Category Archives: Genetically Modified Soy

GMO Inside needs our help getting GMOs properly labeled or completely out of our breakfast cereals

FoodFacts.com is aware of our community’s strong feelings regarding the genetically modified ingredients in our food supply. We know how important to is to you to educate yourself, shop carefully, and stay aware of the latest developments in the GMO controversy. When we saw this information today, we knew our community needed to know the details of how they can lend a hand in the ongoing battle over GMO labeling.

GMO Inside is a group devoted to the rights of food consumers to know if the foods they are purchasing contain genetically modified ingredients. They have announced that they are calling on Kellogg’s and General Mills regarding the GMO ingredients in their breakfast cereals and effectively start over with consumers by labeling or removing those ingredients from their products. It’s called the “Fresh Start” action and you can help to move these breakfast cereal giants in the right direction.

During the month of January at http://gmoinside.org/take-action/ , GMO Inside needs all of us to to sign petitions, phone both of these companies to request non-GMO products, and comment accordingly on the Facebook profiles of each company and their brands. For Kellogg’s, the brands include Corn Flakes, POPS, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes and Special K. They are also the manufacturer of MorningStar Farms products and Keebler. General Mills boasts Lucky Charms, Cheerios, Chex and Kix as well as the Pillsbury and Betty Crocker brands. There are plenty more, these are just examples for both companies.

In addition to the effort to get the brands to label or remove GMO ingredients, GMO inside is also asking both brands to withhold funding from any opposition to the new Washington State ballot initiative for labeling GMO ingredients. This will come up for a vote during the next election season. It is important to note that both Kellogg’s and General Mills are selling their products in Europe, WITHOUT GMO ingredients.

The GMO Inside “Fresh Start” initiative has already gained over 5,000 signatures on their petition.

FoodFacts.com and GMO Inside share the same philosophies on the controversial topic of GMO ingredients. GMOs have never been proven to be safe for consumers. We find new studies constantly that raise serious issues about health issues that may be linked to genetically modified foods. And in addition, we are aware that the planting of GMO crops has actually increased the use of the pesticides and herbicides, proving harmful for farmers worldwide.

We urge our community to take action and visit the GMO Inside link to support this very important initiative.
Read more: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fresh-start-for-2013-national-coalition-calls-on-us-cereal-giants-to-take-gmos-out-of-our-breakfasts-2013-01-17

The power of social media … Saying no to GMOs on the Cheerios Facebook page

FoodFacts.com definitely considers this story food for thought. It appears that consumers who are staunchly against GMOs and avidly for GMO labeling on food products have paid more than a bit of attention to the Facebook Cheerios page. They are expressing their extreme disapproval for the non-labeling of GMO ingredients in the popular General Mills’ product.

The General Mills’ Cheerios Facebook page was intended to be a social media outlet for consumers to share their childhood memories of Cheerios. Let’s remember that regardless of ingredients, Cheerios were and still are the first “finger food” that most pediatricians recommend for babies/toddlers. They’re actually included in evaluations for the Pincer Grasp (the incredibly important physical achievement for young toddlers that involves being able to pick up a small object between the thumb and index finger). Do a search in Google images for Pincer Grasp. Most of the images that turn up in the search will, in fact, involve Cheerios. Combine all that with the heart-healthy marketing campaigns and the little cartoon bees for the “Honey Nut” variety and it really isn’t so unusual that Cheerios is an incredibly popular brand here in the U.S.

But the power of social media can show its force on even the most popular of brands. It appears that late in November anti-GMO posters hijacked the Cheerios Facebook page. It seems that GMOInside – a coalition of organizations was somehow behind the efforts to inundate the Cheerios Facebook page with comments from Anti-GMO consumers.

General Mills contributed $1.1 million to the efforts to defeat Proposition 37 in California – the proposed bill to require the labeling of GMO ingredients in California’s food supply. While General Mills’ contribution was less than those of many other companies.

The floodgates opened when General Mills promoted a smartphone app that asked users to tell them what the Cheerios brand meant to them. They printed the comments in the classic Cheerios typeface and put them up on the Facebook page. But GMOInside asked its followers to send messages to General Mills via that same app.

So if you visit the Cheerios Facebook page right now, you’ll see posts from consumers telling General Mills they aren’t buying Cheerios anymore because General Mills isn’t labeling the product appropriately.

The power of social media is a huge and all-encompassing force. FoodFacts.com is hopeful that General Mills will take note of the plethora of messages on the Cheerios Facebook page. Consumers are simply asking for transparency and honesty. The request is not for them to remove ingredients from Cheerios, but to let consumers decide for themselves whether or not to include GMO ingredients in their diets. The only way a Cheerios consumer can do that is for General Mills to label Cheerios accordingly. We like the idea. We hope they do too.

http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/12/general-mills-cheerios-facebook-page-anti-gmo-campaign/
http://gmoinside.org/launch-gmo-inside-campaign-cheerios/

The fight to have GMOs labeled in our foods isn’t over yet! Goldfish Crackers have been cited in a lawsuit targeting genetically modified soy …

FoodFacts.com and those in our community were very disappointed by the defeat of Proposition 37 in the California elections last week. But we are happy to report tonight that it’s becoming more and more obvious that the fight is not over yet and there are folks taking action against popular products that contain genetically modified ingredients.

Last week a complaint was filed by Sonya Bolerjack against Pepperidge Farm that states that the company has “mistakenly or misleadingly represented that its Cheddar Goldfish crackers are “Natural” when in fact, they are not, because they contain geneticially modified organisms in the form of soy and/or soy derivatives.” The plaintiff went further, stating that “genetically modified soy products contain genes and/or DNA that would not normally be in them, and are, thus, not natural.”

This is a $5 Million dollar class action lawsuit. The plaintiff is claiming that she never would have bought the product if she had been aware that it contained genetically modified ingredients. She went further to explain that she took the products labeling as truth. The front of the Goldfish cracker package reads “Natural” in rather bold display. She is, therefore saying that the labeling and advertising is false and/or misleading and because of that, she did not get what she paid for.

While lawsuits like this will become more and more common, FoodFacts.com is fairly certain that the food industry is feeling comfortable that the issue will fade with the election. We know for sure, in fact, that Illinois, Alaska, North Carolina, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Vermont, Tennessee, Hawaii, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Michigan and New Hampshire have all introduced bills that would require the labeling of GMOs. Additionally, in the last few years, lawsuits have been filed against other companies including Frito-Lay regarding product labeling for genetically modified ingredients.

FoodFacts.com thinks that lawsuits like those filed by Sony Bolerjack make a lot of sense. She’s right, she didn’t get the product she thought she paid for. Check it out for yourself right here: http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Cheese-Crackers/Pepperidge-Farm-Cheddar-Goldfish-Baked-Snack-Crackers-72-oz/10769. And she spent money for a product repeatedly that was misrepresented as “natural” when many of the basic ingredients aren’t. Millions of food consumers take food companies at their word … or “at their labeling” and are often shocked to discover they’ve been misled. Why wouldn’t she want her money back?

FoodFacts.com feels strongly that consumers everywhere need to make their voices heard, just like the plaintiff in this lawsuit. If we can speak loudly enough, they’ll hear us over the big money that put down Proposition 37 in the state of California and hear us in court cases like the one we’ve highlighted hear all over the country.

Read more: http://www.topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/2912-goldfish-crackers-class-action-lawsuit

GMO Labeling

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Foodfacts.com likes to provide followers with consistent updates on GMO production. We recently came across this article that we think will help educate those unfamiliar with genetic modification; and also update others on the labeling issue still going on.

Silk Soymilk and some of its other beverages recently completed the verification process of the Non-GMO Project. Why the careful wording? Given the ubiquity of genetically modified organisms in some U.S. commodity crops — 93 percent of soybeans grown in the United State are genetically modified according to Craig Shiesley of Silk — no product is able to call itself completely free of GMOs. However, Silk and some other companies, such as Whole Foods with its 365 products, have sought to do is to get as close as possible, using a certification process from the non-profit Non-GMO Project, which holds products to a standard of 99.1 percent GMO free.

Shiesley, general manager of the Silk business, says the verification process for the company’s soymilk, coconut milk and almond milk took 12 to 14 months, a surprise for the company, which had always sourced non-GMO ingredients.

“The reason (the verification process) elevates this to another level if that it goes from verifying the ingredient to verifying the entire process,” Shiesley says. “For example, (it verifies) that there’s no cross contamination in the dehullers.”
silk
GMO in the food supply

Currently labeling for GMOs is not required in the United States, as it is in European Union countries and Japan. The percentage of U.S. processed foods that include at least one genetically engineered food is estimated at about 60 to 70 percent, according to a 2010 fact sheet from Colorado State University. Even foods labeled as natural, a term that has no legal meaning, may contain genetically engineered crops; however, USDA certified organic foods forbid GMOs.

Do GMOs matter?

The answer depends on whom you talk to. Companies such as Monsanto, DuPont and Bayer that supply genetically engineered seed, say the crops, often engineered to be resistant to herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, are nutritionally identical to non-modified crops. The U.S Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration agree with this position. They say the engineering allows them to grow crops more efficiently and with fewer, less toxic pesticides.

Opponents say the effects on human health and the environment have not been fully tested. They fear genetic modification may be involved in an increase in food allergies and other problems, and they say weeds may become resistant to herbicides, requiring more toxic herbicides to kill them.

Labeling

In addition, they argue that a U.S. decision not to require products with GMOs to be labeled has kept consumers in the dark about how deeply genetically-engineered crops reach into the food chain. Surveys have shown that many consumers don’t know that they regularly consume genetically engineered foods. For retailers with a consciousness about food and how it’s produced, the lack of labeling means they have no way to verify GMOs in products unless the items are certified organic.
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Mark Retzloff, president and chairman of Alfalfa’s, says the grocery has worked hard to verify that the canola and other oils in its bulk dispensers are not from made from genetically modified seed crops. The store has verified that the dairy products it stocks are from cows not dosed with hormones. However, unless the product is certified organic or has the new Non-GMO label, the store can’t verify if cows have been fed genetically-modifed grain. He is particularly concerned about genetically modified alfalfa, which the U.S. approved for use earlier this year. While certified organic milk producers won’t use it, the possibility of contamination through the cross-pollination of organic and GMO crops, as has happened with corn and soy is concerning, he says. In addition, as the genetically engineered seed becomes available, farmers may have a hard time buying non-GMO seed.

“From my own experience at Aurora Dairy, we buy about 40,000 to 50,000 tons of alfalfa hay. It’s all organic. If we start having trouble doing that, it restricts our ability to produce organic milk,” he says, adding that milk is a gateway product into organics for many consumers.

Whole Foods is currently putting its 365 brand products through Non-GMO verification. The products don’t currently carry the label. However, customers can go to Whole Food website and click to find Non-GMO certified products.

“It’s a significant focus of the company right now to work on verification,” says Ben Friedland, regional marketing coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Region.

Asked about the company’s position on GMOs, Friedland says: “We believe in farmers’ right to farm non-GMO crops and our customers’ right to choose whether they want GMOs. We work to provide opportunities for both our stakeholders,” Friedland says.

Shiesley of Silk says the Non-GMO verification is extremely valuable to his company. For the Silk products that are not organic — the company switched some of its Silk line from organic to natural in 2009, Shiesley says because the company wanted to source soybeans domestically — the non-GMO verification offers assurances.

Shiesley says he also believes the label will raise awareness.

“I hope we’re at a tipping point with consumer understanding toward Non-GMO,” he says. “Unlike organic labeling which went through legislation and took eight-plus years, the industry can self-regulate … I don’t think we can wait five years plus with this.”

He points to consumer awareness on trans-fat and many companies’ subsequent reformulations of their products as an example of how awareness can change push industry to make changes.

“We bring 40 million consumers along with us when we go to Non-GMO (labeling),” he says.

Carol Carlson, chair of Slow Food Boulder County approves of voluntary labeling, but would also like to see mandatory standards.

“I think GMO contamination is a huge concern for all of us,” she says. “Anything that can be done to bring awareness to what we’re eating and whether it contains GMOs is a very good thing.”

She also urges Boulder Countians who disapprove of GMOs to become involved in county policy on Boulder County Open Space agricultural land.

(DailyCamera)

Why Aren’t G.M.O Foods Labeled?

genetically-modified-food
Foodfacts.com has been looking into G.M.O Labeling. If you want to avoid sugar, aspartame, trans-fats, MSG, or just about anything else, you read the label. If you want to avoid G.M.O.’s — genetically modified organisms — you’re out of luck. They’re not listed. You could, until now, simply buy organic foods, which by law can’t contain more than 5 percent G.M.O.’s. Now, however, even that may not work.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved three new kinds of genetically engineered (G.E.) foods: alfalfa (which becomes hay), a type of corn grown to produce ethanol), and sugar beets. And the approval by the Food and Drug Administration of a super-fast-growing salmon — the first genetically modified animal to be sold in the U.S., but probably not the last — may not be far behind.

It’s unlikely that these products’ potential benefits could possibly outweigh their potential for harm. But even more unbelievable is that the F.D.A.and the U.S.D.A. will not require any of these products, or foods containing them, to be labeled as genetically engineered, because they don’t want to “suggest or imply” that these foods are “different.” (Labels with half-truths about health benefits appear to be O.K., but that’s another story.)

They are arguably different, but more important, people are leery of them. Nearly an entire continent — it’s called Europe — is so wary that G.E. crops are barely grown there and there are strict bans on imports (that policy is in danger). Furthermore, most foods containing more than 0.9 percent G.M.O.’s must be labeled.

G.E. products may grow faster, require fewer pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides, and reduce stress on land, water and other resources; they may be more profitable to farmers. But many of these claims are in dispute, and advances in conventional agriculture, some as simple as drip irrigation, may achieve these same goals more simply. Certainly conventional agriculture is more affordable for poor farmers, and most of the worlds’ farmers are poor. (The surge in suicides among Indian farmers has been attributed by some, at least in part, to G.E. crops, and it’s entirely possible that what’s needed to feed the world’s hungry is not new technology but a better distribution system and a reduction of waste.)

To be fair, two of the biggest fears about G.E. crops and animals — their potential to provoke allergic reactions and the transfer to humans of antibiotic-resistant properties of G.M.O.’s — have not come to pass. (As far as I can tell, though, they remain real dangers.) But there has been cross-breeding of natural crops and species with those that have been genetically engineered, and when ethanol corn cross-pollinates feed corn, the results could degrade the feed corn; when G.E. alfalfa cross-pollinates organic alfalfa, that alfalfa is no longer organic; if a G.E. salmon egg is fertilized by a wild salmon, or a transgenic fish escapes into the wild and breeds with a wild fish … it’s not clear what will happen.

This last scenario is impossible, say the creators of the G.E. salmon — a biotech company called AquaBounty — whose interest in approval makes their judgment all but useless. (One Fish and Wildlife Service scientist wrote in material obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, “Maybe they should watch ‘Jurassic Park.’ “)

Also curious is that the salmon is being categorized as a “new animal drug” which means that the advisory committee in charge of evaluating it is composed mostly of veterinarians and animal scientists, instead of, say, fish ecologists or experts in food safety. Not surprisingly, the biotech industry has spent over half a billion dollars on G.M.O. lobbyists in the last decade, and Michael Taylor, the F.D.A. deputy commissioner for foods, was once vice president for public policy at Monsanto. Numerous groups of consumers, farmers, environmental advocates, scientists, supporters of organic food and now even congressmen — last week, a bill was introduced to ban G.E. salmon — believe that the approval process demonstrated a bias towards the industry.

Cross-breeding is guaranteed with alfalfa and likely with corn. (The U.S.D.A. claims to be figuring out ways to avoid this happening, but by then the damage may already be done.) And the organic dairy industry is going to suffer immediate and frightening losses when G.E. alfalfa is widely grown, since many dairy cows eat dried alfalfa (hay), and the contamination of organic alfalfa means the milk of animals fed with that hay can no longer be called organic. Likewise, when feed corn is contaminated by G.E. ethanol corn, the products produced from it won’t be organic. (On the one hand, U.S.D.A. joins the F.D.A. in not seeing G.E. foods as materially different; on the other it limits the amount found in organic foods. Hello? Guys? Could you at least pretend to be consistent?)

The subject is unquestionably complex. Few people outside of scientists working in the field — self included — understand much of anything about gene altering. Still, an older ABC poll found that a majority of Americans believe that G.M.O.’s are unsafe, even more say they’re less likely to buy them, and a more recent CBS/NYT poll found a whopping 87 percent — you don’t see a poll number like that too often — wants them labeled.

In the long run, genetic engineering may prove to be useful. Or not. The science is adolescent at best; not even its strongest advocates can guarantee that there aren’t hidden dangers. So consumers are understandably cautious, and whether that’s justified or paranoid, it would seem we have a right to know as much as Europeans do.

Even more than questionable approvals, it’s the unwillingness to label these products as such — even the G.E. salmon will be sold without distinction — that is demeaning and undemocratic, and the real reason is clear: producers and producer-friendly agencies correctly suspect that consumers will steer clear of G.E. products if they can identify them. Which may make them unprofitable. Where is the free market when we need it?

A majority of our food already contains G.M.O.’s, and there’s little reason to think more isn’t on the way. It seems our “regulators” are using us and the environment as guinea pigs, rather than demanding conclusive tests. And without labeling, we have no say in the matter whatsoever.

Article Provided by: Mark Bittman

The Great Soy Debate!

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Many active or athletic vegetarians look to soy as a reliable way to get their daily protein requirements. Soy is also becoming a popular item on the health food shelves. But there is a cloud of controversy surrounding this new star in the grocery aisle. Here are some of the issues that have created what some are calling “the great soy debate”.

Soy products, made from the soybean, have been eaten for thousands of years in Asia, and have always been traditionally prepared. Typically, soybeans are soaked for long periods, then often fermented or slowly boiled and eaten with animal proteins. Vegetarian travelers to Asia often find themselves unexpectedly staring at a “vegetarian” tofu dish containing pork or egg. This is because, in addition to long soaks, slow boils and fermentation, animal proteins help improve the digestibility of this ancient legume. These methods of cooking and eating soy turn off the anti-nutrient qualities of the phytic acid found in soybeans; phytic acid can block our body’s ability to break down the protein in the soy. Studies of Asian eating patterns have found that no more than 2 – 3 tablespoons of soy products are typically eaten per day.

Nowadays, soy is one of North America’s top three genetically-modified (GM0) foods, next to wheat and corn. Animals raised for meat consume up to 90% of U.S. soy crops. Since most soy is genetically-modified, that means huge tracts of land are being plowed, watered and soaked with insecticides, herbicides and pesticides, mainly to support the meat industry. Most soy products on the market today are also made from this genetically-modified soy.

If you are eating soy that has been prepared quickly, or not alongside animal protein, you may be causing undue stress on your digestive system. Anti-nutrients in the soy may be blocking absorption of protein and other minerals your body requires such as calcium and especially zinc. This is particularly problematic for vegetarians who generally consume less zinc due to a lack of meat in their diets, which is an adequate source of zinc for omnivores.

A big concern in the soy debate is that the isoflavones contained in soy may pose a threat to women, children and to thyroid health in general. These isoflavones are found in high concentration in soy milk, soy protein isolate and soy infant formulas.

Most doctors already advise pregnant women against consuming too much soy, while this possible health threat is being further studied. There is also heated debate over whether the goitrogens contained in soy (and other foods like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) increase the risk of thyroid disease. These goitrogens are said to block or suppress hormones that would normally circulate in our bodies and this can lead to thyroid disease, growth problems, immune system and menstrual cycle issues. Again the thyroid disease risk is mostly a concern for vegetarians who do not eat sea vegetables, because meat eaters get the thyroid-supporting mineral iodine in their diet through fish, thereby balancing out any negative effects of the goitrogens.

All of this might sound like reason enough to avoid soy. Even the FDA is monitoring the issue, although they initially approved the soy industry’s request for health claims. “FDA continues to monitor the debates about the relative safety of these individual soy components and the scientific research that will eventually resolve them,” says the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

However, there are some very good reasons to seek out soy products. As an alternative to dairy, a glass of soy milk contains no saturated fats and is rich in polyunsaturates (Omega 6s) that are good for our health. A glass of soy milk also contains less total fat and generally fewer calories than a glass of whole milk. Beware the flavored soy milks on the market which are filled with sugar and calories. Organic, and non-GM soy products also contain none of the antibiotics and hormones that may be found in conventional dairy products.

Soy products may be good for heart health, and this is why the FDA gave it the green light as a health product in the first place. However, some scientists are now disputing this claim. They state that the reason for study participants’ improved cardiac health was that soy products replaced or reduced the amount of potentially artery-clogging foods like red meats and dairy products in their diets.

There are no doubts that eating more legumes is a very good way to increase your intake of fiber, polyunsaturated fats and also a good non-animal source of protein. But to be safe, pregnant women and those with thyroid disease should probably avoid eating soy products, or at least try to reduce them in the diet.

People with digestive problems should look for soy products that are prepared by soaking overnight or longer. You can find this out by going to manufacturers’ websites or calling their toll-free customer service line. It’s good practice to ask questions of our food providers; whether they be farmers at the market, restaurant managers or manufacturers, they should always be able to answer our questions about food quality or safety. Also, look for soy products that are low in isoflavones such as tofu or soy nuts or the beans themselves prepared traditionally. Soy milks and especially soy protein isolates will have higher concentrations of isoflavones, unless they say so otherwise on the label. Watch out for calorie-rich flavored soy milks with added sugars. Even “natural” flavored soy milk often has sugar added. Alternatives to soy milk (for vegans) are almond milk, rice milk and there are some delicious grain milks on the market. Lactose-intolerant dairy product lovers can sometimes find lactose-reduced yogurts and milk products, as well as rice-milk frozen desserts.

Wherever possible try to get organic non-GMO soy, which also tends to be processed in a more traditional manner. If you’re looking for alternative non-animal sources of protein, don’t forget all the other legumes which also should be soaked overnight before cooking, and whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa.

Ultimately, we need to think carefully about what we eat, now that we live in a world where we do not grow or raise our food in our own backyards. It’s our responsibility to make informed choices about the food on the grocery store shelves. Many of the packaged foods we find there will be quick and convenient, but not necessarily the best ingredients for our optimal health.

Article provided by Caroline Rechia