GMO Quick Facts: What, Why, Where

GMO = Genetically Modified Organism = Product of Genetic Engineering

GMO WHAT = Organisms whose genetic make up (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.

GMO WHY = Crops are currently modified to survive herbicide treatment, produce their own pesticides, resist certain diseases and slow oxidation of product.

GMO WHERE = Eleven commercial crops in the U.S. are grown using GMO seed, more than 70% of packaged foods in North America contain GMOs and GMO farmed salmon has been approved for sale in the U.S. and Canada.

GMO Crops

These eleven crops are the only commercial crops grown from GMO seed:

  • Sugar beets
  • Soy
  • Canola
  • Cotton
  • Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow summer squash
  • Alfalfa
  • Papaya
  • Apples (Arctic brand only)
  • Potatoes

GMOs in Packaged Foods

GMO crops end up in a wide variety of packaged foods via food additives – flavoring agents, nutritional supplementation, thickeners and pH regulators – or as specific ingredients:

  • Corn – corn syrup and corn starch
  • Soy – hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Canola – canola oil
  • Sugar beets – processed sugar
  • Cotton – cottonseed oil

GMO Products

Any of these foods could contain GMO ingredients if they are not organic or 3rd-party verified as non-GMO:

Ketchup, chewing gum, cooking oil, soda, baking extracts, pickles, brown sugar, salad dressing, fruit juices, yogurt, can soups, pasta sauce, bread, mayonnaise, sugar, infant formula, cereal, hamburgers and hotdogs, margarine, crackers, cookies, chocolate, candy, fried food, chips, veggie burgers, meat substitutes, ice cream, frozen yogurt, soy sauce, soy cheese, tomato sauce, protein powder, baking powder, alcohol, vanilla, powdered sugar, peanut butter, enriched flour and pasta.

GMOs in Meat, Fish, Eggs and Dairy Products

Animal feed can be a source of GMOs also. What did that cow, chicken or pig eat? Any of these could be from animals fed GMO feed if not organic or third party verified as non-GMO:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Meat (chicken, pork, beef)
  • Eggs
  • Farmed fish

How to Shop to Avoid GMOs

Labels are not required, and we’re all about informed choice, so here are our best tips for how to shop if you're avoiding GMO products.