Outwitting Restaurants: How To Avoid GMOs While Eating Out

By: Saira Malhotra

Last week, WebMD posted their tips on avoiding GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) when dining out. While it is easier to follow through on your food philosophies when they come from your own kitchen, the challenge is posed when eating out in restaurants and cafes. WebMD has demystified some of this for us and demonstrated that by asking the right questions and reading between the menu lines, we can find the answer. Here are some their suggestions:

  1. Recognize the dishes that use genetically modified ingredients, such as, soy, corn and squash.
    • 94% of soybeans grown in the U.S has been genetically modified and is present in tofu, miso, and tempeh.
    • 88% of U.S. grown corn has been genetically modified and is present in corn tortillas, tamales, and polenta.
    • Many types of squash have been engineered to prevent viruses.
  2. Before making the reservation, enquire about what cooking oil they use. The True Food Network's Shopping Guide suggests that "unless labeled explicitly, corn, soybean, cottonseed, and canola oils probably contain genetically modified products". If the cuisine calls for olive oil, that becomes one less thing for you to worry about.
  3. Resist the soda urge or order seltzer water with freshly squeezed orange juice. Most sodas contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and their sugar free counterparts contain artificial sweeteners, both of which are subject to GMO.
  4. If the restaurant does not offer organic meats, stick with vegetarian options as animals that have been raised inorganically have been fed on a diet of antibiotics, bovine, and GMOs.
  5. Opt for wild salmon as farm-raised salmon has a gene that makes them grow twice as fast.
  6. Shun the large chain restaurants as there is a greater likelihood that they use a central supplier and the food is likely to be reinforced with additives. Smaller, local restaurants are more likely to avail of local suppliers.

Photo: tabula_electronica 

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