The Easy Way to Tell if Food Contains GMOs: Just Look for the Word ‘Natural’
The majority of so-called “natural” foods tested by Consumer Reports turned out to contain GMOs—genetically modified organisms that by definition, do not occur naturally.
“Consumers are being misled by the “natural” label,” Urvashi Rangan, executive director of Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability told Reuters.
The consumer group said that it surveyed more than 80 processed foods that included ingredients derived from corn or soy, two common GMOs grown in the U.S. (about 90 percent of soy and corn crops grown in the U.S. are genetically modified).
“While foods labeled as ‘non-GMO,’ or ‘organic’ were found to be free of genetically modified corn and soy, virtually all of the foods labeled as ‘natural’ or not labeled with any claim related to GMO content contained substantial amounts of GMO ingredients,” reports Reuters. “GMOs were present in breakfast cereals, chips, and infant formula.” According to Consumer Reports, the products tested included: Kellogg’s Froot Loops, General Mills Corn Chex, Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, Doritos Oven Baked Nacho Cheese chips, and Boca Original Vegan Veggie Burgers, Enfamil ProSobee Soy Infant Formula, Gerber Good Start Soy, Similac Soy Isomil, and Similac Go & Grow Soy Infant formula.
Consumer Reports said at least two samples of each product were tested in order to measure the GMO content.
Unlike “organic” the word “natural” is currently unregulated by the FDA, but it hasn’t stopped consumers from taking action. Companies including Kraft, Campbell’s, General Mills, Coca-Cola—and even Whole Foods Market, the beacon for natural and organic foods—have faced lawsuits over misuse of the word “natural” on products that contain genetically modified (or otherwise unnatural) ingredients.
Timing on the report comes just as the food industry’s lobby group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, is asking the federal government to regulate the use of “natural” and allow it to include GMOs in the definition. But the World Health Organization has defined GMOs as seeds that have been developed by humans, and therefore not occurring naturally.
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