By now, many are familiar with genetically modified foods. Sometimes known as GMO’s or genetically modified organisms, GM additives in processed food hide low on the label list, but in most cases should be given serious thought. While many are not opposed to GM products and feel there are few risks to human health, trials have shown that there could be accumulated health issues brewing and further investigations must be implemented. Genetically engineering improves color, taste and texture. It’s also used to stabilize and preserve goods, lengthening shelf life. Finding non-GMO products is becoming more convenient, but there is still much work to do. Consumers are aware that corn, cotton, canola and soy are high on the list for genetically modified, but what additives should be looked at that are not so GM obvious?
An ingredient used as a thickener for processed soups, candy and soda, it is a starch that adds flavor, stabilizes and even used as a fat substitute.
Common to many, it is usually derived from corn. It is used in sodas, sport drinks and processed baked goods. High fructose corn syrup uses dextrose along with other additives like glucose to sweeten products.
Used in sugar free products and bakery items, this additive holds moisture in tack and preserves freshness in most shelf items. It can be found in candy, sugar free chocolate and processed pastries. It actually has a low level of sweetness.
Citric acid is usually derived from GM crops. It is 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.
Used as an emulsifier, it is extremely processed. Lecithin can be found in processed puddings, chocolates, corn oils, soy oils and vegetable oils. Lecithin paddles through several processing steps. It is the ingredient that allows nut butters to spread. Lecithin is soy and most soy is not only sprayed pesticides, but genetically modified. It is a byproduct of soybean oil. it is bleached with hydrogen peroxide then dried. Organic soy lecithin is available. While organic goods need to be 95 percent organic, there is 5 percent that can go non-organic. This leaves room for GM additives.
Many countries strongly oppose genetically modified food. The European Union has strict regulations concerning GM crops. There is a skeptical concern among many Europeans even though many continue to remain open to new options. According to Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm, 87 percent of Americans agree that GM products must be labeled.
“Soy Lecithin and the GMO Secret”; EcoSalon.com