Trying to eat more healthy foods? Great work! But watch out—many foods marketed as health foods are full of genetically engineered ingredients. To break down the jargon, GE stands for genetically engineered and GMO stands for genetically modified organism, but they mean the same thing. Why are we concerned about GE ingredients and GMO crops? Read about the issues here.
We rounded up nine products that you’d probably think are GMO-free, but aren’t, unless they’re labelled as such by the Non-GMO Project or certified USDA Organic (which can’t contain GMOs by law).
- Yogurt. Though dairy cows are not genetically engineered, their soy- or corn-based feed could be. The recombinant bovine growth hormone (known to the public as rBGH or rBST) helps dairy cows grow and produce more milk, but the hormone itself is genetically engineered.
- Salad Dressing. If you’re committed to organic greens, don’t pour GMOs over them. Dressings are filled with corn, soy, and canola oil, which are all GE in the US if not certified organic.
- Granola bars. As natural and healthy as they may seem, granola and other bars probably has GE soy, corn, or sugar if it’s not labelled otherwise.
- Veggie burgers. Yes, eating less meat is good for the planet and good for your health. But soy grown in the US is largely GE.
- Yellow Squash & Zucchini. One of your favorite summer vegetables is probably GMO unless you’re buying in the organic section.
- Low-sugar foods that use the sweetener aspartame. Monsanto, the bio-engineering giant, created aspartame from genetically engineered bacteria. Foods that contain aspartame include many products marked low-sugar, sugar-free, and diet, including soda, ice cream, syrups, cookies, vitamins, and more.
- Protein shakes. Your post-workout snack probably uses soy or whey (a dairy byproduct) and again, unless it’s marked organic, those products are probably GMO.
- Margarine. It’s made with canola and other vegetable oils. Look for organic butter instead.
- Whole wheat breads. Look at the ingredients list and you will see they are laden with high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil and soy flour.
Want to know more about food and what labels mean (and don’t mean)? Get our ABCs of food labels guide!