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From: Ryan (
Subject:         Re: soybeans
Date: August 14, 2008 at 12:36 pm PST

In Reply to: Re: soybeans posted by Marie Oser on July 30, 2008 at 12:21 am:

Sorry, I know I am posting to a thread which has more or less been closed for a few weeks now- I have been busy and out of the loop.

Unfortunately, since GMO products do not at this time require labeling, you cannot tell the difference between GMO and non-GMO crops unless they are labeled as being non-GMO(IE they look the same). There have been pushes in the past to adopt legislation which would require food manufacturers to label the GMO content of their food but this has been met with much opposition- and ultimately defeated.

To further compound matters, the term GMO-free is not clearly defined. Genetically modified pollen can travel far and so most crops have at least a little bit of genetic modification to them. There was an incident a few years ago of an Organic crop in Hawaii (I think it was a Papaya crop) that lost its Organic license due to genetic pollution from genetically modified pollen fertilizing his/her crops (I was told this by a friend whom I trust with these issues, unfortunately I cannot produce a source of this information for you other than hearsay).

To be more specific- Organic foods have very strict requirements on levels of genetic modification. Essentially, "Organic" foods must be virtually GMO free.

The title, "Natural food" has very little legal meaning. In fact a few years ago there was some publicity about GMO foods being marketed as natural by Trader Joe's. I believe Trader Joe's has made changes. Gardenburger and Morningstar foods both used GMO ingredients in their veggie burgers. This is changing though:

Greenpeace is very active in fighting GMO technology, they maintain a shopping list if you want to avoid GMOs:

I am not sure, legally, what GMO-free means. I would ask the manufacturer what criteria they use to establish this. I assume that it means that GMO levels are comparable to those of Organic foods but am not sure.

Personally, I try to stick with Organic when affordable and when in doubt(That way I have the legal guarantee). My local health food store sells organic soy beans at a very reasonable price (all things considered they are cheaper than beans sold on-line. I have yet to find a lower priced source than my local health food store).

I always take the term "Natural" with a bring grain of salt. When shopping for GMO free stuff I advise you completely ignore the term "natural" unless it says "and GMO free" right next to it.

I have found this website with some interesting information:

Here is a link to the National Organic Program which regulated "Organic" foods:

I hope this helps


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