Avoiding Gentically Modified Food

It’s the beginning of June and finally time to plant the garden!  This year all my edible seeds came from reputable businesses selling only heirloom and organic seeds.  While I may have paid a bit more for organic, heirloom varieties I feel the money was well spent.  When I consider that a packet of seed cost me less than $3.00 and should I have bought the same amount of food in the stores my seeds will produce I am way ahead financially and health wise.

Lettuce is ready and was part of my dinner today

Lettuce is ready and was part of my dinner today

I did a bit of research to find out which foods in my supermarket could be genetically modified and was horrified by some of the foods now on that list.  You still have time to purchase organic seeds/starts if one of your favorite foods is on this list.

  • Rapeseed: this is where Canola oil comes from
  • Honey:  This one was a complete surprise but it makes sense. If a bee collects nectar from a genetically modified plant the honey will be contaminated.  This process has shut down exports of Canadian honey after bees were in contact with GM rapeseed crops.
  • Rice:  Rice is about to be grown containing human genes. Now we are expected to be cannibals?  We are told this won’t end up on our plates but instead be used for treating infant diarrhea in the developing world. I guess what they should have said is it won’t end up on a plate in the first world.  Hmm how long before it contaminates other rice varieties.
  • Soybean:  Any food listing soy products, soy flour, soy lecithin, even tofu can be genetically modified.
  • Tomatoes:  Tomatoes are genetically modified to prevent rot and give a longer shelf life.
  • Corn: used in processed foods, as a sweetener such as High fructose corn syrup, may be found in fried foods, baked goods, confectionery, soda and other sugary drinks
  • Sweet Corn: Over half the sweet corn crops in the US were genetically modified and while we were told this would be fed to animals (not humans) but it comes down to us through the food chain.
  • Potatoes:  Several varieties of potatoes being sold have been genetically modified.  In addition snack foods such as potato chips can be from these crops.
  • Flax:  As a vegetarian and part-time vegan I have used flax seeds for my omega-3s, but this is another crop that has been taken over by the corporations and modified.  Seeds and oils should be suspect
  • Papaya:  three-fourths of the Hawaiian Papaya crops are now genetically modified.
  • Yellow Crookneck Squash and Zucchini: These crops are not wide spread, and I have no idea why these were deemed necessary to modify as any one who has planted a zucchini plant will tell you they produce well without pesticides.
  • Peas:  Genetically modified peas were shown to interfere with the immune responses in mice.  Again this is a pretty easy plant to grow.
  • Vegetable Oils and Margarine:  Specifically those used in restaurants and processed foods come from GM crops unless they are clearly marked as not containing GM oils.
  • Sugarbeets: You may find this in any processed foods containing sugar.
  • Dairy Products:  Most people don’t realize that rbGH a growth hormone is genetically modified and was one of the first experiments on our food supply.  Close to one fourth of all cows in the US are injected with rbGH.  Foods affected are cheese, milk, and yogurt.
  • Vitamins: Vitamin C is made from corn, Vitamin E from soy, and Vitamins A, B2, B6,B12, D, and K  could also come from GM crops.

The above list was the most comprehensive I found online, but having heard about other foods I did individual searches and turned up more foods such as this article from 2011 on broccolialfalfa was mentioned in this article, tomato, brinjal, and cauliflower were all mentioned as coming soon in this one.  Seven more fruits and vegetables were named in this post.

Peas are coming along nicely.

Peas are coming along nicely.

Once you start digging you find that biotech industries have their hands all over our foods.  Once we get beyond the Genetically Modified foods we then have to look for the foods with the worst pesticides which is such a long list I’ll probably do a follow up rather than include it here.

Taking all these factors into consideration I planned my garden this year to grow crops I know have been modified or heavily sprayed and you can too.  Start with something you enjoy eating. Maybe it’s tomato products such as spaghetti sauce and ketchup ( a biggie for children).  Even if you don’t have a large plot of land tomatoes do well in pots and can be set on a porch or patio.

The first batch of tomato plants were transplanted earlier today. The seeds are from Stacy at Down to Earth Digs.

The first batch of tomato plants were transplanted earlier today. The seeds are from Staecy at Down to Earth Digs.  I have red romaine seeds planted down the center of this section.

Start saving seeds.  Buy one or two organic vegetables from the store and save the seeds.  Green peppers are a good example. Cut open a pepper and you can find hundreds of tiny seeds inside.  I’ve also saved the pits from organic Bing Cherries and am attempting to grow them this year as well.  It will take a few years for them to mature but it is cheaper than buying a cherry tree.

There are some plants which will not grow in your local area, for example I live too far north to plant citrus or tropical fruits.  But by growing a garden and savings seeds each year I can expand the variety from year to year and have money set aside to buy organic varieties of fruit and vegetables I can’t grow.

Thursday I will share another reason for purchasing heirloom varieties.

What was the first edible plant you started with? What determines what you grow is it the issue of pesticides, genetic modification or something else?



31 thoughts on “Avoiding Gentically Modified Food

  1. Lois this is a great list.. and shows just how many foods have been infiltrated.. Its scary when you think about it… And often we are unaware of what contains GMO … at least now good news in some areas on the label front..
    I can only hope as awareness grows… People will not buy produce.. but then so so much of it is already in the food chain… and so many people are still not aware of the dangers..

    Thank you for highlighting again this very important issue Lois..
    Love and Hugs Sue


    • Sue, it’s shocking isn’t it? I think the one that bothered me the most was the rice with human genomes added to feed to ill children in the developing world. They have so little it’s not like they have much choice in foods available.

      Awareness is growing, states here are looking for ways to fight for labeling and pay for the litigation when sued. If Vermont wins five other states already have legislation that says they will require labels when another state does so they will quickly follow suit, hopefully soon.


    • Sorry Marlene. ;-( There is a new powder that you can drink that is supposed to have all the nutrients our bodies need in it and it was aptly named Soylent after the movie Soylent Green. Hmm wonder where they source their ingredients from.


      • No worries Lois. I get the same information from my son and just stop reading it. My diet is very limited and I don’t eat most of what’s on those lists. I get what they are doing but choose not to bombard myself with negative information anymore. My nervous system can’t handle it. Guess I’ll just keep reading good news Monday. And what new things you create. There is a physics principle that what you focus on increases. I’m heading for Pollyannaville. Once I get my yard and can garden, I get a bit more control over my life. You do good work by informing those that aren’t aware. You have a good heart and that’s what matters.


        • Ah, thank you Marlene. It is true that what we focus on will affect how we react. I like your Pollyannnaville but for me I like to keep abreast of these things that can affect me and then find a solution I am comfortable with.

          A few years ago I found myself reacting to something, it turned out it was Nutrasweet but I didn’t know why until I did the research.

          I look forward to meeting you over some good news on Mondays.


          • I agree that awareness is important. Stopped using artificial sweeteners a few years ago as well. I just have to reduce the amount of input or I’d give up entirely. My nervous system is pretty shot so I just take things in small doses. I think I’m especially frayed lately.


          • I understand, I do get overwhelmed with so much in the news which is why I rarely ever miss a Good News Monday post, every good story I hear helps to offset the rest.


  2. Unless one can afford certified organic food, it is very difficult to avoid GMO food where I live. I do grow as much as I can, buy heirloom seeds and plants, and try to save the seeds I can. I’m blown away by the fact that human genes are present in rice. It’s hard not to get discouraged.


    • Cynthia, I get just as discouraged as you do who would have thought they would be splicing human genes into our food. Until the farmers’ market opens my diet will be very restrictive to avoid the GM foods, it gets a bit boring but I am watching the garden coming to life and know it won’t be much longer before I can add more variety back in. I sure hope you find a place to buy organic foods soon.


  3. Hi Lois and thanks for sharing that GM food list with us.

    This month I am doing all vegetarian and so plant based foods are high on my grocery list. There is a farmers market relatively close by and I’ll be dropping by there for some organic produce.

    I have yet to grow anything but it seems like this would be the mart thing to do since it is really hard to trust the food industry…no matter how much they “share our interests!”

    Thanks again for the insight and take care. My best to all.



    • Hi Lyle, I don’t trust the food industry’s “sharing our interests” either. Good luck with your vegetarian month, good time to try as local produce should be coming in season at the right time for you. Our farmers’ market won’t be open for another few weeks, I can’t wait.


  4. I grow all my plants from the seeds inside, tomatoes, chillies, capsicums, guava, acerola, orange, pumkin; The only seeds I have bought were curley parsley. Things like mint or ginger, I find a root or knob in the supermarkat and plant.



    • AV, I love the posts where you show the containers you have collected to grow your cuttings/seeds in. So many of the foods I want to eat when found in the stores are not organic which I won’t bother to buy or want to plant so I was needed to buy lots of seeds.


  5. We generally aim for heritage seeds if buying from a nursery and let plants go to seed to self sow or collect BUT we also often buy from an elderly man at a market in town who has beautiful plants, we have never thought to ask about breeding or origin.
    This is an extremely well compiled list you have here!


    • Wendy, I don’t ask too many questions about the foods I buy at the farmers’ markets other than if pesticides were used. Most plants I try to start from seed just because they are cheaper that way. But I’d support the elderly man, good for him to find a niche that works for him.


      • Yes, we are the same. I feel sometimes I’d be putting myself down a rabbit hole if I started questioning too much but resent so much interference with our food and having to be thinking about all the “What If’s” and “Buts”. It’s just so wrong.


        • I have no idea how to make a stand, politically speaking, on the issue of the GMOs. I’ve signed petitions and of course plant my own garden but what can one person do up against Monsanto and the other corporations?


  6. I first started gardening back in the 70’s when my children were babes – I started because I wanted my kids to have the best possible start and organically grown food was part of it. I have never forgotten the pleasure and pride I took in gathering my dinner ingredients from the garden and serving them up to my family within the hour

    Now its just me and a couple of carnivore animals and no garden – but I grow in pots and tubs and am slowly expanding. I grow salady things because that is what I have room for and it’s what I like to eat. I’m planning to go vertical next spring!

    I did not know about tomatoes – but am not really surprised to hear that it is so. If it is happening in your country it won’t be far off happening here if it isn’t already!

    This is another great post Lois! So glad you found me :-)


    • Pauline, I can only hope the protests going on will put an end to GM foods before it spreads to every other country. To think my country may go down in history as the country that ruined the food supply isn’t how I want to see it written.

      I didn’t have much of a garden when my boys were little, we had strawberries and cucumbers, things like that but I did bulk shopping and made all our food from scratch which shocked their friends.

      In the winter months I grow salad greens in my window because it’s easy and because I don’t have a refrigerator. This way I always have access to the freshest veggies possible in the months the gardens are buried and dormant.


  7. oh..re your lettuce, leave a number of plants go to seed. in the fall knock the seed off into the lettuce patch. next spring, you will have new lettuce growing.

    few yrs back, I bought the heirloom lettuce seed, and have had lettuce come up every year since.


  8. wow…
    where did you find info on tomatoes? I have suspected such, but couldn’t find info.

    ” Rice is about to be grown containing human genes”
    beyond gross…


    • Lynn, if you follow the link before the list of foods you can read the entire article which includes tomatoes.

      Isn’t that gross to think they are splicing in human genes to our foods? It’s rice today but which food will they practice on next.


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