What the *&%$# are GMOs? And why the fuss?

gmo-tomatoWhat is a GMO?

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, hence they are also known as transgenic organisms. This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.

What foods are GM?
Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (94%), cotton (90%), canola (90%), sugar beets (95%), corn (88%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres).
What are other sources of GMOs?
Products derived from the above, including oils from all four, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup among others.  Also:
  • meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed (and the majority of the GM corn and soy is used for feed);
  • dairy products from cows injected with rbGH (a GM hormone);
  • food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®) and rennet used to make hard cheeses
  • honey and bee pollen that may have GM sources of pollen.
  • non-food items that may contain GM ingredients include cosmetics, soaps, detergents, shampoo and bubble bath. Pharmaceutical companies use Aspartame in some laxatives, supplements and children’s vitamins.

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*The American Academy of Environmental Medicine was founded in 1965, and is an international association of physicians and other professionals interested in the clinical aspects of humans and their environment. AAEM provides research and education in the recognition, treatment and prevention of illnesses induced by exposures to biological and chemical agents encountered in air, food and water.
**The AAEM paper further states, ‘several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.
Who is MONSANTO? I keep hearing that name!
The Monsanto Company is a U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as “Roundup”. Monsanto is also the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed; it sells 90% of the US’s GE seeds. (wiki) Seminis is also listed on this page often, they were bought out by Monsanto and cannot be considered a safe, no-GMO, company.
GMOs are everywhere inside so many things!
Makes you think twice about being loyal to that produce stand you frequent every weekend, huh? They say “fresh” but what exactly is their definition anyway? I think it’s high time we take control of what we put on our plates and in our children’s sippy cups. The time has come to get cracka lackin’ on that home garden you said you always wanted. I’m starting my own soon and will give you all the help you need to start your own.
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TWO SEEDS IN A POD
If you want to ensure your garden is so fresh and so clean make sure to get NON-GMO SEEDS! I discovered Two Seeds in a Pod, a local business here in Tampa, while doing my research for this entry. They are a new company, who take pride in the Safe Seed Pledge and are 100% organic. To get your own non-gmo seeds, check them out here.
If you aren’t from Tampa and perhaps want to visit/support a local company in your area check out the complete list  of businesses who have also taken the Safe Seed Pledge, here.
Genetically modified (GM) foods-are they safe or harmful?
While regulatory authorities have approved GM food that is on the market, some people are concerned that there is risk of harm. Most foods we eat may contain ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If you live in Europe, avoiding GM foods is easier since laws require labeling. In the US and Canada, however, food manufacturers are not required to label if their food is genetically modified or not. Here are some guidelines for steering clear of GM foods in your diet, if that is your choice.
Become familiar with the most common applications of genetic modification.
These are the products (and their derivatives) that are most likely to be genetically modified:
  • Soybeans – Gene taken from bacteria (Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4) and inserted into soybeans to make them more resistant to herbicides.[1] See How to Live With a Soy Allergy for more information on avoiding soy products
  • Corn – There are two main varieties of GE corn. One has a Gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis inserted to produce the Bt toxin, which poisons Lepidoteran (moths and butterflies) pests.[2] There are also several events which are resistant to various herbicide. Present in high fructose corn syrup and glucose/fructose which is prevalent in a wide variety of foods in America.
  • Rapeseed/Canola – Gene added/transferred to make crop more resistant to herbicide.
  • Sugar beets – Gene added/transferred to make crop more resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
  • Cotton – engineered to produce Bt toxin. The seeds are pressed into cottonseed oil, which is a common ingredient in vegetable oil and margarine.
  • Dairy – Cows injected with GE hormone rBGH/rBST; possibly fed GM grains and hay.
  • Sugar. In 2012 the FDA approved GMO Beet Sugars to be allowed to be sold on the market under the name…. “SUGAR” So now, when we go to buy “All Natural” Breyer’s Ice Cream, we can’t even know for sure that we are actually eating regular natural cane sugar. If you see “CANE SUGAR” there’s a good chance it’s not GMO. This is one of the biggest frustrations with labelling, as sugar is in so many things, and we might be avoiding food that POSSIBLY has GMO sugar, but really does not.
  • Papayas.
  • Zucchini.
  • Corn sold directly to the consumer at Roadside stands / markets. Buy organic corn, popcorn, corn chips only.
  • Baked goods: Often has one or more of the common GM ingredients in them. Why do we need corn or soy in our bread, snacks or desserts? It’s hard to find mixes to use as well. Some brands avoid GMs, find one you like and try to stick with it. Organic is one option, learning how to cook brownies, etc, from scratch with your own organic oils is another.
100percentorganic

Why the hell is organic so expensive?! -Trash Talkin’ Jessi

Buy food labeled 100% organic.

The US and Canadian governments do not allow manufacturers to label something 100% organic if that food has been genetically modified or been fed genetically modified feed. You may find that organic food is more expensive and different in appearance from conventional products.

Also, just because something says “organic” on it does not mean that it does not contain GMs. In fact, it can still contain up to 30% GMs, so be sure the labels say 100% organic.

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Purchase beef that is 100% grass-fed.

Most cattle in the U.S. are grass-fed, but spend the last portion of their lives in feedlots where they may be given GM corn, the purpose of which is to increase intramuscular fat and marbling. If you’re looking to stay away from GM0s, make sure the cattle were 100% grass-fed or pasture-fed (sometimes referred to as grass-finished or pasture-finished).

Favor foods that you can cook and prepare yourself, rather than foods that are processed (my all time best eating habit tip!)

or prepared (e.g. anything that comes in a box or a bag, including fast food). What you lose in convenience, you may recover in money saved and satisfaction gained, as well as increased peace of mind. You will notice a difference in your pant size and energy level as well.

Ask!

If you are eating out or purchasing produce (or any other unlabeled foods) just ask if they contain GMOs. If they don’t know and this is important to you just take a pass. The ones who take pride in making sure their products are not genetically enhanced KNOW what they have and will be more than happy to tell you all about it. Like that friend that ran that one 5 or 10k. Right? Not afraid to tell you every damn detail, slap the sticker on their car, get a tattoo and then write a book about it.

I digress. 🙂

Resource: http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Genetically-Modified-Foods

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SO ALL IN ALL WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT GMOs? And are they safe?

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) doesn’t think so. The Academy reported that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods.

Resource:http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers

What companies have GMOs in their products?  GMOs in the news…

Here is a list of companies alleged “hiding” GMOs and some of those paying MILLIONS of dollars to fight against the labeling of GMOs in our foods in the United States.  Kellogg’s for example, is being slammed pretty hard from what I’ve seen myself just on social media.

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Labeling bills were introduced to congress on 4/24/13

To label our food stating if it has GMOs or not allow it is the debate.

Interesting tid bits from a recent Huffington Post article:

“Obama promised to require labeling for genetically modified food on the campaign trail back in 2007, but since taking office, he’s done little to advance that cause. A few weeks ago, he signed into law a proviso known as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” which makes it legal to sell genetically modified crops before they’re proven 100 percent safe.”

“Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans — over 90 percent — supports mandatory labeling of foods with GE ingredients. Sixty-four other countries, including Saudi Arabia, Russia and China, already require such labels. And dozens of advocacy groups and food corporations have signalled their support of the new bill.”

“Whole Foods recently announced that it would require the manufacturers of any GE foods sold in its stores to mark them as such.”

See the complete article here. (<-Resource)

march_against_monsantoI’m not so sure why I find this “march” so intriguing but I do. It’s just empowering, I think, to know that so many people will gather for something they feel so passionate about. And all on the same day. At the same exact time. All over the country.  How could the government possibly ignore such a spectacle? And that guys, is the point. The people will get what they want because it’s not too much to ask for. I’ve seen no good reason to not label our food. We as Americans, deserve this right. The right to know. What. The. Hell. Is. In. Our. Food. No amount of Monsanto (or other company’s ) $$ should be able to take that away from us. march_against_monsanto2

I think a lot is going to change during this year regarding all the GMO hoopla. I’m doing my best to provide clean and healthy food for my family regardless, as I have been. Once, my garden is up and running, it will be a lot easier. I will say though, I’m not a crazy person over the GMOs. I’m not paranoid if I eat a fruit that has been genetically enhanced that I think I could get cancer or something like that. I am for having the free right to know and I find it shady mcshiesty to hide anything that could be in my food or other household products.

It’s your chance again to sound off…

You be the judge and feel free to leave your comments!  —XoXo, Jessi

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