Wednesday, October 26, 2016


"It's not about feeding the world.  It's not about the blind will see and the lame will walk.  It's about chemical companies selling chemicals."
                                                      --Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety and author of Your Right to Know

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Foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) pose risks to our health, our families, and our environment.  Every October, Non-GMO Month gives us an opportunity to raise awareness about these risks and about why protecting consumer choices is so important.  Do we have a right to know what is (or is not) in our food?  Yes!  Do we have a right to choose non-GMO?  Yes!

When I shop for food, I look for “non-GMO” or “GMO-free”.  My research in cancer epidemiology has motivated me to make these choices when buying food for my family and for Growing Healthy Kids’ healthy cooking workshops.  My work with people with disabilities such as autism has given me another reason to take a closer look at what this genetic engineering to our seed supply is doing to the health of America's children.  

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What are genetically modified organisms or GMOs?  They are the result of a laboratory process that inserts genes from one species into the genes of another to obtain a desired trait or characteristic (an example is fast-growing salmon). 

Are there health risks to eating GMO foods?  It is highly likely that there are. Jeffrey M. Smith is the author of Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives and founding executive director of The Institute for Responsible Technology, a leading source of GMO health risk information.  Mr. Smith suggests that several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.

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Most grains are GMO-free.

Here are 7 tips to say good-bye to GMOs:
  1. Go organic.  The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs.  Plus organic foods have fewer or no pesticides, herbicides and fungicides and have higher nutritional value. 
  2. Load up on vegetables and fruits.  Most fresh produce is non-GMO.  Make half your plate vegetables and fruit. 
  3. Look for the non-GMO-verified seal.  Since GMOs require no labeling, this seal is one of the best ways to tell when foods are free of genetic modification.  Remember, most companies don’t want you to know they are using foods that have GMOs.
  4. Beware of additives.  The 5 most common GMOs – corn, canola, soy, cotton, and sugar beets – often end up as additives.  Read food labels.
  5. Choose wild-caught salmon.  Most farm-raised fish are fed GMO feed.
  6. Focus on fiber.  Most grains, seeds, nuts and beans are non-GMO.
  7. Avoid aspartame.  This ingredient in diet sodas and low-calorie foods is sometimes made from GMO microorganisms. 
For more information about non-GMOs, go to or click here.  For some delicious GMO-free recipes, go to or click here.

One last note about why consumers need choices about choosing non-GMO foods:  five agrichemical companies - Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, and Bayer - control 62% of world seed sales.  If you have a vegetable garden at home, I recommend that you purchase seeds from companies like High Mowing Seeds that provide 100% certified organic and non-GMO verified seeds.  For more information about High Mowing Seeds, click here.

In gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.