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Question

How can you say that there are very few products in our grocery stores that have GMO's, when every packaged food is filled with them. My estimate is 75% and I read labels all of the time and I know what foods have genetically modified corn, soy, etc. Just look at what has modified corn syrup and you have your answer. Please stop deceiving the public.

Submitted by: tellthetruth


Answer

Expert response from Ruth MacDonald

Professor and Chair, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University

Tuesday, 27/08/2013 13:40

There is a great deal of confusion about what foods are GMOs in the grocery store. Many people believe that the produce aisle is full of GM foods, which is not accurate. Nothing in the produce aisle in the United States is GM―with the exception of papayas from Hawaii and some squash and sweet corn. The majority of corn and soybeans grown in the United States are GM. These commodities are processed to generate food ingredients that enter the food supply. From corn we obtain corn oil and corn starch. The starch can be converted into corn syrup, and sweeteners as well. From soybeans we obtain soybean oil and soy flour, which is further processed into soy protein. Hence, when a label includes these ingredients, it would be safe to assume that they were derived from GM plants. However, it is important to note that oil and corn starch are extractions of the plant that contain essentially no DNA or protein (which would be the GM factors from the original plant). Hence, it would be very difficult to distinguish GM vegetable oils or corn starch from non-GM. Soy protein does contain all the plant proteins, but the GM component is in very trace amounts. Hence, the concern about eating GM is very much diluted by understanding what happens to these commodities as they are prepared and used in foods. But overall, substantial scientific evidence has shown that GM plants are safe to consume and have no influence on human or animal health. No one should be concerned about eating foods that list corn oil, corn starch, corn sweeteners, soybean oil or soybean protein. Please also note that if consumers wanted to avoid GMOs for their own personal reasons, products labeled "Organic" would not contain GM ingredients.