We Have a Right to Know about GMO’s!

Guest Contributor: Ashley Shamus from Global Looking Glass

Although California’s proposition 37, the right to label genetically modified foods (GMO’s), did not pass in this past election, it is easy to see that the dedicated supporters are not giving up the fight or losing momentum raising awareness on the issue.

Genetic modification is a relatively new method of food production which involves cross breeding; the process of inserting genes into plant cells in order to retrieve a specific, desired trait. This gives the scientist the ability to combine species that were otherwise unrelated; essentially, scientists are conducting lab experiments on the masses. For example, in the United States, nearly all of the soybeans planted are modified to be resistant to an herbicide, killing the weeds, allowing the plant to thrive and grow. The soybean is then processed and used in many food items. Studies conducted on the consumption of genetically modified soybeans indicate that there is potential for liver toxicity, infertility and an increase of infant mortality. Herbicides used in GM production contribute to an increased rate of certain types of cancers, and disrupt the endocrine system. Eating foods containing genetically modified organisms are also linked to higher incidences of obesity, and can increase the risk of obtaining food allergies. The pesticide known as bt-toxin is injected into GM corn which, when ingested, causes the stomachs of insects to rupture, killing them, while saving the plant. We are ingesting this toxic pesticide through the food we eat without in-depth studies having ever been conducted on the negative effects of consuming GMO’s. Why are we allowing ingredients that have the potential to be toxic incorporated into foods we eat every day?

Shockingly, around 75% of processed food contains genetically modified ingredients including products sold at top natural grocers, such as Whole Foods. Walk down any aisle of a grocery store. Do you immediately take notice to the bright, colorful, eye catching labels on the packaging of food? What if the words on the front of the package proudly assert the food is free from artificial ingredients, preservatives, and contains a days’ worth of whole grain. Does that mean the food is healthy and free from harmful ingredients? Unfortunately, genetically modified organisms are found in foods that many plant based, health conscious individuals are eating.

Take this box of granola bars, for example. The packaging clearly boasts that they are 100% natural. But if you take a look at the back of the box, you see a mélange of ingredients that could be genetically modified. Without the right to label GMO’s, we are taking a risk when we purchase products that are not 100% certified organic.

Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Peanut Butter (Peanuts, Salt), Crisp Rice With Soy Protein (Rice Flour, Soy Protein Concentrate, Sugar, Malt, Salt), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Brown Sugar Syrup, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda, Almond Flour, Hazelnut Flour, Walnut Flour, Pecan Flour.

*Bolded ingredients could be genetically modified.

How do I avoid genetically modified foods?
 Misleading labels are everywhere, including products labeled as ‘all natural and 100% natural’. Currently, the FDA does not have a concrete definition for the term natural, which gives flexibility to manufacturers looking to market their merchandise. Loosely labeling products is a marketing tactic that fools consumers into thinking they are purchasing a healthy product when, in reality, isn’t so.

The only way to avoid buying GMO products is to purchase 100% organic; purchasing organic not only ensures that you are consuming no genetically engineered ingredients, but is also a great way to vote with your wallet and support the companies who strive to provide consumers with a quality product.

Most importantly, read the labels and become familiar with the foods you are purchasing. If you are skeptical of an ingredient, do your research. Big food companies are ruthlessly adding harmful ingredients to foods we feed ourselves and family. Unfortunately, this comes at a high cost to consumers as we are not yet not aware of every negative effect that occurs as a result of ingesting genetically modified foods.

For more information and the latest news on GMO’s, visit

Ashley has also compiled this helpful list of 10 Popular Vegan Ingredients that, if not organic, may be genetically engineered.

Ashley Shamus is a contributor to Global Looking Glass, a globally recognized magazine devoted to raising awareness on worldwide topics such as veganism, animal rights, human rights and environmental issues. Ashley strives each and every day to live the most sustainable vegan life possible. Her biggest joy is being able to practice and preach her self-taught knowledge on the importance of living and eating with nature in mind.



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