Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GMO - Think Before You Eat!

Yesterday I read an article in FoodNavigator-USA.com about how Monsanto is "on the verge of a technology explosion." The article documents how Monsanto is expected to double yields in corn, soybeans and cotton by the year 2030. Ask yourself how do they plan to do this while farming in the same fields, in the same soil, and on the same size acreage. The answer is one they don't hide behind.

Through the use of biotechnology, the scientists (I don't know if we should venture to call them farmers or agronomist) at Monsanto are genetically creating super seeds for these crops. These seeds will be more drought resistant, pest resistant, pesticide resistant, higher yielding and better at utilizing the nitrogen from the soil. This will yield crop yields by the year 2030 that are twice the size as those from the same fields today. But at what cost??

There is no science that yet establishes the safety of the human consumption of GMO foods. I mean isn't it logical that if we eat large quantities of foods that are resistant to some pesticides through genetic altering, then there will be some affect on the human body at some level?? I would think so but I am admittedly not a scientist. I would like to hear from a group of scientists that are not employed by the industry tell me that eating such foods are safe, and to show me their evidence of that at the same time. I don't think that is asking too much.

What are your thoughts??

Stevia Wizard

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Is The Fox Guarding The Chicken Coop...Is Anyone??

I just read a terrific opinion piece by Jane Byrne, an editor of FoodProductionDaily.com about the "tainted" US food system. Her last line sums up her opinion pretty well. She states that "consumers should not have to eat their cake and fear it to." WOW! Pretty straight forward Jane. In light of the recent issues surrounding peanuts, pistachios, beef, poultry and who knows what else, it's a wonder folks aren't keeling over in the streets from tainted food products.

I learned some interesting facts from this article. We (well most of us) already know that our food industry is governed/controlled by two government agencies, USDA and FDA. What I didn't know (but probably should have) is that FDA gets only 20 percent of the food safety money spent by our government to protect 80 percent of the US food supply. Moreover (and probably the main reason for the recent food contamination issues), FDA has only about 1/10 of the number of inspectors as the USDA. Whoa! Something is definitely wrong with this picture. Why on earth does this system seem back-assward?? We must speak up to correct this obvious dichotomy.

FDA, which oversees not only food but drugs as well, obviously uses the vast majority of its resources policing (although not very well there either) the enormous US pharmaceutical and supplement industries. That leaves not much in the way of resources left for overseeing the US food supply. A case in point. In the recent Peanut Corporation of America scandal, the last time an FDA inspector had been to their Blakely, Georgia plant was 8 years ago! For plants that produce meat or poultry, they are inspected DAILY by the USDA! Amazing, huh.

It's time that we, as US food consumers speak up to our Senate and Representatives to tell them this cannot be tolerated any longer. Consumers should not be afraid every time they take a bite of food. Recently the UK and Ireland corrected similar problems (remember "Mad Cow" disease) by forming a separate government agency whose sole purpose is the inspection of food production facilities and put consumers first. This seems like a fairly simple solution to a very long-standing problem. What do you think??

Stevia Wizard

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Whole Foods Takes A Stand On GMO - Finally A Retailer With Some Courage

What ever happened to the days of "farm fresh" produce? It seems like those days are long gone and if we want that fresh picked flavor we are going to have to get in our cars and make the drive to the closest roadside produce stand (not a very "green" thing to do). Of course we have the alternative of paying the higher prices for "organic" produce in our neighborhood grocer, but it still isn't the same, is it? Commercal growers/farmers from all over the country are concerned with their ever-dwindling profit margins from farming operations. The race for them is to develop drought resistant, pest resistant, weed resistant, etc. crops that taste better and stay fresher longer. Enter the GMO process.

GMO, or Genetically Modified Organisms, is basically the cloning of living plant organisms, i.e., taking the genes from an unrelated species of plant and inserting them into genes of other living plant organisms, thereby creating a "Superplant" of some sort. As an example, Monsanto (the huge chemical giant and maker of the Round Up) pesticide line, has created a line of "Round Up Ready" plant seeds that are resistant to the pesticide. This way the famer who uses these seeds can spray his crops with as much Round Up as he wants, thereby killing everything in the field, except for the Round Up Ready GMO plants. Personally I don't want to eat anything from that field, do you??

Unfortunately there is no government requirement of any kind to label foods that are made from or contain GMO products. This should be a fact that every health conscious consumer would want to know. Whole Foods Markets (Austin, TX) appears to be the first major retailer to take any sort of stand or position on GMO. They are going to require the testing of all of their "private label" products to ensure that they are GMO free. In partnership with the Non-GMO project, Whole Foods will seek the independent verification that its private label (365) products are GMO free. This appears to be the first step towards their own requirement of GMO labeling on all products sold in their stores (well at least we can hope).

Finally, with regard to stevia, our readers should be advised that Truvia and PureVia both contain Erythritol (a corn sugar) that is, more likely than not, made from GMO corn. Neither will admit it, but neither will deny either. Make your own decision. SweetLeaf Sweetener is 100% natural, non-GMO (made with all natural Inulin from Chicory).

Stay GMO free.

Stevia Wizard