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List of Foods That Are GM Foods

author image Clay McNight
Clay McNight is currently a nutrition writer with Demand Media Studios.
List of Foods That Are GM Foods
90 percent or more of corn is genetically modified Photo Credit Hyrma/iStock/Getty Images

GM foods, or genetically modified foods, contain genetic material has been altered for a specific purpose. The World Health Organization notes that those purposes include resistance to viruses, herbicides and insects. A number of major U.S. crops are composed largely of genetically engineered plants, the most prolific being corn, soy, sugar beets and canola.

Major GM Crops

List of Foods That Are GM Foods
papaya is often genetically modified Photo Credit Charlotte Lake/iStock/Getty Images

The Non-GMO Project lists corn, soy, sugar beets, canola, papaya, zucchini and yellow summer squash as having a high risk of being genetically modified. About 90 percent or more of corn, soy, canola and sugar beets are genetically modified, in terms of total production. Each of these crops is highly versatile and nearly ubiquitous throughout the food system.

Corn Syrup

List of Foods That Are GM Foods
ice cream is likely to contain high-fructose corn syrup Photo Credit Elke Dennis/iStock/Getty Images

Corn can be found in thousands of consumer foods in its most prevalent form -- high-fructose corn syrup. A 2004 study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" notes that high-fructose corn syrup accounts for 40 percent of total sweeteners added to foods and beverages. Examples of foods that are likely to contain high-fructose corn syrup include soft drinks, fruit juice drinks, cereals, breads, candies, flavored yogurts, ice cream, crackers, pastries, cough syrups, jellies, jams and granola bars.

Soy Products

List of Foods That Are GM Foods
breads often contain soy Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

The GMO Compass website notes that soy is used as the basis for a large number of ingredients and additives. Soy is commonly used as an emulsifier -- an additive that better allows ingredients to be combined together. Soy can be used for its vitamin E content, and it's sometimes used as a protein source in foods. Examples of foods that are likely to contain soy include margarines, chocolate, baked goods, vitamins, bread, pasta and other processed foods.

Sugar Beets

List of Foods That Are GM Foods
95 percent of sugar beets are genetically modified Photo Credit Lauren Thom/iStock/Getty Images

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, sugar beets are a leading raw material for the production of sugar in the United States. In 2010, genetically modified varieties of sugar beets represented around 95 percent of the total planted area for the crop. Any food that lists sugar as an ingredient has a high probability of containing sugar derived from genetically modified beets.

Canola Oil

List of Foods That Are GM Foods
canola oil is present in many packaged foods Photo Credit Danilin Vasily/iStock/Getty Images

After soybean oil and palm oil, canola oil represents the third-largest source of vegetable oil in the world, the USDA reports. With approximately 90 percent of all U.S. canola oil produced from genetically modified canola seed, consumers are at a high risk of consuming GM canola oil. The oil can be used as an ingredient in almost any packaged food.

Avoiding GM Foods

List of Foods That Are GM Foods
organic foods aren't genetically modified Photo Credit Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

To avoid all genetically modified foods, consumers can choose USDA-certified organic foods, which are prohibited from using genetically modified ingredients. Another way to avoid GM foods is to avoid processed or packaged foods in general and choose more whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

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