How to Avoid GMO’s When Dining Out

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Thanks to downright evil (pronounced the Richard Burton-esque way: “ee-vill”) companies like Monsanto, genetically modified ingredients have become so hopelessly ensconced in our food supply that it’s virtually impossible to eat any foods that are GMO free.

About 80 percent of all processed food on grocery shelves contains genetically engineered (GMO) ingredients, including GMO high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) used as a sweetener in virtually everything from cereal to ketchup. Even most bourbon is made with GM corn.

Moreover, this summer the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly against the Sanders Amendment to the Farm Bill that would have allowed states to pass legislation requiring GMO food and beverage products to labeled, despite the fact that roughly 95 percent of Americans believe genetically engineered foods should be labeled.

“Food Babe,” a very vigilant and energetic young lady in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a passion for food, and living organically, recently shared her advice on avoiding genetically modified organisms at restaurants.

“Considering I only found two restaurants in my hometown of Charlotte, NC that are 100% GMO free, I thought it would be prudent to share the best tips to minimize your exposure to GMOs when eating out, especially until the government listens to the overwhelming majority of us and puts labels on GMOs.”

How To Avoid GMO’S When Eating Out:

Foods to Avoid: Unless labeled or listed organic (or from a reputable local farm the restaurant can verify doesn’t use GMO seeds or feed), I suggest avoiding these 8 genetically modified (GM) foods when dining out:

Corn
Soy
Sugar (beet sugar – i.e. refined sugar)
Papayas (from Hawaii)
Canola
Cotton (cottonseed oil)
Dairy (conventional American cow’s milk and cheese)
Zucchini/Yellow Squash
Conventional Meat (They are fed GM corn & soy)

GM corn, soy and canola oil are the cheapest for restaurants to purchase. Ask your server about the oils they use to make your food – this is where GMOs are hidden in almost everything from salad dressings to soups to pan or deep fried items.

Know the exceptions: Ask if the cheese is imported. A cheese from France means you are safe from rbGH – genetically engineered growth hormone and genetically modified ingredients, as this country has banned GMOs all together.

Look out for these hidden GM ingredients: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

Watch Your Sugar: Unless the sugar they use to make desserts is 100% pure cane, it’s likely from GM sugar beets. Consider having the Non-GMO Shopping Guide in your purse or pocket that has a list of GM ingredients that you want to avoid and give it to your waiter or even call ahead.

Food Babe believes that “if more people did this, maybe restaurants would start to pay more attention to the products they buy.”

Food Babe advised that after investigating all of her favorite restaurants in Charlotte, only two eateries were 100% clean of GMO’s – Luna’s Living Kitchen and Viva Raw.

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Spence Cooper
Inquisitive foodie with a professional investigative background and strong belief in the organic farm to table movement. Author of Bad Seeds: A FriendsEAT Guide to GMO's. Buy Now!
Spence Cooper

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