(Market News, January 2000, pp. 48,49 -- adapted) Quoted
You are eating genetically engineered food. Is it good for you? Do you have a choice? Genetically engineering is the largest food experiment in the history of the world. We are all the guinea pigs. Sixty to seventy percent of the foods on your grocery shelves contain genetically engineered (GE) components. The FDA estimates that within the next few years 150 new genetically engineered foods will be approved for sale. Genetically engineered foods contain substances that have never been a part of the human food supply. They are not subjected to rigorous pre-market safety testing. And they are not labeled.
Is genetic engineering safe for you and your family? Safe for the environment? Safe for the future of mankind? No long-term studies have been done. No one can answer these questions.
If you really want to avoid the influence of genetic engineering, buy simple organic foods. If you want to buy processed foods and avoid genetically engineered ingredients, you will have to read product labels. If the label mentions any of the ingredients listed below without explicitly qualifying it as organic, then the product probably contains genetically engineered ingredients.
Primary Suspects: Ingredients and Products to Check
Soybeans: Soy flour, soy oil, lecithin, soy protein isolates, and concentrates. Products that may contain genetically engineered soy derivatives: vitamin E, tofu dogs, cereal, veggie burgers and sausages, tamari, soy sauce, chips, ice cream, frozen yogurt, infant formula, sauces, protein powder, margarine, soy cheeses, crackers, breads, cookies, chocolates, candies, fried foods, shampoo, bubble baths, cosmetics, enriched flours, and pastas.
Corn: Corn flour, cornstarch, corn oil, corn sweeteners, syrups. Products that may contain genetically engineered corn derivatives: vitamin C, tofu dogs, chips, candies, ice cream, infant formula, salad dressing, tomato sauces, breads, cookies, cereals, baking powder, alcohol, vanilla, margarine, soy sauce, tamari, soda, fried foods, powdered sugar, enriched flours, and pastas.
Canola: Oil. Products that may contain genetically engineered canola derivatives: chips, salad dressings, cookies, margarine, soaps, detergents, soy cheeses, and fried foods.
Cotton: Oil, fabric. Products that may contain genetically engineered cotton or its derivatives: clothes, linens, chips, peanut butter, crackers, and cookies.
Potatoes: Right now the only potato that has been genetically engineered is the Burbank Russet, but you still have to look out for potato starch and flour. Products that may contain genetically engineered potatoes or derivatives unspecified processed or restaurant potato products (fries, mashed, baked, mixes, etc.), chips, Passover products, vegetable pies, and soups.
Tomatoes: No plum or roma tomatoes have been genetically engineered. But one cherry tomato has, as have regular tomatoes. Products that may contain genetically engineered tomatoes or derivatives: sauces, purees, pizza, lasagna, and all of those wonderful Italian and Mexican foods.
Dairy Products: Milk, cheese, butter, buttermilk, sourcream, yogurt, and whey.
Animal Products: Because animals feed often contains genetically engineered organisms, all animal products, or by-products may be affected.
Mothers for Natural Law has spent the last three years working with the food industry to find out what the industry knows and feels about genetic engineering. In response to their initial inquiries it was clear that the natural products industry was eager for more information and that the mainstream industry was comfortable with the FDA position on the issue.
One of the biggest challenges natural products manufacturers face is how to keep their products non-GE. To solve this problem, Mothers for Natural Law hired two staff members to search the globe for non-GE ingredients. The database is available for any interested manufacturer.