Ten years ago hummus was something that you ate as a delicacy at a Mediterranean restaurant; since then it has become a staple in many American homes. As parents have become more concerned with the types of foods they put in their children’s lunch boxes, they have turned to Sabra hummus as a healthy alternative.
In 1986, a small business called Sabra Blue & White Foods started manufacturing hummus in Queens, NY. Their goal was to serve people the healthy and delicious Mediterranean cuisine. With the motto of “Dip Life to the Fullest,” they encourage people to embrace the adventurous side of life through new cultures and flavors.
Frito Lay, owned by PepsiCo, acquired a 50% share of Sabra in March 2008. Since then, strategic marketing campaigns have boasted Sabra’s image as a healthy alternative to other snack dips, ultimately making them the largest hummus manufacturer in the world. While Sabra states it is dedicated to the people, places and environment that contributes to its product, its parent company, PepsiCo, is one of the largest supporters of the anti-GMO labeling movement, fighting consumer’s right to know. Why is that? Sabra hummus is one of the many PepsiCo products laden with GMOs. So much for being a healthy alternative. Sabra is just like 70% of all the other processed foods in the grocery store, stuffed full of GMOs.
How can Sabra improve? Transition to ingredients that are not produced from or with GMO ingredients and toxic pesticides. PepsiCo, Sabra’s parent corporation, should work to reduce toxic synthetic pesticides used to produce the product’s ingredients.
The actual list of ingredients in Sabra Original Hummus is (those that are likely directly or indirectly GMOs are in bold):
Original: Cooked Chickpeas, Tahini (Ground Sesame), Soybean Oil, Water, Garlic, Salt, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate Added to Maintain Freshness.
One of the main ingredients in Sabra hummus is soybean oil. Over 90% of soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified. Genetically engineered (GMOs) crops increase the prevalence of monocultures; a system of farming that results soil health deterioration and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
GMOs are engineered to work in conjunction with toxic pesticides. While GE crops were marketed as a solution to heavy chemical use, they have not only increased chemical usage but have led to the use of more toxic pesticides. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup used with Roundup Ready soy, is linked to birth defects in animals and caused the development of superweeds. Since current pesticides no longer prove effective, chemical companies are turning to more toxic alternatives such as Enlist Duo, a combination of 2,4-D (a main ingredient in Agent Orange) and glyphosate. In order to compensate for poor soil health (a result of the overuse of pesticides) farmers are dependent on synthetic fertilizers. These fertilizers enter the waterways causing massive aquatic dead zones.