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 and resist certain diseases.

GMO WHERE = In North America, nine commercial crops are grown using GMO seed and 70% of packaged foods contain GMOs.

GMO Crops in the U.S.

These are the commercial crops grown in the U.S. from GMO seed:

  • Sugar Beets
  • Soy
  • Canola
  • Cotton
  • Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Crookneck Squash
  • Alfalfa
  • Hawaiian Papaya

The 5 most prevalent GMO crops in the US are canola, corn, sugar beets, cotton and soy.

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.