Tag Archives: GMO

Transparency is the New Marketing

Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 10.37.23 PMI write this post while anxiously waiting for confirmation on the passage or failure of WA State Initiative 522 that would require labeling of food products using GMO ingredients sold in the state.  Numbers are still rolling in from yesterday’s vote and even though many say it doesn’t look good, it’s still officially too close to call.  It’s no surprise the race is close – it was another David and Goliath battle, similar to the version in my own home state of California last year.  The No on 522 Campaign spent a record-setting $22M to defeat the bill.  The fact that the race is close given this statistic alone is in some way a sign of success for advocates of GMO labeling regardless of the ultimate outcome.

As I’ve said in previous posts on the issue of GMO, questions of technology and safety are, in my mind, less significant to the issue of transparency.  GMO may be good, it may be bad (if my opinion counts, I think it’s probably a mix of both), but without transparency about where it’s being used we cannot engage in a fair, thoughtful and productive debate.

To me, GMO is just an excellent poster child for the issue we are really talking about here…(Read the rest on KeeganSheridan.com)

The Closest We Can Get to Healthy Candy

Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 1.19.47 PMHealthy candy? Is there such thing? Well, not exactly, but some are better than others. These Chocolate Tahini cups have the goodness of tahini going for them, along with the antioxidants founds in good dark chocolate. Yes, there is sugar, and all sugars should be kept in check, but sometimes you have to live a little.

Candy is normally packed with GMO-High Fructose Corn Syrup, preservatives, “natural” flavors and dyes. So, when this time of year rolls around, I prefer to have a healthier alternative. Rather than keep my boys away from any candy at all (which frankly wouldn’t be any fun) I make candy like these chocolate tahini cups and sour gummy bears , or I order from www.naturalcandystore.com and ‘trade’ for the candy they get trick or treating.

Chocolate Tahini Cups

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Place paper mini muffin baking cups in a mini muffin tray.

Melt a 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips on the stove. It only takes a couple of minutes. Stir the chips continuously and don’t let them burn!

Spoon out @3/4 of a teaspoon of melted chocolate into each paper baking cup.

Place tray in the refrigerator. Allow to cool for @5 minutes or until the chocolate is almost hard.

While the chocolate is cooling, mix the tahini, honey and salt together in a small bowl. You can use almond, cashew, peanut or sunflower butter in place of the tahini. I chose tahini because I love it’s nutrient profile plus, I am making these for my younger son’s school which is tree-nut free.

When the chocolate is nearly hard, spoon out @1/4 teaspoon of the tahini mixture into each baking cup.

Melt the remaining 3/4 cup of chocolate chips on the stove.

Spoon the newly melted chocolate on top of the mixture already in the baking cups.

Smooth the surface with the side of a spoon.

Put in the refrigerator to cool for @10 minutes or until chocolate is hard.

After the chocolate is completely hard, tear away the paper baking cups.

These can be kept in the fridge or on the counter.

Originally posted on my website Tapp’s Tips.com

Do you have any favorite chocolate or candy recipes? Share them in the comments below!

How I’m Moving Forward in the GMO Food Debate

Bosworth Battlefield (2)

A few weeks ago I wrote a post, “The Genetically Modified Food Debate”, which introduced a series of articles by Nathanael Johnson, a Grist.org writer that’s taken on the big task of sorting through the GMO debate to provide the straight story on where the science, politics and implications to people and planet truly stand.

As someone who’s followed the topic of GMO for many years, I’ve often wished for a series of articles just like this. It’s a heroic effort and having the opportunity to go on an exploration of sorts through these articles has helped me crystallize what I believe are the biggest issues and necessary next steps in the GMO food debate. If you’d like to read Johnson’s series, you can start here and find links to subsequent posts at the bottom of each article.

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe that as humans we are hard-wired to experiment, research and evolve our understanding of the world. Given what I know of evolution and farming, biotechnology seems like a logical place for exploration in science. It’s in the application of this science that things can get complicated. My sense is that, like most things, the best scenario for people and planet as it relates to genetic modification is toward the center from either side of the extreme.

My primary concern about genetically engineered food crops is not so much about the study of biotechnology in plants, but the ripple effect the application of these crops is having on current farming practices and our global food community. Here are some of the things I find most troubling:

  • GMO are often bred for resistance to herbicides and pesticides. As a result, weed-killing herbicide use on genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton increased by 383 million pounds in the U.S. from 1996 to 2008.
  • GM crops support the practice of mono-cropping (growing only one type of agricultural product in a large area of land, year after year). This approach has an economic benefit in that it simplifies farming operations and decreases labor costs. However, mono-cropping depletes nutrients from the soil and decreases crop-yields over time creating a need for increased synthetic fertilizer use. Although there may be a short-term economic gain, there’s a larger long-term cost to the health of the planet.
  • Implementation of GMO and mono-cropping practices in developing countries has impacts that go beyond just human and planet health. Traditional knowledge about how to farm the land, what indigenous plants provide nutrients of need and seed saving techniques to maintain biodiversity…all this wisdom that is passed from generation to generation may be lost and maybe more importantly, be seen as inferior to modern conventional methods.

The biggest hurdle to finding a path forward that is acceptable to groups on both sides of this issue seems to sit within science. Through Johnson’s articles, it’s clear that the methods we have to determine safety and the impact to human and planet health are flawed. The questions we’re asking through testing simply do not provide the answers many people are seeking to understand. This is an issue that’s much bigger than just GMO, but yet one that is effectively stalling the ability of the food community to find consensus about how to move forward. Until we evolve both the methods of testing and what we’re testing for, I don’t see how we’re going to come together.

So, what to make of all this? Well, as for me, I plan to keep looking [read: hoping] for an evolution in testing, particularly in the form of support from our government to investigate new approaches to better answer the valid concerns around GMO’s impact to people and planet health. In the meantime, as we continue to navigate our way to better answers, I believe the right thing to do is provide as much transparency and through that, education, as possible. We don’t have the answers, and until such a time that we do and this matter is settled, why not let people make their own decision? Let’s label GM foods, raise awareness and hopefully get to a place where we can argue towards solutions.

If you’re interested in doing some digging of your own into this issue, Johnson also did a recent article that provides a “Cliff’s Notes” version of some of the most popular books on GMO. You can read this article here.

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The 80/20 Rule: How to Keep Your Family Healthy (And Have Fun Doing It!)

Matt and Jack share a snowconeWe went to a local carnival on a recent night, and the boys and I each had a snow-cone. Sam’s and mine were both bright blue and George’s was half red, half blue.

They were nothing but sugar and nasty dyes, but it was part of the fun of being there. We stood under the fireworks and happily ate them. We broke a lot of rules that night. We stayed up past 10 o’clock, we paid to play games we knew were unwinnable  and we ate carnival food. It was all part of the experience of being there and we had a blast.

This confuses some people. Most notably, my husband. Yesterday he brought home conventionally grown strawberries which I promptly returned to the store. “How can you let the boys have snow-cones and not let them eat conventional strawberries?” he asked. I understand the question, and see that it looks like hypocrisy, but this is how I make sense of our lives. This is my 80/20 rule.

scale (1)It’s All About Balance

I do not strive for nutrition perfection. That wouldn’t be any fun. I mean, what is life without french fries? Instead I strive for 80% good and 20% of whatever comes our way. Life is to be enjoyed. The negative impact of the stress of trying to eat perfectly all of the time far outweighs that of eating something that really makes us happy.

So, how do I balance this? How do I keep track? My way is to treat my home as a sacred food zone. We eat 100% clean food. No dyes, no chemicals, no pesticides (hence the no conventional strawberries rule), no refined sugars or refined flours and no GMOs. The 20% of the time that we are out in the world then all bets are off. We eat what comes our way. That said, of course we eat the best option of what we are offered. Like if we are given a choice between a not-so-good food and a just-plain-awful one, we will choose the former, and if there is a healthy option we will always go for that. But, even then sometimes, we take a time-out.

When we go to birthday parties, we eat cake. We go to the movies and eat movie-theater popcorn. Today, after a haircut, we went into town and had a double scoop of ice cream before dinner. I believe that the key to teaching children to eat healthily is for them to recognize those not-so-good-for-you foods and accept them as being something that is consumed occasionally.

The 80-20 rules works well for us. The kids know it’s all right for them to break the rule on occasion because they understand what the rule is – and why.

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

Finding Neutrality in the Genetically Modified Food Debate

GMO debate IntentI’ve been heavily involved in understanding and tracking the GMO debate for many years.  As an expert for the natural products industry, the issue of genetic modification and the role it should or should not play in natural products is a heavily debated (and litigated) topic. You need look no further than the New York Times, the Dr. Oz show, or your Facebook feed to get a dose of the emotion and polarized positions on both sides of this subject.

Over the course of these years I have come to a couple conclusions that I believe heavily influence our ability to productively communicate about this issue: 1) Despite the rapidly growing debate on this subject, there is still an incredible lack of awareness about GMO and an even bigger level of ignorance about the various topics at play under the “GMO” label, and 2) the emotional intensity this topic carries with it makes improved education, understanding and rational dialog a seemly impossible task at times.

I confess that I also feel a lot of emotion about this subject and wish for more information and understanding. I am troubled by conventional farming practices, the petro-chemical use required to keep it going and the seeming disregard for the natural wisdom of nature. I worry about the global impact the spread of these farming practices into developing countries will have not only to the health of the soil and people but to the traditional farming wisdom that will no longer be passed from generation to generation.

On the flip side, I believe that as humans we are hard-wired to experiment, research and evolve our understanding of the world. Given what I know of evolution and farming, biotechnology seems like a logical place for exploration in science. It’s in the application of this science that things start to get complicated to me. My sense is that, like most things, the best scenario for people and the planet as it relates to GMO is toward the center from either side of the extreme.

Last week I came across a series of articles that are currently posting on Grist.org attempting to do the thing I’ve been hoping I would have the ability to do myself someday – investigate and dissect this issue without emotion and understand the impact of biotechnology in food crops on human and planet health.

Like me, the reporter, Nathanael Johnson, has been wishing for a rational dissection of this issue for many years. I’ve spoken to some of the same people he’s interviewed for this series and am impressed by the depth of his research. I’ve been reading and note taking as each of his articles are published and hope that if you’re also seeking to understand this complex issue, you will take the time to read his pieces as well.

You can find a link to the first article in his series here and can find links to subsequent articles in the series at the bottom of the piece.

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Image by Steve Rhodes

Who Loves Controversy? 5 Articles from Around the Web

These articles range in how controversial they are. But we’re hoping there’s something in here that will spark debate (or, “enlivened conversation.”) What do you think about gender stereotyping or advertising or corporate lobbying? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. And share some of your favorite recent articles that stir up controversy!

Who said girls have to like dancing and boys have to like baseball? Here’s an interesting look at gender stereotyping and effort to curb it:

School District Bans Father-Daughter Dances After Single Mom Complains (Yahoo! Shine)

Sex, drugs, and violence grace our televisions and billboards every day. But evolution? That’s apparently WAY too controversial…

Dr. Pepper Ads Enrage Fans; Why Are We OK With So Much Other Offensive Media? (Blisstree)

Monsanto is spending $4.2 million dollars to defeat a California bill that would require labels on genetically engineered food. Take a stand and vote this November!

Massive Attack on GMO Labeling Proposal in California (Care2)

Romney certainly hasn’t made a great impression in the last few days, and this Colorado kid isn’t going to let him get away with it!

Jackson Ripley, 12-Year-Old Colorado Boy, Writes Letter To Romney Saying His “Plan For American Isn’t What We Need” (HuffPost)

And this last article sheds light on the great debate: Is there such thing as a hangover cure? Ready. Set. Debate!

13 Legit Ways to Stop a Hangover (Greatist)

photo by: Tomi Tapio

Make a Difference Mondays: Organic Consumers Association


Organization:
Organic Consumers Association

Website: http://organicconsumers.org/

Who They’re Serving: Everyone concerned with GE foods, truth in labeling, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability, and corporate accountability in the food and farming industries.

Mission: The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children’s health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. They are the only organization in the US focused on promoting the views and interests of the nation’s estimated 76 million organic and socially responsible consumers.

Why We Chose Them: The recent uprising against Monsanto genetically engineered and modified foods (see Millions Against Monsanto for more info) the current California GMO Labeling Ballot Initiative (the first of its kind in America) and Whole Food bowing to USDA pressure to accept the mass commercialization of GE crops have highlighted the upcoming need for grassroots and citizen led protest against these types of changes to the food industry and the need for truth in labeling regarding all GE products.

How You Can Make a Difference:

  • Visit the Take Action tab on the Organic Consumers Association Website to quickly fill out online petitions you would like to support.Volunteer to help collect signatures in the State of California for the California GMO Labeling Ballot Initiative. Over 80,000 signatures are needed to get the CA Food Labeling Act of 2012 on the Ballot. Simply linking you Facebook, blog, or website to this online petition can help get this act on the ballot.
  • Donate online to the Organic Consumers Association to help support this type of grassroots lobbying and legislative action to support organic and sustainable food and farming.
  • Subscribe to Organic Bytes the OCA’s weekly email publication.

Make a Difference Mondays is a series here at IntentBlog to spotlight individuals, organizations, and causes making a positive difference in our global community. We’ll also be sharing opportunities for engagement and suggesting tangible actions you can take to make the world a better place. 

EWG’s 2010 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides – Excellent!

Dr. Andrew Weil, a renowned medical expert on natural health and wellness, speaks about the health effects of pesticides in a video interview with EWG.  He says we should all avoid our exposure to toxic pesticides in our food.

How do we reduce exposure? Try to buy certified organic crops when you can as chemical pesticides can’t be used.  There is research to show that when we eat organic, the measurable levels of pesticides in our tissues drop.

He goes on to say for those who don’t have access to organic or can’t afford it,  learn which varieties of  products are most likely to carry the most pesticide residue and try to buy those foods organic.

The EWG has put together the ‘Clean 15′ list of crops which are lowest in pesticides.  If you are on a tight budget, these are the conventionally grown foods you can concentrate on.

The ‘Dirty Dozen’ list are foods you should avoid if they are not organically grown.

A BIG thank you to the EWG for putting this information together!  You can view the short video and article here and download the printable Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.

To your health,

Kim Duess

You-Be-Healthy.com
Twitter.com/kduess
Facebook.com/youbehealthy

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / spisharam

8 Intentional Steps Obama Could Take to Save Food

The landscape of health has changed. No longer are our families guaranteed a healthy livelihood, not in the face of the current rates of cancer, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimers and allergies. In the words of Elizabeth Warren, Harvard University law professor who is head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, "We need a new model," and we need a new food system. It’s our health on the line.

8 Steps Obama Could Take to Save Food

1. Evenly distribute government moneys to all farmers: The current system allocates the lion share of our tax dollars (approximately $60 billion) to farmers growing crops whose seeds have been engineered to produce their own insecticides and tolerate increasing doses of weed killing herbicides. As a result, these crops, with a large chemical footprint, are cheaper to produce, while farmers growing organic produce are charged fees to prove that their crops are safe and then charged additional fees to label these crops as free of synthetic chemicals and "organic". If organic farmers received an equal distribution of taxpayer funded handouts from the government, the cost of producing crops free from synthetic chemicals would be cheaper, making these crops more affordable to more people, in turn increasing demand for these products which would further drive down costs.  If we were to reallocate our national budget and evenly distribute our tax dollars to all farmers, clean food would be affordable to everyone and not just those in certain zip codes.

2. Reinstitute the USDA pesticide reporting standard that was waived under the Bush administration. In 2008, the USDA waived pesticide reporting requirements (a procedure that has been in place since the early 1990s) so that farmers and consumers would know the level of chemicals being applied to food crops. Given a report just released that reveals a 383 million pound increase in the use of weed killing herbicides since the introduction of herbicide tolerant crops in 1996 and the potential impact that this glyphosate containing compound is having on both the environment and on our health, perhaps the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy assumed under the previous administration should be reversed.

3. Reinstate the pre-Bush administration dollar value that the EPA places on the life of every American: in May 2008, the Bush administration lowered the value placed on the life of every American by almost $1 million, benefiting corporations who use this figure in their cost benefit analyses, marking down our lives from $7.8 million to $6.9 million the same way a car dealer might markdown a "96 Camaro with bad brakes. The EPA figure is used to assess corporate liability when a company’s actions put a life at risk. While this figure benefits the corporations conducting the cost benefit analysis when assessing the health impact of their chemicals, the costs of these chemicals are being externalized onto the public in the form of health care costs.

4. Allow public debate over the nomination of pesticide lobbyist, Islam Siddiqui for Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the office of the United States Trade Representative. As addressed in a letter sent to Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Charles Grassley of the Senate Finance Committee, Islam Siddiqui, nominated for Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the office of the United States Trade Representative, was formerly employed by CropLife America, whose firm challenged Michelle Obama’s organic garden, has consistently lobbied the U.S government to weaken international treaties governing the use and export of toxic chemicals such as PCBs, DDT and dioxins, and blocked international attempts to help regulate pesticides that increasingly linked to chronic skin and respiratory problems, birth defects and cancer in our community. Given that a growing body of scientific evidence supports the theory that chemicals in our food are contributing to the rise in health problems, particularly in children, the appointment of an industry lobbyist to export our challenged food system to the rest of the world may be in the best interest of agrichemical corporations but consideration should also be given to the health implications that these novel chemicals, proteins and allergens may have.

5. Encourage climate change advocates like Al Gore to discuss Pesticide Use by Big Ag and its Chemical Footprint: While speaking openly about the petroleum industry’s impact on global warming, leading environmental advocates like Al Gore have been quiet about the chemical contribution that the recent introduction of crops genetically engineered with pesticidal toxins play on global warming despite scientific evidence from the Royal Society of Chemistry highlighting their impact. Since the Clinton Administration’s introduction of biotech crops designed and engineered to both withstand increasing doses of weed killing chemicals and produce their own insecticides, new reports based on USDA data, show a 383 million pound increase in the chemicals being applied to these crops since their introduction in 1996. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, "growing biofuels is probably of no benefit and in fact is actually making the climate issue worse" given that glyphosate, being applied in increasing doses to these crops, breaks down into nitrogen.

6. Update the Consumer Protection and Food Allergen Labeling Act to inform consumers of these newly engineered corn allergens: The recent engineering of novel food proteins and toxins into the US food supply has enhanced profitability for the food industry by allowing commodities like corn to produce their own insecticides. As a result, corn is now considered an insecticide and regulated by the EPA .  For this same reason, this corn has been either banned or labeled in products in other developed countries because the new toxins and novel allergens that it contains have not yet been proven safe. Despite the lack of evidence, this corn is in the American food supply. The increase in the rate of food allergies as demonstrated in the December issue of Pediatrics and the growing number of people with this condition- whose bodies recognize food as "foreign" and launch inflammatory reaction in an effort to drive out these "foreign" food invaders, speaks to the need to update and amend the food allergen labeling act to label these newly engineered genetically enhanced proteins and allergens as governments around the world do.

7. Ask the SEC to join the Department of Justice in its investigation into trade practices in agrichemical industry. As the Department of Justice begins its investigation into the impact that Monsanto’s monopoly is having on farmers, their financial situation and the food supply, research out of the USDA highlights that the biotech industry is not delivering on what some are calling their "hype-to-reality ratio". As farmers are charged premiums for seeds that have been engineered to produce greater yields, research out of the USDA, Kansas State University shows that these products are not delivering as promised, directly impacting the cost structures of farmers in a razor to razorblade scenario. As farmers purchase genetically modified seeds in the hopes that they will increase yields and drive down cost structure and their dependency on weed killers, studies now suggest that since the introduction of the "razor", these biotech crops introduced 13 years ago, farmers are actually spending more on the "razorblade", the herbicides and weed killers required to manage them, driving farmers debt to asset ratios to record levels. Given that Monsanto’s CFO, Treasurer, Controller are all leaving the company by year end, the Securities and Exchange Commission could interview these three exiting executives and learn more about the financial predicaments of Big Ag’s customers, the farmers, and the greater ramifications that this monopoly will have on food prices.

8. Appoint a Children’s Health Advisor to serve on the USDA’s National School Lunch Program: The landscape of children’s health has changed. No longer are the American children guaranteed a healthy childhood, not in the face of the current rates of obesity, diabetes and allergies. Perhaps it is time that we follow the lead of governments in other developed countries and create a Cheif Advisor for Child and Youth Health whose responsibilities might include, but not be limited to, serving in an advisory capacity to the USDA on the National School Lunch Program. Under the USDA’s current budget for the National School Lunch Program of approximately $8.5 billion (in comparison the Pentagon’s 2009 budget $600 billion), less than a dollar is available per meal for the purchase of healthy food once overhead costs are taken out. Given that 1 in 3 American children now has allergies, ADHD, autism of asthma and according to an October 2008 study from the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 Fourth graders is expected to be insulin dependent by the time they reach adulthood. As a result, dietary concerns are becoming increasingly prevalent for the estimated 30.9 million children and approximately 102,000 schools and child care institutions that participate in the National School Lunch Program. Given that increasing scientific evidence points to the roles that environmental insults like synthetic growth hormones in milk and trans fats in processed foods are having on our health, investing in a children’s health advisor may provide long term benefits to the future of our health care system .

It’s our food system on the line.  And if our children are any indicator, our health and the economic burden that it presents are on the line, too.

Great News: Whole Foods Market to put Non-GMO Project Verified Seal on Products Using New Third-Party Standard

This photo is from a webcam in Times Square last Tuesday afternoon. Whole Foods coordinated display of the Non-GMO Project seal there and in Las Vegas to help start building brand recognition for the Non-GMO Project. It’s so exciting to finally have a positive way to engage people on the GMO issue!

Whole Foods Market® Partners with Non-GMO Project to Label Company’s Private Label Food Products Using New Third-Party Standard

Whole Foods Market, the leading natural and organic grocer, announced on July 7, 2009 a commitment to the Non-GMO Project -a non-profit collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed breeders and consumers – to use the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program (PVP) in connection with Whole Foods Market’s private label products. Whole Foods Market Encourages Other Retailers & Branded Product Manufacturers to Make Similar Commitment to Non-GMO Food Supply Chain.

The PVP is the nation’s first system designed to scientifically test whether a product has met a set of defined standards for the presence of genetically engineered organisms.

“From the moment GMOs were approved for use in the U.S., we recognized the need for transparency, but there was no definitive standard by which to evaluate or label products,” said Margaret Wittenberg, Whole Foods Market global vice president of quality standards. “We searched high and low for years for a way to do this and now, thankfully, the Non-GMO Project has answered that challenge by creating a standard and a practical system by which manufacturers may measure their products. At last, shoppers concerned about foods made with genetically modified ingredients will be able to make informed choices.”

Joe Dickson, Whole Foods Market quality standards coordinator and Non-GMO Project board member, comments: Why am I grinning ear-to-ear on this steamy hundred-degree day here in Austin, Texas?  The reason is the commitment of Whole Foods Markets to the Non-GMO Project and represents the culmination of a very long and complicated undertaking.

Non GMO Project

You’ll start to see the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal on products in the stores starting this fall. We are going to enroll our house brands – 365 Every Day Value and Whole Foods Market – in the project. In fact, a few products are already verified. A number of other manufacturers, including Eden Foods, Nature’s Path Organic and Lundberg Family Farms, have also had products verified under the standard. You can see the full list on the Non-GMO Project website.

Since they were first introduced, GMO crops have expanded continually so that they now make up an astonishingly large portion of American agriculture. According to the FDA, as much as 75 percent of processed food in the United States may contain components from genetically modified crops. Despite the abundance of products with genetically modified ingredients, a Pew Initiative study on Food and Biotechnology shows that 59 percent of Americans are unfamiliar with the issue of genetically modified ingredients in food.

What’s a GMO?

It’s simple: scientists combine the DNA of a plant with the DNA of something else and create a novel organism that has heretofore not existed in nature. The companies who make and sell the bioengineered crops will tell you all about the “exciting potential” of these crops to end hunger and create radical new super-nutritious foods. In reality, the GMO crops currently approved and marketed in the United States do one of two things: (1) make their own pesticides or (2) resist herbicides, so that farmers can spray an entire field with a strong chemical herbicide and kill everything but the GMO crop. Most of the U.S. corn, soy, canola and cotton is grown using one of these two technologies.

 
by Paul L. Nettles www.flickr.com, Creative Commons Rights

While Federal law requires organic producers to comply with certain non-GMO requirements identified in the USDA organic standards, there is no standard for labeling GMOs in non-organic products.

The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to allowing consumers to make informed choices and to working toward the sustained availability of non-GMO options. Whole Foods Market is a member of the group, which is a collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed breeders and consumers. Together these members have established a working standard and have developed North America’s first independent third-party Product Verification Program.

The PVP uses a process that combines on-site facility audits, document-based review and DNA testing to measure compliance with the standard. For a product to bear the seal it must undergo a process through which any ingredient at high risk for genetic contamination -soy or corn, for example- has been shown to meet the non-GMO standard through avoidance practices and testing.

The Non-GMO Project’s success is critical to the continued availability of non-GMO products in the U.S., and we hope you’ll join us in showing your support.

As you can imagine, the level of diligence involved will require an enormous amount of effort at every step in the manufacturing process,” said Joe Dickson. “The more participation we have in the program, the more rapidly the industry will realize efficiencies. Economies of scale will ultimately have a real and lasting impact on the available supply of non-GMO ingredients.”

Whole Foods Market invites the industry to join an educational webinar on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 1 p.m. CDT, to learn more about the Non-GMO Project and the PVP.  Webinar details are available at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/nongmoproject.

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