GMOs and Your Family

Make informed choices about what your family is eating

Photo Credit: Lindsay Stradtner

One of the most common concerns about the prevalence of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in North America is whether they are safe for our children and families to be eating.

Are my kids eating genetically engineered food?

The sad truth is many of the foods that are most popular with children contain GMOs. Cereals, snack bars, snack boxes, cookies, processed lunch meats, and crackers all contain large amounts of high risk food ingredients. In North America, over 80% of our food contains GMOs.  If you are not buying foods that are Non-GMO Project Verified, most likely GMOs are present at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

What if I only buy organic?

Shopping organic is one of the best steps you can take towards ensuring that your family eats the healthiest foods possible. Learn more about all of the benefits of Certified Organic here. According to the Organic Trade Association, “The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is prohibited in organic products. This means an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer can’t use any GMO ingredients. To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs, and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table.” The rigorous requirements of the National Organic Program help to prevent GMO contamination of organic foods through a process-based approach, which includes testing when GMO contamination is suspected.

The Non-GMO Project builds upon these measures by ensuring that all major GMO risk ingredients are tested prior to use in a Verified product, as we believe that ongoing testing is critical to identifying and eliminating GMO contamination. Choosing products that are Certified Organic AND Non-GMO Project Verified is the best way to make sure you are getting the safest, healthiest, highest-quality food for your family. The Non-GMO Project also verifies conventional foods because we want to take all necessary steps to help protect and build our non-GMO food supply for future generations. We also believe that all consumers, whether they purchase organic or conventional foods, deserve transparency and have a right to choose whether they want to consume GMOs.

What are the most common GMOs?

The most common GMOs are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, and squash (zucchini  and yellow). Many of these items appear as added ingredients in a large amount of the foods we eat. For instance, your family may not eat tofu or drink soy milk, but soy is most likely present in a large percentage of the foods in your pantry.

GMOs may be hidden in common processed food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

I am overwhelmed by the prospect of changing our diet, where should I begin?

Take a step by step approach. For instance, many parents find it is useful to begin with looking at what their family is eating for breakfast.

There are many resources available to help you find non-GMO choices:

Social media can also be a great tool to find out about newly verified products and other people working to keep GMOs out of their home. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to connect with others who are committed to eating non-GMO.