Consumer Reports consistently sets the gold standard in product testing. This fall the organization began a comprehensive review of GMOs in the American food supply, and discovered that the corn and soy in nonorganic products and those labeled “natural” are almost uniformly genetically modified varieties.
The nonprofit concluded that consumers who seek to avoid GMO ingredients should trust two independently verified labels: “organic” and “Non-GMO Project Verified.”
In a news release, Consumer Reports described the methodology of the study: “To see how many foods have GMOs and whether you can trust the claims you see on food packages, we bought more than 80 different processed foods containing corn or soy between April and July 2014. Genetically modified corn and soy are used in a wide variety of foods. Nearly all of the samples we tested of the products that did not make any non-GMO-related claim on the package did, in fact, contain substantial amounts of genetically modified corn or soy. They included many familiar foods, such as Kellogg’s Froot Loops, General Mills Corn Chex, Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, Doritos Oven Baked Nacho Cheese chips, and Boca Original Vegan Veggie Burgers. Four of the products in this group were soy-based infant formulas: Enfamil ProSobee Soy Infant Formula, Gerber Good Start Soy, Similac Soy Isomil, and Similac Go & Grow Soy Infant formula.”
Other cereals with high GMO content included Kashi GoLean, Kashi GoLean Hearty Honey & Cinnamon and Quaker Life Original.
Consumer Reports was curious about products that do not display the Non-GMO Project Verified seal yet make various non-GMO claims. “These claims made by the manufacturer — which may include the words ‘No GMO’ and ‘Non-GMO’— have no standard definition and don’t require independent verification. Even so, most of the products we tested containing nonorganic corn or soy that made an uncertified claim met non-GMO standards. … The exception was Xochitl Totopos de Maiz original corn chips. The package read ‘No GMO’ and ‘All Natural.’ But our tests showed that the amount of genetically modified corn in the six samples we tested averaged more than 75 percent.”
The biggest disappointment came from products that featured a “natural” claim: “All the foods that had a natural label, but were not specifically labeled organic or Non-GMO were essentially the same as completely unlabeled foods in terms of GMO content. This claim is misleading to consumers who, based on a recent Consumer Reports survey, expect natural products to not contain GMO ingredients. Consumers should avoid foods with this meaningless claim and Consumer Reports is asking the FDA to ban the use of this term on processed foods.”
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