website says about the sponsorship: "Some are impressed by propaganda! GMO Answers is funded by the members of The Council for Biotechnology Information, which includes BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta. Our members are dedicated to the responsible development and application of plant biotechnology."

Carson Winkler
4 Years Ago



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