Green Scene Blog: GMO free groceries

Hi folks. Local author and dietician Wendy Vigdor-Hess has been writing in this space about the dilemma of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This post gets to the nitty-gritty: what you can do to keep GMOs off your plate. Take it away, Wendy…

Having no guarantee that foods are free of GMOs without federally mandated labeling, we can still make educated choices based on what we know now. Here are some other labels I look for when choosing for our family:

• Organic. USDA organic standards prohibit the use of GMOs (though some loopholes may be present. Some researchers have found additives and other ingredients that are synthetic and out of integrity with the standards).
• Made with organic ingredients
• Non-GMO
• No rBGH or rBST
• Artificial hormone-free
• Non-GMO project certified

What else can we do? Here are some steps you can take:

• Focus on eating fresh, organic, no spray fruits and vegetables (Remember, processed foods contain GMOs in higher quantities).
• Sign petitions to label GMOs in our food. Start here.
• Spend your money on less processed foods; perhaps spend a little extra on those items labeled non-GMO project certified. This will limit the amount of processed foods you purchase, which is ultimately a win-win for your budget and your health.
• Choose “wild” fish versus “farm raised” fish.
• Call companies that make your favorite products and ask them if they participate in the non-GMO project. If not, why not? Are they willing to?
• Begin by eating only organic of the most GMO foods such as soy, corn, canola (rapeseed), sugar beets, alfalfa, Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini and yellow crookneck squash. Transition with one of these and then add more.
• Avoid artificial sweeteners. In addition to other non-green attributes, these sweeteners often contain genetically modified E. coli.
• Support your local CSAs that are GMO-free.
• Grow a garden of your own. Connect with friends who do the same and plant different foods and share your crops with each other. If you have less time, offer to plant some herbs while other more avid gardener friends plant the vegetables and help them tend their gardens, or purchase supplies or seeds.
• Choose eggs that are 100 percent organic (rather than saying only “cage free” or “free-range,” etc.) Perhaps your friends may have chickens laying “happy and healthy eggs.”
• Choose animal products (meat, poultry, dairy, etc.) that are fed organic feed.
• Check out the non-GMO Shopping Guide by

As an integrative dietitian, consumer and parent, I have experienced a range of emotions regarding this topic–from anger and rage to disbelief, sadness, overwhelm and hopelessness. My faith is restored through my passion for healing our amazing earth and finding the truth in our surroundings and ourselves. These practices are happening for us to look at rather than turn away. Amidst our busy lives, addressing these concerns in our own homes can ultimately simplify our lives and leave more time for what is really important to us.

With each of us choosing differently, we CAN make an impact.

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