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By now, many are familiar with the existence of genetically modified organism, or GMO. But besides the most talked about genetically modified crops (corn, cotton, canola and soy for the highest on the list), do you know about genetically modified additives that hide into your favorite processed packaged foods?

They may hide low on the ingredient list, but in most cases should be given serious thought: trials have shown that each exposure to such substances add up,  eventually possibly creating health risks.

Genetically modified additives are used in processed food to:

  • Improve color
  • Improve taste and texture
  • Stabilize
  • Preserve, hence lengthen shelf life

They come in many shapes and forms:

Maltodextrin: Used as a thickener for processed soups, candy and soda, it is a starch that adds flavor, stabilizes and can even be used as a fat substitute.

Dextrose: Usually derived from corn, it is used in sodas, sport drinks, processed baked goods, and High Fructose Corn Syrup (along with other additives like glucose) to sweeten products.

Sorbitol: With a low level of sweetness, it is used in sugar free products (chocolate), candies and bakery items (processed pastries); it holds moisture in tack and preserves freshness in most shelf items.

Citric Acid: Usually derived from GM crops and consistently under the spotlight because many organic products are using it as a preservative. Organic certifiers require that enzymes used to convert starch into sugar must derive from non GM micro-organisms.

Lecithin: Lecithin is soy and most soy is not only sprayed pesticides, but genetically modified. Lecithin is extremely processed: it is a byproduct of soybean oil, bleached with hydrogen peroxide then dried, and used as an emulsifier. It can be found in processed puddings, chocolates, corn oils, soy oils and vegetable oils. It is the ingredient that allows nut butters to spread. Organic soy lecithin is available, but since organic goods need to be 95% organic, the remaining 5% open the door to GM additives.

Many countries strongly oppose genetically modified food. The European Union has strict regulations against GM crops and even in the US, 87% of Americans agree that GM products must be labeled.

Check out the full article at: http://www.examiner.com/article/hidden-gmo-ingredients-check-labels-to-ensure-optimal-health

Credit photo: jadedpress.wordpress.com

La Vie En Green, food stamp

* Up for some thought-sharing on this topic?  
The USDA seal on a packaged product is about the only guarantee protecting us from pesticides or/and the use of GMO in food. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves against what may end up in our (and our family’s) plate, and this becomes a tougher and tougher role to assume with now GM additives creeping up into our home.
. Do you consistently read the ingredient lists of the processed food you buy?
. What leads you to buy a specific product vs another?
. Did you, beyond GM crops, know about GM additives and the fact that, given the non organic 5% tolerance, even an organic product could use such additives?
Let us know… 

 

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