GMOs Have Got to Go: 10 Ways to Avoid Them

The thought of going GMO-free might seem daunting — especially if you have unanswered questions. Is it expensive? Are GMO-free foods hard to find? Is it even worth all the hype? Genetically modified organisms are those that have been altered by genes from other plants, animals, viruses or bacteria to produce some sort of desired result.


For GMO crops, this often means engineering, aka GE , them to become resistant to insects or tolerant to herbicides. GMO foods have been linked to serious health issues, including tumors, premature death, organ failure, kidney and liver damage and allergic reactions, among others.

GMOs aren’t just harmful to your health — they also wreak havoc on the environment. Genetic engineering destroys the microbial health of soil, pollutes waterways with dangerous pesticides and puts the health of animals at risk. GMO ingredients are found in more than 70 percent of processed foods, making them hard to avoid. But by switching to whole foods and avoiding processed foods as much as possible, you can drastically reduce the amount of GMOs in your diet. Here’s how:

  1. Look for a verified label from the non-GMO project. This is the only label that guarantees food is 100 percent non-GMO. Even the USDA Certified Organic symbol doesn’t cut it. The National Organics Standards Board responsible for the certification allows up to 5 percent by weight of remaining ingredients, which leaves a small percentage is open for GMO contamination.
  2. Only buy meat labeled 100 percent organic and grass fed. Better yet – buy meat from a local farmer who is committed to producing organic and non-GMO crops.
  3. When buying dairy products, make sure they’re 100 percent organic and grass fed. Also make sure your dairy is free of rBGH — a Monsanto genetically-engineered growth hormone that forces cows to artificially increase their milk production.
  4. When buying fish and other seafood, avoid anything labeled farm-raised. These fish are most likely fed GMO meal. The most common offenders include salmon, trout, carp, cod, turbot, halibut, shrimp and tilapia. Stick to wild-caught seafood.
  5. Avoid packaged and processed foods and beverages as much as possible.
  6. Comprise your diet of organic, fresh foods like fruits and vegetables.
  7. Be extra careful when buying top GMO foods, which include: corn, soybeans, alfalfa, sugar beets, canola, squash, zucchini and papayas.
  8. Avoid conventional products that contain sugar. Almost all sugar in the U.S. is derived from GMO sugar beets. Remember that sugar is often called a different name on product labels. Keep an eye out for fructose, dextrose, glucose, caramel color, mannitol and maltodextrin.
  9. Avoid conventional products that contain corn, as well as conventional corn. Products that most likely contain GMO corn include corn muffins, corn cereals like Cheerios and any food containing high fructose corn syrup.
  10. Grow your own food! One of the best ways to ensure you’re eating safe non-GMO foods is to grow them in your own backyard. No garden? No problem. Lots of fresh produce can be grown in containers, too!