I’ve been changing my diet, very slowly, for a while now. I try to eat local or organic produce, pastured eggs, grass-fed meat and foods with GMO-free labels whenever possible. I might sound like one of those mandatory label supporters, but I’m not.
I don’t care what you eat. Drink three cans of soda and a large processed pizza everyday if you want. Or fancy foods. Or only three grapes — one per meal. It’s your call.
This isn’t aimed at those against mandatory labeling. And this isn’t about whether or not GMOs are dangerous. Instead, I’m offering non-coercive ways to know what’s in your food, for those so desperate to know, without demanding labeling:
1. Do your research.
Visit company websites, look up blog reviews or forum discussions — even write the company a letter. And there is always an app or a website to use as a starting point. Applegate is an example of a company willing to answer concerned shoppers, as well as letting them know which of their products contain GMOs.
2. If you are really paranoid and really want to know — buy locally.
You can put a face and a name to those who grow your food. It’s a chance to ask questions. One farmer I go to picks vegetables and fruits from her garden right in front of me.
3. If you have trust issues — start your own garden.
If you don’t have the space, see if your area has community gardens or get a few friends together and start your own.
4. If cost is an issue, make trade-offs.
But stop expecting others to do things for you. For example, the Non-GMO Project helps consumers find companies and restaurants that don’t have GMOs in their products. Great! They provide a way for consumers and producers who share common values to find each other without the government for the most part.
I think of it as seeing the glass half-full. I’m not spending my time searching the shelves avoiding products with GMOs, I’m focusing on those companies, farms and people who share my values.
I have a brain and I prefer to use it to come to my own decisions. I don’t need the government to tell me what is unhealthy for me and to ban ingredients on my behalf. Instead, if you want to know what’s in your food and where it is coming from, it’s up to you to find out. It’s not very hard to do either.