Dr Oz: Stealth GMOs Supermarket Secrets
Do you know whether you are eating Genetically Modified Foods? Dr Oz said that the food industry is spending millions worldwide to prevent labeling that would identify genetically modified organisms at the grocery store.
GMO foods came to the market about 20 years ago, and they have been controversial the whole time. They are more consistent and predictable for food manufacturers, but critics say they are unsafe and unhealthy, while many consumers just want to know what they are buying. Do you think foods should be labeled if they contain GMOs?
Dr Oz: Stealth GMOs Vs Non-GMOs
Dr Oz used an example of how a GMO food could come to be. Imagine that food scientists wanted to engineer a tomato that could survive cold weather. They could insert genes from a cold-water fish into a tomato plant. These Tomatoes could end up in your supermarket right next to the non-GMO foods.
Mom Monica said she is confused about what is GMO and what is not. She said she assumes that she has purchased plenty of Genetically Modified Organisms in foods, since they are not labeled. Dr Oz said that at least 70% of the supermarket’s food supply contains GMOs.
Dr Oz: Pesticide Usage in GMO Foods
Dr Oz said he is also worried about pesticides, which can be toxic, since they are designed to kill weeds and bugs. The food industry has made some crops resistant to pesticides, changing the food’s DNA in the process. Eventually, bugs evolved to be resistant to pesticides, and now many more chemicals must be used.
“Over the last decade, the amount of pesticides that we have used has jumped from about a million pounds a year to close to 100 million pounds a year,” which Dr Oz said can affect everything from the brain to reproduction and hormones.
Dr Oz: Are GMO Foods Natural?
A survey found that 93% of Americans support labeling GMO foods, which would allow consumers to make their own decisions when shopping. But it is the food industry’s top battle, as Dr Oz discussed with Scott Faber from the Environmental Working Group.
Faber formerly worked in the food industry, so he understands both sides of the argument. The food industry is now pushing the FDA to label GMOs as natural. Scott Faber told Dr Oz that foods produced in a lab are not the same, and GMOs do not meet current FDA standards.
Dr Oz: Voluntary GMO Ingredient Disclosure
The food industry has also pushed back against voluntarily labeling GMO foods. Some companies are doing this on their own, and manufacturers of GMO-free foods seem almost proud to boast that on their labeling.
Faber said that General Mills and Post are willing to disclose GM ingredients in their foods and even take them out of some products. But that’s a drop in the bucket in a market line of millions of other food products.
“The food industry is fighting with everything they have to deny you the right to know whether there are GMOs in your food,” Faber said.
Dr Oz: Does GMO Labeling Increase Food Cost?
The food industry claims that mandatory labeling will increase the cost of food by up to $1,600 per year for a family of four. But Faber told Dr Oz this is misleading. Companies typically change their labeling about once per year, so there’s no reason they couldn’t make this simple adjustment in their next redesign.
Scott Faber told Dr Oz that people are not going to stop buying GMO foods if they are labeled. A total of 64 other countries, making up 2/3 of the world population, already have this information available. He thinks the food industry wants to decide what what goes on the labels, regardless of what customers, consumers, and groups like the FDA have to say.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Grocery Manufacturers Association both told Dr Oz’s show that GMO foods are safe, and the GMA said it is working with Congress for federal GMO labeling solutions.
Dr Oz: Non GMO Seal & Organic Certified Foods
What can you do if you want to avoid GMO foods right now? Scott Faber told Dr Oz that your first option is to buy organic. Organic certified foods guarantee that the food does not contain GM ingredients, pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics, he said.
There are about 12,000 products containing a Non GMO seal, verifying that a product does not contain genetically modified ingredients. Faber also told Dr Oz to avoid products made with corn, soy, papaya, and their derivatives.
Dr Oz also said that you can check your produce for that PLU sticker with a number on it. A four-digit number indicates it was conventionally grown, possibly containing GMOs. If you see produce with a five-digit number on the PLU sticker, and the first digit is a 9, that symbolizes organic food.
In conclusion, Dr Oz said he supports GMO labeling and the people’s right to know what is in their food.