Share Love, Not GMOs

Valentine’s day is a great opportunity to show your love to others and often involves getting treats for a sweetie, but sometimes those sweets come with hidden ingredients—genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Most of America’s favorite Valentine’s Day sweets are chockfull of ingredients that are highly likely to be genetically engineered– such as sugar, soy lecithin, corn starch, and corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

GMOs have never been proven safe for consumption. GMOs are designed to work hand-in-hand with pesticides, and a growing body of studies expose the health effects of exposure to and consumption of these toxic chemicals. In fact, about 55 percent of U.S. sugar is produced from GM (genetically modified) sugar beets, and almost 100% of U.S. sugar beets have been modified to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. This means that liberal amounts of Roundup can be applied to GM sugar beets without killing the crop, which leads to greater amounts of these chemicals in our environment—and our food. Given uncertainty about Roundup’s safety, the presence of glyphosate residue recently found (in high levels) within popular packaged foods like Oreos is troubling.

The use of GMOs also has an environmental impact, as increased use of pesticides and herbicides leads to the development of highly resistant superbugs and superweeds. Greater use of chemicals also means more runoff into the soil and waterways.

Luckily, things are starting to change. Hershey Co. decided to stop buying beet sugar because it comes from GM sugar beets. In response to tens of thousands of Facebook posts, emails, and telephone calls from consumers who took part in GMO Inside’s campaign calling on Hershey’s to move to non-GMO ingredients, the U.S. chocolate giant confirmed that as part of its commitment to simpler ingredients, its milk chocolate bar and Hershey’s kisses transitioned to non-GMO ingredients at the end of 2015.

It is time for Mars to step up and transition its sweet treats to non-GMO.

Typical Valentine’s treats like Mars’ M&M’s and Snickers contain ingredients like corn starch, soy lecithin, sugar, and corn syrup that are likely made from GMOs. Even Mars’ pet food brands like Iam’s, Eukanuba, Pedigree, and Whiskas contain corn and soy which are likely grown from genetically engineered (GE) seed. Ditch the artificial, GM ingredients and give the people (and pets) you love a sweet treat made from wholesome and fair trade ingredients this Valentine’s day!

As a large company with massive purchasing power, Mars’ has the ability to move the non-GMO supply chain forward, breaking down barriers for other companies to gain access to non-GMO ingredients.

Until named brand candy companies break up with GMOs there are dozens of producers that offer organic and non-GMO sweets you and your valentine will love.

Here’s How to Break Up with GMOs on Valentine’s Day:

Unless your Valentine’s Day sweets are certified organic or non-GMO verified it is highly likely that they contain GMO ingredients. Non-GMO verification ensures a product does not contain GMOs and organic certification means a product was produced without synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or genetic engineering (GMOs).

Beyond purchasing non-GMO and organic products you can also make your own sweets. Here are some of our favorite homemade sweets and treats. We also gathered together some of our favorite ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, whether with a romantic partner or a best friend.

Choose organic chocolate or non-GMO verified treats to show your loved ones you really care. For an even sweeter treat, look for fair trade products that ensure workers are treated fairly.

Child Labor in Chocolate

More than 2 million children in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire work in hazardous conditions growing cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, according to the US Department of Labor. While some companies have begun tracing their supply chains to prevent child labor, the vast majority of the 3 million tons of cocoa produced each year come from small farms in West Africa, where farmers and their children live on less than $1 per day.

It is important that when you purchase chocolate you look beyond the ingredients and consider the labor practices that were used to produce it. Luckily, there are a number of brands that are Non-GMO Project Verified, Organic, and ethically source their cocoa.

Green America’s Chocolate Scorecard can help you find whatever your heart fancies, when it comes to non-GMO and fair trade sweets.

This Valentine’s Day say no to GMOs and show someone that you care for them by giving them quality chocolate and candy without GMOs, artificial ingredients, or sourced from child labor.

From all of us at GMO Inside and Green America, Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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