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Keep Monsanto Out of Your Home: 4 Ways to Avoid GMOs

2/25/2011 2:35:41 PM

Tags: Monsanto, Roundup Ready, GMO alfalfa, GMO sugar beets, organic cotton, organic dairy, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailIn the past month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made several alarming decisions regarding Monsanto’s genetically modified Roundup Ready crops. Last month it granted non-regulated status to Roundup Ready alfalfa, This month it defied a court order that had prohibited farmers from planting Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sugar beets until a proper study of their environmental impact could be done. In the wake of all this, I’m looking for ways to keep Monsanto-tainted food off my family’s table.

In her excellent Yes magazine article, A Month Without Monsanto, writer April Davila chronicles her difficulty in avoiding genetically modified crops such as soy, sugar beets, and cotton—which form the foundation of our diets. Davila reports that 70 to 80 percent of American processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients and “a large percentage of the cotton in our clothes and homes begins in Monsanto's labs.”

While she found avoidance almost impossible, Davila’s attempts to go a month without Monsanto are worth a read. She also offers some great tips for those who want to take up the good fight and minimize the genetically modified organisms in their lives.

  1. Avoid processed foods, particularly the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup.
  2. Consider going vegetarian, limiting your meat consumption, or buying grass-fed varieties. Over 60 percent of genetically modified corn goes to feed cattle on polluting concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in America, Davila reports.
  3. Buy organic dairy products to avoid Monsanto’s recombinant bovine growth hormone.
  4. Buy organic cotton. Monsanto is a major player in the cotton industry.


Plover Organics offers beautiful--guaranteed GMO-free--organic cotton textiles. Photo courtesy Plover Organics 


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Melissa Good
6/11/2011 10:34:18 PM
"How do you propose that we feed 7.5 billion humans without GMO?" Are you kidding me? Who is this "WE" you speak of? Seriously? Backyard gardens, farmer's markets, food co-ops and purchasing meat and dairy from local sources can feed everyone in my household and yours as well. This is called "SELF SUFFICIENCY". You postulate the worn-out, tired, reproachable theory that there are people in this world that are incapable of self sustainability and self sufficiency, and therefore is is "OUR" job to feed these people. This is simply Monsanto's tired old line to get people to feel warm and fuzzy about the horror show they put on our tables. This tired faded philosophy is intended to make us feel like we would not, could not, possibly survive without Monsanto to fill our bellies. This is not the case, and more and more people are waking up to that fact.

4/28/2011 5:54:14 PM
I have a bachelors degree in genetics, which by no means makes me an expert, but it does make me qualified to clear up a couple of misnomers that people have about GMOs. 1) Just because a compound is a poison to one organism does not mean that it is a poison to humans, take Oxygen it is essential for us to live and toxic to anaerobic bacteria. 2) Monsanto nor any other biotech company has come up with a terminator gene that makes seeds sterile "though I don't doubt they wish they could." They use patent laws to ensure that seeds must be bought from them each year, not genetics 3) Just because a gene has been introduced into a plant does not mean that it is expressed in all places in the plant, It is called the proteome. Every cell contains all of the organisms DNA but each cell type expresses different sections of the DNA that is what differentiates liver cells from heart cells or skin cells. So just because a plant expresses Bt toxin in the roots does not mean it is expressed in the seeds. 4) Yes there are things to be concerned about with GMOs but they are not inherently bad. I think the fear of GMOs stems from ignorance more than anything else. Personally I am not in favor of genetically modifying everything that moves just because we can, but I do believe that it can be a very valuable tool in feeding the worlds growing population.

2/28/2011 7:42:29 PM
I would encourage anyone who is interested to watch the movie Food, Inc. It gives some relevant information on the effects of agri-business to our environment, US policy, farm and subsistence farm families, health, ethics and world hunger. This, along with other movies and books, such as The Coorporation and The Omnivour's Dillema, provide a good place from which to begin a serious discussion concerning what we will and will not allow corporations to do in their quest for the all-mighty dollar. Can we really patent life?

2/27/2011 10:09:44 AM
t. brandt--where do you get your ideas about genetically modified organisms? What Monsanto does is way beyond simple breeding. Monsanto alters the genes of plants in a lab, creating a wholly new gene code sometimes putting animal genes in order to trick a plant into expressing pesticides like BT, or roundup, and other items. This has a lot of implications healthwise and legal considerations. People's concerns healthwise are allergies, long term effects of ingestion, the effect on our pollinators {one of the foundations of our terrestrial foodweb} and the effect of cross pollination with wild and other domesticated plants. The issues legally are that Monsanto with this new technique has been patenting plants and programming seed produced by said plants to be sterile so that people *HAVE to buy their next seed from Monsanto, or better yet, so that Monsanto can sue them if they save seed from those crops for violating copywrite infringement laws. This is about cornering the market and controlling in every conceivable manner our access to not just food, but our ability to produce it as individual human beings beholding to no company store or a agricultural big brother. This goes so far beyond what you suggest that you comment is hardly even relevant to the actual discussion that needs to take place.

t brandt
2/26/2011 4:06:50 PM
--You are implying, I take it, that GMO foods are unhealthy in some way. Would you mind documenting an example of a human illness caused by same? --Don't forget that the earliest example of human use of GMO was when that first caveman mated the two most docile wolf pups he could find. Now we can select the most favorable genes of one species and transfer them to another. It's really the same process, just carried a step further. The genes are still "natural." --How do you propose that we feed 7.5 billion humans without GMO? Ag yields have tripled in the past 50 yrs, thanks to technology such as this. Without it, starvation would be more widely spread than it is now. But your local supermarket is always chock full of food, so you don't think there's a problem.

2/25/2011 3:37:19 PM
I saw an article about the two Oak Trees poisoned by herbicide, doesn't anyone in Washington get that the same type of herbicide is being used by Monsanto to GM our food. I know its just a tiny bit, BUT we eat 3 to 5 times a day everyday what do you think that tiny bit is doing to our children? We need to fight this, if Washington continues to allow Monsanto to have there way, we need to continue to vote them out of office, until we have those in office who will take back our country. It takes more and more herbicide each year to grow less food because of the damage to our farm land. Grow food and save seeds before you join the starving in this world.

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