Are you dreaming of a GM-free Christmas, just like the ones you used to know? We are.
Unless you are a strict vegan, navigating your way around GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in Christmas fare can be as tricky as trying to walk across a floor covered in prickly pine needles, but it’s possible. And even if you are vegan or vegetarian, it can be a bit of a minefield – watch out in particular for GM soya.
Here are our tips for enjoying a GM-free Christmas:
If a turkey is not organic, the chances are it has been raised with feed containing GMOs and glyphosate residues, since the majority of imported soya and corn used for animal and poultry feed is now GM. The flesh, eggs and milk products of animals given GM feed may contain traces of genetically modified DNA and potentially carcinogenic glyphosate and are best avoided. These products have not been proven safe to eat by bodies independent of the GM industry – quite the reverse – and may well pose a threat to health when eaten over the long term.
We are demanding that supermarkets source GM-free feed and label any products from animals fed a GM diet (see news about our petition in the previous post), but in the meantime, the only way to guarantee that your eggs, cheese, fish, poultry and meat have been raised on a GM-free diet is to buy organic.
You can source organic turkey from some of the UK suppliers listed below – and an internet search will yield many more suppliers, so look for one near you. Look in particular for grass-fed poultry and game, since this is the natural diet of these creatures and has a highly beneficial effect on the nutrient value of its flesh.
It’s not enough just to be ‘free-range’ – this is a very liberally-interpreted label which usually means that the turkey spends its life indoors in a space no bigger than a newspaper, and it will still be given GM feed.
Go vegetarian or vegan
By eating mainly or solely vegetarian food you can bypass the issue of non-organic animal produce being given GM feed. If you are vegetarian, avoid non-organic cheese, milk and other dairy products. During the festive season, be aware that Christmassy snacks such as sausage rolls, smoked salmon and other snacks are unlikely to be organic.
If you are considering a vegetarian or vegan Christmas dinner, there are endless celebratory creations you can try. Here are some suggestions for meat-free Christmas meals from Yotam Ottolenghi, Jamie Oliver and Ella Woodward:
Whatever you choose to eat at Christmas, or at any other time of year, we hope you will join us in striving to make sure it makes a positive contribution to health and well-being – yours and that of the planet.
And in the spirit of giving, if you haven’t yet signed our petition to label all GM-fed animal foods in the UK we hope you will take a moment to do that now!