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October is Non-GMO Month – What Are GMOs and Why Should You Care?

This October marks the third annual Non-GMO Month, which comes at a crucial time as legislation on GMO food labeling will be voted on this November. We hear about Non-GMOs and supporting Non-GMOs all the time, but here’s a quick recap to remind you what a GMO is and why you should be concerned.

What is GMO? A GMO, or a genetically engineered food, is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA altered in a lab to enhance desired characteristics with genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria.

Are GMOs safe?

In 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs, because they are not considered proven safe. In the U.S. on the other hand, the FDA approved commercial production of GMOs based on studies conducted by the companies who created them and profit from their sale.

How common are GMOs?

According to the USDA, in 2011, 94% of soy, 90% of cotton, and 88% of corn and 90% of canola grown in the U.S. contained GMO’s. In addition, sugar beet, varieties of squash and Hawaiian Papaya contain high levels of GMO’s. As a result, it is estimated that GMOs are now present in more than 80% of packaged products in the average U.S. grocery store.

Why should you be concerned?

Peer reviewed scientific studies have linked GMOs to allergies, organ toxicity and other health problems. Environmental issues have also been linked to genetic engineering, such as biodiversity loss, an increase in pesticide use, emergence of super weeds and unintentional contamination of non-GMO crops.

What can you do about it?

1. Purchase products from companies that have carry the Non-GMO Project Seal. Products that just say “GMO free” do not guarantee that they don’t contain GMOs. All of our products at purely elizabeth are Non-GMO Project Verified and it’s our mission to continue to provide clean, natural foods with clean ingredients!

2. If not labeled organic or Non-GMO Project Verified, avoid products that contain Corn, Soybeans, Cottonseed, Hawaiian Papaya, Sugar Beets, some varieties of Squash and Canola Oil.

4. Support California’s GM food labeling initiative, Proposition 37 (The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act), which will be voted on this November. The proposition calls for packaged food companies to label all foods containing GMOs by January of 2014. www.carighttoknow.org.

Source: Non-GMO Project www.nongmoproject.org.

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