Organic Food News

December 3, 2012

GMO Food Fight Continues: I-522 Label it Washington

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Although a GMO labeling law narrowly lost in California, the fight has been renewed in Washington state.

I-522 the People's Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act would require mandatory labeling of GMOs. The initiative is gathering signatures; 241,153 valid signatures are required by 12/31/12.

We have a right to know what's in our food.

We have the right to an informed choice.
Polls consistently show that the vast majority of the public, typically more than ninety percent, wants to know if their food was produced using genetic engineering. Without disclosure, consumers of genetically engineered food unknowingly may violate their own dietary and religious restrictions.

GMOs are not proven safe and the long-term health risks on humans of genetically engineered foods have not been investigated adequately. Accumulating research has prompted a growing number of countries to require mandatory labeling.

49 countries have mandatory labeling laws, including China, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Russia, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Sweden and other nations in the European Union. Many have bans or other restrictions against GMO crops and foods.


All we need is one state to enact GMO labeling for the rest of us to benefit. Companies will have to spend extra money to create labels or stickers for only one state, so hopefully every GMO product would be labeled in every state if just one can pass a law.

The fight to label GMO food will prevail!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 14, 2012

San Juan County, Washington Bans GMO Crops

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Proposition 37, the GMO labeling of food in California, may have narrowly failed, but counties across the United States have responded by banning GMO agriculture through ordinances. Eight years ago, the county I live in became only the second county in the country to ban GMO crops. Now, San Juan County in Washington state has followed suit.

Nation of Change reports:

The concerned citizens of San Juan County were able to pass what is known as Initiative Measure No. 2012-4, which actually bans the growth of genetically modified organisms within the county.
 And it doesn't just affect traditional GMO crops.

According to the writing within the legislation, the Initiative actually protects against the growth and cultivation of any genetically modified organism -- even animals which have been genetically modified. This specific wording is key when considering that the act of genetic modification is no longer specific to crops. While it is true that crops have been the major focus of GMO cultivation, with upwards of 90 plus percent of corn now reportedly being altered, new disturbing and outlandish biotech projects that twist the genetic coding of more advanced life are becoming much more frequent.

Unfortunately, county ordinances don't hold much weight in issues of private property rights.  My county also has a ban on pesticide use in agriculture, but when a local vineyard starting using Round-up, I found out it was unenforceable.   I hope the San Juan initiative holds more weight. 

Image:  
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 9, 2012

Navitas Naturals Organic Freeze-Dried Coconut Water Powder Perfect for Backpacking

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Although snow is now falling in the mountains and backpacking season is pretty much over here in northern California, I am really excited to try a new product on the trail.

Navitas Naturals Organic Freeze-Dried Coconut Water Powder:

Designed for on-the-go hydration, Navitas Naturals Coconut Water Powder is made from the juices found inside fresh, young organic coconuts. The electrolyte-rich liquid inside the coconut has been removed and freeze-dried to preserve the flavor and nutrients in the powder, which is certified organic, raw, vegan, gluten-free and kosher.

This innovative organic drink powder provides 5 key electrolytes to support rapid hydration: sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Each 35-calorie serving contains more potassium than a banana, and it provides many other essential minerals and vitamins.

This powder will be ideal for backpacking, when hydration is key, as well as replenishing electrolytes. Furthermore, since it is a powder, it will not increase the weight of my pack by much, which is why coconut water is not part of my typical diet when on the trail.

Coconut water is so good for you, especially when you have been sick or physically tired.  I am thankful there is now another organic option.


disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 28, 2012

Prop 37: California's Right to Know Ad

 

Who is behind the No on 37 campaign?

 

Monsanto

, the top contributor to No on 37 with $4.2 million in donations, was a primary manufacturer of Agent Orange, as was Dow Chemical, which has contributed $1.2 million to No on 37.


Agent Orange was the code name for herbicides used by the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War. U.S. soldiers were told that it was "perfectly safe" and often wore little protective clothing when applying it, as shown in our ad.

 

Agent Orange is now linked with various types of cancer and other diseases.


DuPont

, the second largest funder of No on 37 with just over $4 million in contributions, was the first major manufacturer of DDT.

 

DDT was marketed as "harmless to humans" but has since been linked to breast cancer, diabetes, reproductive disorders and other hazards to human health. DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972 due to health and environmental concerns.


Tobacco industry operatives 

are key players in the No on 37 Campaign, including:

 

No on 37 consultants, MB Public Affairs, worked for Altria (formerly Phillip Morris Companies, Inc.).

 

Donations to No on 37 go to the law firm of Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk. Thomas Hiltachk was a key operative in the tobacco industry's misinformation campaign in the 1980s and 1990s, and is also:

o   

Treasurer of the No on Prop 37 campaign.

o   

Architect of efforts to dismantle California's global warming law.

o   

Author of union-busting Prop 32 on the November ballot which LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik described as the "fraud to end all frauds"

Also see: Big Tobacco Shills Trying to Stop GMO Labeling in California.

 

Henry Miller

 of the Hoover Institution, a lead spokesman for No on 37, has called for the reintroduction of DDT in the U.S. and is linked to atobacco industry front group that worked to discredit science on tobacco health risks.

 

Consider the Source: No on 37 is a Campaign of Lies

MYTH: "The World Health Organization, American Medical Association, National Academy of Sciences and other respected medical and health organizations all conclude that genetically engineered foods are safe."

 Henry Miller, Hoover Institute fellow, in an op-ed in San Francisco Chronicle and highlighted in a No on 37 press release issued Friday, August 24, 2012

TRUTH: None of these organizations has concluded genetically engineered foods are safe.

 The American Medical Association and World Health Organization/United Nations have said mandatory safety studies should be required -- a standard that the U.S. fails to meet. Numerous studies in the scientific literature suggest genetic engineering is linked to allergies and other adverse health effects. Despite these scientific warnings, the U.S. federal government requires no safety studies for genetically engineered foods, and no long-term human health studies have been conducted. 

National Academy of Sciences report concludes that products of genetic engineering technology "carry the potential for introducing unintended compositional changes that may have adverse effects on human health."

MYTH: Proposition 37 will raise the cost of groceries by "hundreds of dollars" per year.


TRUTH: Disclosing the presence of genetically engineered ingredients on food labels will not force food companies to raise the cost of groceries

. In a recent study of the economic impact of Proposition 37, Joanna Shepherd Bailey, Ph.D., Professor at Emory University School of Law, concluded: "Consumers will likely see no increases in prices as a result of the relabeling required." 


MYTH: Proposition 37 will "ban the sale of thousands of groceries"

 

TRUTH: Proposition 37 does not ban genetically engineered foods

; it merely requires that they be labeled with the phrase "Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering."

 

MYTH: Proposition 37 will result in "shakedown lawsuits."

 

TRUTH: Proposition 37 will enable consumers to make informed choices about the food we're eating and feeding our children. 

The lawsuits argument is a red herring. Food companies accurately label for calories, fat content and other information required by law; likewise they will abide by the requirements of Prop 37. According to a legal analysis by James Cooper, JD, PhD, of George Mason University School of Law, Proposition 37 is unlikely to result in frivolous lawsuits.

 

MYTH: Prop. 37 would prohibit processed foods from being marketed as "natural." 

 

TRUTH: Proposition 37 applies only to genetically engineered foods, not other foods. Processed foods such as canned olives could still be marketed as "natural" as long as the food is not genetically engineered. See legal analysis by Joseph Sandler of the law firm Sandler, Reiff, Young and Lamb. See more information about this red herring storyline. 

Via:  http://www.carighttoknow.org/

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 22, 2012

CA Prop 37: Which Organic Companies Support GMO Labeling?

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In November, voters in California will have a chance to vote on Proposition 37:  Right to Know Label Genetically Engineered Food.  It is surprising and shocking to see many "organic" companies on the wrong side of the fence in opposition to GMO labeling. 
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 29, 2011

How are we going to feed the world without destroying the environment?

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 27, 2011

2012 California Ballot Initiative: Label GMOs

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In the signature gathering stage, the 2012 California ballot initiative to label GMOs is underway:

WANT TO HELP MAKE GMO HISTORY?
Getting an initiative on the California ballot is a timed adventure. Once we turn the language of the initiative in, the state has it for anywhere from 40 to 60ish days or so. Once we get it back, we have 150 days to gather 504,760 qualifying signatures. All experts tell us that we should count on gathering 750,000 - 800,000 to make sure we have enough that make it.

This is a grassroots movement to ensure safety in our food supply.
The issue of GM food safety was first discussed at a meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and biotech representatives in 1990. The "substantial equivalence" concept was proposed in early 1996. The adoption of the concept of substantial equivalence permitted marketing of new foods without any safety or toxicology tests as long as they were not grossly different in chemical composition to foods already on the market. [FDA GRAS proposal]

To decide if a modified product is substantially equivalent, the product is tested by the manufacturer for unexpected changes in a limited set of components such as toxins, nutrients or allergens that are present in the unmodified food. If these tests show no significant difference between the modified and unmodified products, then no further food safety testing is required.

Because these genetically modified food products have not been FULLY tested for their effects on our bodies or the environment, we demand that they be labeled. We have a RIGHT TO KNOW what's in our food.This is a campaign about the right to INFORMED CHOICE. We want Genetically Modified Food LABELED. We have a right to choose what we put into our bodies, and a right to choose to not participate in a live food EXPERIMENT.


It is ridiculous and reckless to rely on manufacturers to test for the safety of GMO crops. Consumers have a right to know!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 5, 2011

Really Natural Books: American Wasteland

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How much food do you throw away each time you clean out your refrigerator? I'm ashamed to admit it is usually quite a lot in my household. Not only is this wasted money, it is wasted resources that could feed hungry people. Add the amount of food wasted on farms, grocery stores, and restaurants to be astounded that Americans actually dispose of nearly half of all food produced.

American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) by Jonathan Bloom is thorough exploration of food waste and how we can improve our inefficient ways.

Since the Great Depression and the world wars, the American attitude toward food has gone from a "use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" patriotic and parsimonious duty to an orgy of "grab-and-go" where food's fetish and convenience qualities are valued above sustainability or nutrition. Journalist Bloom follows the trajectory of America's food from gathering to garbage bin in this compelling and finely reported study, examining why roughly half of our harvest ends up in landfills or rots in the field. He accounts for every source of food waste, from how it is picked, purchased, and tossed in fear of being past inscrutable "best by" dates. Bloom's most interesting point is psychological: we have trained ourselves to regard food as a symbol of American plenty that should be available at all seasons and times, and in dizzying quantities. "Current rates of waste and population growth can't coexist much longer," he warns and makes smart suggestions on becoming individually and collectively more food conscious "to keep our Earth and its inhabitants physically and morally healthy."

Bloom's book gives much food for thought, so once again I will vow to waste less food while feeding my family.  From saving the planet to saving our pocketbooks, there are so many reasons to read Bloom's book and amend our ways. 

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 16, 2011

Armed FDA Raids on Raw Milk Farmers [video]

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

June 28, 2011

Will Congress Limit Antibiotic Use in Livestock?

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The overuse of antibiotics is a real health concern as disease resistance becomes more common in humans. The use of antibiotics in dairy and meat are also of concern, as living conditions of factory farms are so unhealthy animals need regular injections to stay "healthy".   Finally, Congress is looking at the problem.

Treehugger reports:

It's a problem that's only getting worse with the expanded overuse of antibiotics. It's this practice that a Senate bill is looking to limit with the re-introduction of The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA).

According to Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the primary sponsor for PAMTA, reported on Civil Eats. "[t]he effectiveness of antibiotics for humans is jeopardized when they are used to fatten healthy pigs or speed the growth of chickens. This is a basic food safety initiative that would phase out the misuse of these drugs so that food in supermarkets across America will not spread strains of drug-resistant bacteria."...

According to the FDA, 80 percent of the antibiotics produced in this country are used in animal agriculture. This amount is estimated to be more than four times the amount of drugs used to treat human illness.


Wow, that's a crazy statistic!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

June 23, 2011

Deadly German E. Coli Sprout Outbreak NOT Linked to Organically Grown

sprouts.jpgDeadly outbreaks of E. coli in our food is scary considering you need to eat to survive and what you eat can kill you. The current crisis in Germany was originally linked to organic sprouted seeds, but German officials no longer believe that is the case. The Cornucopia Institute reports:

One of the suspected factors in this tragic outbreak of foodborne illness (now preliminarily cleared) was sprouted seeds from an organic farm. There's a history of pathogenic contamination of fresh food, including sprouts. Correcting statements made over the weekend, the German government stated on Monday, June 6 that it has not found conclusive evidence that the deadly E. coli outbreak can be linked to sprouts from an organic farm.

Regardless of which food turns out to have been contaminated with deadly E. coli, it is important to remember that the underlying cause of new, highly toxic strains of foodborne pathogens seems to be the relatively new practice of raising beef and dairy cattle in highly concentrated factory farm conditions, instead of on pasture...

Moreover, studies have shown that organic farms and organic foods are safer than conventional foods. Not only are they much less likely to be contaminated with chemical residues, pesticides, and fumigants, they are also not as likely to be contaminated with manure...

Recall data from the US Food and Drug Administration shows that there have been 10 recalls of sprouts in the past 2.5 years (since April 2009), and 9 were because conventional sprouts tested positive for foodborne pathogens (90% conventional, 10% organic). Several outbreaks in the US in the past couple of years have been linked to sprouts, but none were linked directly to organic sprouts.


Yet another reason it is safer to eat organically grown food.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 17, 2011

14 States Want to Label GMO Foods

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Do you live in one of the 14 states with legislation pending that would label GMO foods? I do. California AB 88 specifically targets GE fish, but it is a sign of consumer sentiment regarding all types of GMO food.

Unfortunately, previous attempts to label GMO food have failed. The Organic Consumers Association explains:

When questions are not misleading, every poll shows the vast majority in the US want GMOs labeled. So why don't we have labeling here in the United States? The short answer is that the FDA made policy in 1992 that stands today. Even though there is clear evidence acquired through the Freedom Of Information Act that their scientists knew about possible health problems when they officially established this position, in a letter dated April 12, 2011, they still state that they are not aware of any data that shows genetically engineered food to be any different than non-GMO food and that there is no data that suggests genetically engineered foods are not safe. They don't consider long term effect or the unknown important. End of story...


Oregon tried a labeling initiative in 2002. They were pummeled at the ballot because of a deceptive media campaign. We cannot allow that to happen again. It won't if we unite as a movement and get support from the whole country. We can expect biotech to feel threatened by this and put all their resources into fighting it. They know that what we do in CA, MI and WA will impact the whole country: this is a national issue being fought at a state level. We need the nation's support.

Image:  Attribution Some rights reserved by AZRainman

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 10, 2011

GMO Warning: Your Natural Cereal is Genetically Modified!

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Natural and genetically modified sound like antonyms to me; however, many "natural" cereals contain ingredients that have been altered from Mother Nature's design. Organic Consumer's Association explains:

Does "natural" mean non-GMO? Not likely. Many breakfast cereals labeled natural are likely to contain ingredients from genetically modified corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets.

This was a key finding from a survey of natural cereal manufacturers conducted by The Organic & Non-GMO Report. Several natural cereal manufacturers admitted that their products may contain GM ingredients, one manufacturer refused to comment, and three are putting their products through a non-GMO verification program to avoid the use of GMOs.

While GM ingredients are prohibited in certified organic food products such as cereals, "natural" products have no such requirements.

"Many natural products use GM ingredients"

Four natural cereal manufacturers issued statements saying that their products may contain GMOs. Malt-O-Meal, which manufactures Mom's Best Cereals, said "many all-natural products use some genetically modified ingredients, particularly corn. We respect that some people object to GMO ingredients for a variety of reasons, and we're continually researching and testing alternative ingredients that will make our cereals appealing to more people."

Quaker Oats, which manufactures Mother's Nature Cereals, said that because it buys bulk grains such as corn, soy, and canola "there is always a possibility that those grains may contain GMO material due to cross contact during manufacturing and transportation."


Even Kashi, a brand we have reviewed before here on Really Natural, will not guarantee there "natural" cereals are free of GMOs. I'm glad we can still safely enjoy our organic Kashi cereals!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 16, 2010

FDA Wants to Fast Track Genetically Engineered Salmon Without Consumer Labeling


Via Center for Food Safety:

With your support, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) has successfully stopped the commercialization of genetically engineered (GE) crops such as alfalfa, wheat, rice, sugar beets, and pharmaceutical crops. Now we are faced with a new challenge - the pending approval of GE salmon. Through our legal petitions and pressure on federal agencies and our government, we've been able to keep this hazardous new fish out of our waters and off our plates for the past ten years. Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)--under serious pressure from the biotech industry--is now set to approve GE salmon, making this the first GE animal ever approved for human consumption.

These GE fish pose serious risks to wild and native salmon and our marine environment and could potentially outcompete, and wipe-out, any remaining native salmon populations. To make matters worse, the human health impacts of eating GE fish are completely unknown.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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