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October 8th, 2013

How to Enjoy a GE-Free Fall

By Briana Kerensky

Is it October already? I feel like just a few days ago I was sipping lemonade at backyard barbecues and trying to find the best way to cook dinner without heating up the kitchen. Now, eschewing iced coffee for lattes and making plans for Thanksgiving, I’ve fallen into fall!

This time of year, we see delicious fall foods replacing summer’s peaches and tomatoes: apple cider, Halloween candy and pumpkin everything, just to name a few. While it’s always fun to find tasty ways to cook and eat these foods, many brands include some extra, genetically engineered (GE) ingredients you may not know about. GE corn, soy, canola and sugar beets appear in countless fall foods, but have not been tested for long-term impacts on human health and environmental safety. What’s more, the Food and Drug Administration does no independent safety testing. Instead, they rely on biased data submitted by biotechnology companies.

And because corporations are not required to label products with GE ingredients, these items could end up in your shopping cart without you even knowing it.

But across the country, concerned citizens are fed up with shopping blind and have been fighting to make GE food labeling the law. 

Over the past two years, nearly half of all U.S. states have introduced bills requiring labeling or prohibiting genetically engineered foods, and Food & Water Watch has been involved in the fight for legislation in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In Illinois this summer, Food & Water Watch worked to coordinate three hearings across the state with Senator Dave Koehler whose GE food labeling legislation SB1666 will be introduced in the spring.

Then there’s the big fight in Washington State that Food & Water Watch is proud to support. All eyes are on Washington where voters will decide in November whether to make GE food labels the law by passing Initiative 522. But even if you don’t live in Washington, you can support the campaign by phone banking or donating money to help fight the misinformation campaign being waged by large pesticide and agribusiness corporations to keep consumers in the dark.

Check out our listicle of some common fall foods that may contain GE ingredients. But don’t be afraid of sipping some cider this season. One sure-fire way to opt-out of the GE food science experiment is to buy certified organic, but it’s not the only way. We’ve suggested other ways to find GE-free versions of your favorite fall treats. In fact, I may be chowing down on a pumpkin muffin as I write this.

Learn more about GE labeling here.


Baked Goods: Mass-produced baked goods, such as pumpkin spice muffins, may contain GE canola. Look for baked goods that use other oils such as sunflower, olive or peanut oil instead.






Brown Sugar Oatmeal: A lot of processed sugar is made from GE sugar beets. Some tasty alternatives to sweetening your maple oatmeal with brown sugar include cane sugar, honey, stevia and date sugar. Another great fall ingredient for oatmeal? Pumpkin butter!




Lattes: As the weather gets cooler, it’s getting harder to escape advertisements for pumpkin-spiced lattes everywhere you go. Lattes can be delicious, but can also feature milk from cows injected with the GE growth hormone rBGH or fed GE alfalfa. Ask your local coffee shop if they use organic milk before ordering a fun fall-themed latte this season.



Halloween Candy: It can be tough to deny your sweet tooth Halloween candy containing high fructose corn syrup, which is produced from GE corn, but it’s not impossible. Keep an eye out for HFCS-free candy. High-quality chocolate and some brands of fruit gummies advertise that they’re made without the stuff.





Sweetened Apple Cider: Although GE apples have not yet been approved, Mass-produced apple cider is often sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or sugar from GE sugar beets. Try buying cider at your local farmer’s market, which should contain apples and nothing else.

One Comment on How to Enjoy a GE-Free Fall

  1. daniel boyle says:

    Ziegler’s Apple Cider has no high fructose corn syrup added. It is available now in 32 states, and found in many grocery stores eg. Krogers in the refrigerated section around the prepared fruit. It is by far the best I’ve ever had!

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