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Green Living Healthy Living Toxin Alert!

Why Labeling GMOs in Our Food Supply Needs to Happen

www.mypicshares.com

On November 6th in the state of CA, voters will be able to choose whether mandatory labeling should be instituted on products containing genetically-modified (GM) foods.

Transparency in our food system is something we haven’t had in many decades. Big agricultural and chemical companies have seen to it that  consumers are kept in the dark about the products and foods they eat. The knowledge of how our food is produced is something we had some years ago, and must get back.

Since the Industrial Revolution, our food system has become more and more tainted with chemicals, additives, and preservatives that seek to improve the bottom line for food companies – profit.

There are plenty of laws in our government that were created for the food system to “keep it safe”. Our food authorities, government and politicians call our food system the “safest in the world”. And yet food recalls are numerous and only increasing, and food related illness continues to surface with alarming frequency.  What isn’t accounted for is the actual safety of the food we eat.

And our commercial food system is far from safe.

We have witnessed food system safety becoming more complex and full of regulations, but these are not protective of our health or the environment. Food safety laws are issued by a government that protects corporations while neglecting the consumer and the small, sustainable farmers who do things right.

This is because our government is bought and paid for by the most powerful corporations, and regardless of how many laws they break or health they destroy, they continue on, reckless and unchecked. They make money while our population becomes sicker and sicker.

Here are a list of some of the usual arguments from the No on Proposition 37 side of the debate and proponents of GMO technology, and the reasons why these arguments don’t hold water:

Opponent claim #1:

No credible medical or scientific sources agree that GMOs are inherently dangerous

Except these organizations:

  • American Academy of Environmental Medicine
  • American Medical Students Association
  • California Nurses Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility, California chapters
There are plenty of other medical and scientific experts who have found these substances to be dangerous to our health:

Source for those names not linked, Institute for Responsible Technology

Watch Genetic Roulette for more information on the dangers of GMOs (available to watch for FREE online through October 31st, 2012). 

Opponent claim #2:

Cost of labeling would be too high on all fronts

The idea that the cost of labeling would be too high is simply untrue.  According to Alliance for Natural Health, Joanna Shepherd-Bailey, PhD, tenured law professor from Emory University School of Law prepared a report which showed that labeling GM foods would most likely not increase the cost for the consumer. Labeling has not increased costs in the 50+ other countries where labeling is mandatory, so why should it be any different here?

Also, labeling changes are made on a regular basis, and no one seems to be objecting to that activity raising costs for the consumer. It will take 18 months for this measure to be instituted in the state of CA, so by that time, labels will likely have changed anyway.

It has also been said that it would produce more litigation from consumers who want to sue for possible damages from consuming these foods. This is ironic considering that in various states where labeling has been discussed, Vermont for example, the industrial food industry has actually threatened the state with litigation if the decision to label GM foods was made (other states have received similar threats).

In her report, Joanna Shepherd-Bailey showed why this claim is also untrue. From Alliance for Natural Health:

“Shepherd-Bailey shows that this is also false. She estimates that the cost to the state will be negligible: the annual costs for processing and hearing cases should be less than $50,000. And while there will be administrative costs to the state as its Department of Health begins to implement certain provisions of the law, her analysis found that these administrative costs will be less than $1 million—that is, less than 1 cent for each person living in the state of California—causing the department’s expenditures to increase by no more than 0.03% and total state expenditures to increase by just 0.0008%. That one cent is all it will cost for critical health information to be made available to the many consumers who want to know what is in the food they feed their families.”

Opponent claim #3:

Labeling is unnecessary because GMOs are safe (so says Monsanto, et al)

Monsanto uses the statement of “substantial equivalence” (created by former Monsanto lawyer, Michael Taylor, who is currently head of the FDA) to reason why these seeds are really no different than the non-GMO variety. Monsanto performs “assessements” on animals and plants which they claim allegedly have shown how GMOs are essentially the same as their non-GMO counterparts. To this date, no valid long-term health studies or safety testing has been done to examine toxicity, antibiotic resistance, and functional characteristics.

So then, why does Monsanto sue farmers when their seeds blow over or are transported into neighboring, non-GMO fields, and why do they have patent laws on these seeds? And why do they not allow farmers to “seed save”? These are all contradictions that many consumers may not catch, but they are very important and show the lies and deception of Monsanto and other seed companies quite well.

The company producing a product for the consumer market says that it is perfectly safe. But that’s biased…really, what else would they be expected to say? They aren’t going to admit that perhaps there are some problems, testing needs to be done, or that people are getting sick from consuming GM foods.

Have you noticed that most entities, organizations, and companies who oppose Proposition 37 and labeling have a vested interest in keeping labels off of food: it’s called making profits. 

Here is a partial list of commercial companies and the money they’ve donated to defeat Proposition 37:

  • Monsanto $7,100,500.00
  • E.I. DuPont $4,900,000.00
  • BASF Plant science $2,000,000.00
  • Bayer $2,000,000.00
  • Dow $2,000,000.00
  • SYNGENTA CORPORATION $2,000,000.00
  • PepsiCo $1,716,300.00
  • Nestle $1,169,400.00
  • Coca Cola $1,164,400.00
  • ConAgra Foods $1,076,700.00
  • General Mills $908,200.00
  • Del Monte $674,100.00
  • Kellogg’s $632,500.00
  • Kraft $551,148.25
  • H.J. Heinz $500,000.00
  • Hershey $395,100.00
  • J.M. Smucker $388,000.00
  • Mars $376,650.00
  • Council for Biotechnology Information $375,000.00
  • Grocery Manufacturers Assoc. $375,000.00
  • Hormel Foods $374,300.00
  • Bumble Bee Foods $368,500.00
  • Ocean Spray $362,100.00
  • Sara Lee $343,600.00
  • Bimbo Bakeries $338,300.00
  • Pinnacle Foods $266,100.00
  • Dean Foods $253,950.00
  • Biotechnology Industry Organization $252,000.00
  • Campbell’s Soup $250,000.00
  • McCormick. $248,200.00
  • Smithfield $228,991.85
  • Cargill $226,846.30
  • Rich Products $225,537.15
  • Abbott Nutrition $187,600.00
  • Dole Packaged Foods $171,261.61
  • Knouse Foods $135,831.53
  • WM. Wrigley Jr. $120,798.99
  • Sunny Delight $96,952.57
  • Bunge North America $83,239.32
  • Land O’Lakes $80,835.48
  • Hero North America $79,073.93
  • Solae $61,207.43
  • California Grocers Assoc. $56,000.00
  • Mccain Foods $52,295.63
  • Flowers Foods $46,685.32
  • Welch Foods $44,248.45
  • Godiva Chocolates $41,787.83
  • Starlite Media $41,785.00
  • Clement Pappas & Co. $32,493.78
  • Clorox $32,114.83
  • Tree Top $29,338.65
  • C. H. Guenther & Son $24,189.18
  • Faribault Foods $21,162.30
  • Morton Salt $20,957.42
  • Reily Foods $13,214.52
  • Goya De Puerto Rico, Inc. $11,350.69
  • Inventure Foods $11,343.80
  • Bruce Foods $10,196.38
  • Coca Cola Enterprises $10,000.00
  • Sargento $7,185.27
  • Idahoan Foods $7,181.81
  • Goya Great Lakes $6,829.65
  • Croplife American $5,000.00
  • El Super (Bodega Latina Group) $5,000.00
  • Hirzel Canning $4,709.14
  • Bristol Farms $2,500.00
  • Holiday Quality Foods/Sav More Foods $2,500.00
  • California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corp. $2,050.00
  • House Autry Mills $1,077.27
  • Four K Farms $1,000.00
  • JMR Farms $1,000.00
  • Tri_Cal $1,000.00
  • Nutricion Fundamental $500.00
  • Kellog Company $250.00
  • Richelieu Foods $165.80

Here is a partial list of “Natural” and “Organic” brands that also oppose Proposition 37:

  • Horizon
  • Silk
  • R.W. Knudsen (subsidiary of Smuckers)
  • Santa Cruz Organic
  • Kashi
  • Larabar (subsidiary of General Mills)
  • Alexia
  • Cascadian Farm
  • Odwalla
  • Honest Tea (subsidiary of Coca Cola)
  • Horizon Organic (subsidiary of Dean Foods)
Please look for alternatives to these brand names who are trying to defeat Proposition 37 and our right to know what’s in our food.

Better yet, buy your foods from local, sustainable farmers that avoid GMOs altogether. This way, you have complete control over what’s in your food, instead of letting a company decide that for you.

If Monsanto is so certain these products are safe, why wouldn’t they be proud to issue labels on them? All this, from the company which brought you Agent Orange and DDT many years ago…and claimed they were “safe”.

Now, they are producing our food.

Opponent claim #4:

No real studies have been done to disprove the safety of GM foods

Proponents of GMOs argue that there have been no “real” studies conducted which show GMOs are unsafe.

But there have been some very important studies done to show the damage GMOs do to health. A decade long feeding study of rats conducted in Norway found that when these animals were fed genetically-altered Bt corn, they became fatter and consumed more. They were also much less able to digest proteins because of changes sustained in their intestines. Researchers also found that the rats experienced modifications to their immune systems.

Recently, there was also a study conducted in France on rats which were fed a lifetime diet of GM corn or were exposed to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship product, Roundup), showed the development of massive tumors and sustained organ damage.

Doctors and practitioners are reporting the improvement or disappearance of health issues when their patients stop eating GMOs.  There have also been links made between food allergies and GMOs.

The argument that farmers have been hybridizing plants for centuries and those have been perfectly safe is also used. What’s not acknowledged by proponents of genetic technology is that there is a vast difference between hybridization of crops and purposefully inserting genes from one organism into another in a laboratory…and have also been engineered to resist the applications of toxic pesticides to the crops. Neither of those activities could ever, by any stretch of the imagination, be termed as safe or natural. 

The many lies of the chemical and big agricultural industries

There are many myths about GMOs that are propagated by the industry. As an example, did you know that the herbicides are actually causing the birth of superweeds that cannot be killed with previously used amounts of herbicides? Did you know that the corn crops are now susceptible to the pests they are engineered to resist – the rootworm? Not so different than the situation with the overuse of antibiotics, the continued use of herbicides and pesticides that are causing resistance in weeds and pests will only worsen as time goes on. Does that sound safe to you?

Read about the other myths of GMOs such as the fact that they are supposed to feed the world, increase higher crop yields, and others.  Here’s a report by Dr. Vandana Shiva showing why these claims made by the chemical industry are untrue.

It’s also important to know that the opposition might be slapped with a criminal charge relating to their use of an official-looking FDA-approval seal on a direct mail piece,  stating that the FDA expressed the view that a labeling policy such as the CA labeling measure is “inherently misleading”.

Legal advisors to the campaign have commented that not only is the No on Proposition 37 committee’s use of the FDA’s seal a violation of federal criminal law, but it is also unlawful for any agency such as the FDA to show a preference on campaign propositions.

This is not the first fabrication by the opposition. Read about what they did with Stanford University where they misrepresented the school with an ad and also The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. There is also the report which came out in September from Stanford University claiming that organic is no better than conventional foods, funded by big agriculture and biotech sources. This move is a clear manipulation by the industries to convince consumers to avoid buying organics in favor of conventional and GM foods.

The bottom line is, labeling is a threat to these chemical companies’ livelihood: companies and organizations who have already thrown over $35 million dollars at anti-Proposition 37 marketing, ads, and opposition to defeat the consumers’ right to know about the food they are eating.  And they will stop at nothing, including telling far-fetched lies about why this initiative is bogus.

How you can make a difference:

The situation with our food system is dire. We need your help to change the future of our food, health, and planet.

  • Please support the California Right to Know labeling initiative. If you live in CA, please vote YES on Proposition 37.
  • If you live in another state, please watch for upcoming legislation in your state for this same measure. Currently, 23 other states are positioning themselves to adopt similar measures after the election occurs in CA.
  • Help by educating others. Share this post with everyone you know.
  • Avoid buying processed foods, the majority of which contain GMOs (yes, even products labeled “organic” and “natural” foods)
  • Buy from local, sustainable farmers who use safe, traditional farming practices and ask questions when you buy
  • Read 4 ways to avoid GMOs in the foods you buy
  • Visit the Institute for Responsible Technology, Millions Against Monsanto for more information

I live in Idaho, which is one of the states that is planning a labeling initiative for the future. I’ve already spent a great deal of time educating the public about this issue. You can be sure I’ll be there on the front lines when our initiative comes in 2014.

Healthy Living Real Food Toxin Alert!

Trans-Fat Free…Does This Mean Healthy?

www.mypicshares.com

Do you look for labels on foods to buy that say “trans-fat free”? If so, you could be falling into a trap of believing the food manufacturer telling you that a food is healthy when it is actually not.

This is a common problem with processed foods, where health claims on the label deceive the consumer into thinking the food is a healthy choice when in reality, that is not actually the case.

Many products containing unhealthy oils are lurking in the grocery store – crackers, breads, pretzels, chips, rice cakes, cookies, desserts, sauces, salad dressings, and broths, and soups just to name a few. Other establishments which advertise the “trans-fat free” term are fast-food restaurants. Many of these companies are responding to consumer concerns to a food supply that is riddled with toxic products by trying to assure the public that their foods are now healthier than they were before.

Many of these products – even those that are not “deep-fried” contain canola, soybean, cottonseed, or some other type of vegetable oil that becomes a trans-fat during processing. Most people assume that if something does not specifically read “hydrogenated”, it is healthy. These oils are high in polyunsaturated fats which are delicate and become damaged during processing, which includes deodorization and high temperatures.

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, consumption of canola oil can cause health issues:

“Canola oil, processed from a hybrid form of rape seed, is particularly rich in fatty acids containing three double bonds and the shortening can contain as much as 50% trans fats. Trans fats of a particularly problematical form are also formed during the deodorization of canola oil, although they are not indicated on labels for the liquid oil.”

Another issue with canola oil is that much of it originates from genetically-engineered plant developed in Canada from the Rapeseed Plant. The way it appears on the shelf in the store is not its naturally-occurring substance from nature. It is a commercially-produced product from the industrial waste industry. Read more about the heavy processing and deodorization that occurs with oils like canola on the Weston A. Price web site.

Soybean oil is similarly processed, and also contains nutrient-inhibitors in this form which prevent the absorption of nutrients in the body.  Consumption of soy in anything except fermented form (miso or tempeh) can cause the following health issues:

  • thyroid malfunction
  • reproductive health problems, including infertility or interrupted sexual development
  • cancer

Soy contains potent enzyme inhibitors responsible for blocking the function of trypsin and various digestive enzymes necessary to absorb food.  Cooking does not entirely neutralize these substances. The result is chronic nutritional deficiencies in minerals and amino acid uptake, as well as digestive health disorders. It also contains high levels of phytic acid or phytates. Although this naturally-occurring acid is also present in various foods such as grains, corn, and nuts, it actually prevents uptake in the intestinal tract of critical minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and in particular, zinc.  Although many of these foods do contain these minerals, the presence of phytic acid prevents those from being absorbed.

From Weston A. Price:

“In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer. The soybean also contains hemaglutinin, a clot promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. Trypsin inhibitors and hemaglutinin have been rightly labled “growth suppressant substances.” They are deactivated during the process of fermentation. In precipitated products, enzyme inhibitors concentrate in the soaking liquid rather than the curd. Thus, in tofu and bean curd, these enzyme inhibitors are reduced in quantity, but not completely eliminated. “

All of the “vegetable oils” are high in polyunsaturated fats which are prone to oxidation and thus easily damaged and become rancid by processing, heat, and light. Read about the origination of cottonseed oil products and why it is so unhealthy to consume here.

The healthiest oils and fats to consume are those eaten by traditional civilizations throughout history:

  • cold pressed, extra-virgin olive oil (can be used on lower heat)
  • cold pressed, extra virgin coconut oil and refined coconut oil (can be used on high heat)
  • cold-pressed flax-seed oil (do not heat this oil)
  • real butter from grass-fed cows (great for cooking – saturated fats are very stable and healthy to consume)
  • lard or tallow from healthy animals not raised on antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and other chemicals (also great for cooking)
  • unprocessed palm oil from a sustainable source – check with the manufacturer to be certain

Saturated fats are extremely important to our health. Read about the benefits of real fats in this post.

Only on occasion should you consume the following: organic or sustainable-produced non-GMO (genetically modified) oils that are cold-processed such as grapeseed, sunflower, safflower, and nut oils such as pumpkin seed, walnut, almond, and macadamia.  In many cases, it is becoming harder to find versions of these oils that are not genetically-modified, so use caution.

These oils are polyunsaturated and contain higher levels of Omega 6 essential fatty acids. While we do need small amounts of these in our diets, the Western diet typically contains a too-high ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s. Concentrate on getting the Omega 3 levels up and Omega 6 levels down. These oils should not be used in cooking, but eaten raw. The delicate composition of the polyunsaturated fats can become damaged and altered when heat is applied.

When you go shopping, remember the best foods are always whole, real foods. Oils such as canola, soybean, cottonseed and others are engineered foods that contribute to health problems when consumed such as heart disease, weight gain, high blood pressure, mal-absorption of nutrients, and other issues.

Trans fats are hidden in a variety of processed and fortified products. When in doubt, make foods from scratch – especially foods like salad dressings. You can mix your own oils at home with different types of vinegars, spices, fruits, salt, pepper, and garlic for fantastic flavor and health at the same cost as bottled dressings.

Suggested reading:

The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla T. Daniel, Ph.D, CCN

The Oiling of America – Sally Fallon Morell

Want more information on real, healthy, traditional fats?

The Importance of Dietary Fats

Do You Eat Butter or Margarine for Health?