More than 50 countries, including Australia, Japan, and those that comprise the European Union, believe that GMOs are unsafe for public consumption, having either restrictions or bans on their production and marketing. However, America, the largest grower of commercial GMO crops, does not require labeling and is surprisingly lenient with the testing and regulation of them.
The policy for the testing of GM crops is done through voluntary self-regulation, meaning that it is up to the corporation to prove the safety of their crops to the FDA. The FDA itself does not conduct safety testing on new GM foods, and once they have decided that a corporation has provided sufficient evidence, the process is over. There are no follow-ups after a period of time to revisit safety aspects and no required third party testing. Furthermore, since the companies themselves provide this research, the results have the potential of being biased. Therefore, these regulations seem to have no role other than relieving the FDA of all responsibility, since they rely on the corporations to do all the testing, and if these products are later found to be unsafe, it is the corporations that would be held liable.
A larger problem with the FDA’s policy is the influence of the unscientific idea of “substantial equivalence” over the research, or rather lack of research, conducted on GM crops. Substantial equivalence is the idea that if the fundamental components of a GM crop, such as its amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrate, is similar to its non-GM counterpart, then they can be considered “substantially equivalent” and no further testing on GMO’s safety is required. However, substantial equivalence is a very subjective measurement, and many differences among GM and non-GM crops are disregarded as “biologically irrelevant.” Furthermore, independent testing of substantial equivalence claims have shown significant differences in the nutrients, vitamins, and protein compositions of GM crops such as soy, canola, corn, and rice.
With such questionable testing and regulation, Americans deserve to know which foods contain these crops. However, the FDA does not require labeling because they believe it would imply that there are negative health effects associated with GMOs, and since they claim that there is no research showing significant differences between GM and non-GM crops, labels are deemed unnecessary. The non-profit, Non-GMO Project, who believes you have the right to know, has compiled a list of brands and products that they have verified as containing no more than 0.9% GMOs. Click here to browse the list.
Now, what can you do when a craving for sweets hits? Most sweets found in supermarkets contain GMO products, not only in the form of corn and soy, but also in ingredients such as aspartame, ascorbic acid, vitamin C, citric acid, sodium citrate, natural and artificial flavoring, high fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, maltodextrins, monosodium glutamate, sucrose, textured vegetable protein, xanthan gum, vitamins, yeast products, and many more. But there is no need to worry. Below is a list of 10 GMO-free sweet treats to help satisfy that sweet tooth.
1. Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks
Annie’s fruit snacks are organic and free of artificial flavors, synthetic colors, and preservatives. They are made with natural flavors, contain 100% of your recommended daily value of vitamin C, and are both gluten and fat free. Their fruit snack flavors include tropical treat, berry patch, sunny citrus, summer strawberry, grapes galore, and pink lemonade.