The season of charcoal smells and checkered tablecloths has begun. It’s a great time to get together with family and friends to share laughs and delicious food. However, there may be an uninvited guest at your picnic or BBQ – GMOs. Unfortunately, almost everything on our typical plate is likely to have some GM ingredients, from the ketchup to the bun. Sometimes these GMOs are disguised and, unfortunately, often overlooked.
Adding to the discreet infiltration of GMOs is the fact that meat, dairy, and eggs – even though not genetically modified themselves – are produced using GMOs. Corn and soy make up the majority of animal feed in the US. With 88% of corn and 93% of soy in the US grown genetically modified, our farm animals are raised on GMOs. Animals, like humans, are deeply impacted by the quality of their diets. A recent study showed that pigs fed an entirely GMO diet suffered from severe stomach inflammation when compared to pigs given non-GMO feed. Their GMO-fed bodies are then turned into food for us.
So before you head off to your Fourth of July picnics and BBQs, review the picnic items below for likely GM ingredients and tasty non-GMO alternatives. Then share the knowledge. While the topic of GMOs has hit the mainstream, not everyone knows all the facts or understands the destruction GMOs are causing to our planet and our bodies. So use this season of gathering as an opportunity to talk to your loved ones about GMOs.
GMO Picnic Items (and Better Options)
Buns – High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cottonseed Fiber, Vegetable Oil (Soybean And/Or Cottonseed Oils), Distilled Vinegar (often derived from corn), Mono and diglyceride (often derived from soybean, cottonseed, corn, canola), Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (stearic acid maybe from soy), DATEM (usually derived from soy or canola oil), Maltodextrin (maybe from corn), Corn Starch, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour
Veggie Burger (meat-free) – Textured Vegetable Protein (Soy Protein Concentrate), Corn Oil, Canola Oil, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (Corn Gluten, Soy Protein), Dextrose, Soy Protein Isolate, Natural And Artificial Flavors From Non-Meat Sources, Maltodextrin, Soy Sauce, Soy Lecithin
Meat Burger – Cows Fed Corn and Soy Silage
Non-GMO/organic option: Cows raised on an actual farm, allowed to graze, and fed roughage. Applegate Organic Beef and Turkey Burgers, Organic Prairie Organic Burgers (Organic Valley), check out your local farmers market
Hot Dog – Mechanically Separated Turkey (fed GMOs), Mechanically Separated Chicken (fed GMOs), Pork (fed GMOs), Corn Syrup, Flavor
Veggie Hot Dog (meat-free) – Corn Syrup Solids, Methylcellulose (sometimes from corn), Dextrose, Egg Whites, Natural Flavors, Sugar, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (Corn Protein, Soy Protein), Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Soy Protein Isolate, Maltodextrin, Xanthan Gum, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Soybeans, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (Corn Gluten, Soy Protein), Soybean Oil, Citric Acid
Non-GMO/organic option: Field Roast Frankfurters
Ketchup – Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup
Non-GMO/organic option: Annie’s Organic Ketchup
Mustard – Distilled Vinegar, Natural Flavors
Pickle Relish – Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Vinegar, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavors, Polysorbate 80
Mayonnaise – Soybean Oil, Whole Eggs And Egg Yolks, Vinegar, Sugar, Natural Flavors
Processed Cheese – Milk (cows fed GMOs), Whey, Milk Protein Concentrate, Milkfat, Lactic Acid, Artificial Color, Enzymes
Chips – Soybean oil and/or Canola oil; Corn if corn chips; possibly Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural Flavor, Maltodextrin, and many more depending on chip flavor
Soda – High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Sugar, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor
Sweet Corn – GM varieties entered the market last year
You can always buy other brands that you like too. Just look for the Non-GMO Project or USDA Organic labels to stay away from GMOs.
Looking for some new dishes to bring to a picnic? Check out these recipes from our fellow Green America colleague, Katie >>