It is interesting that when the subject of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and GE (Genetically Engineered) food comes up in conversation – how many people really don’t know too much about it.
Today’s controversy surrounding GMOs and GE food is partly around labeling or for that matter – the lack of labeling. Vermont is the first state to make some headway when it’s House of Representatives passed a bill on May 10th of this year requiring food containing GMOs to be labeled. This is the furthest any such legislation has made it through the legislative process in the US. Unfortunately, this bill would exempt animal products including meat and dairy even though livestock are often fed genetically engineered feed.
Last year California’s Prop. 37 brought to vote whether to label all GMO foods. Companies like Monsanto and Hershey Co. contributed 44 million dollars for the campaign against Prop. 37 that was narrowly defeated. In spite of this defeat – it was a close vote as Prop. 37 was able to gain approximately 47% of the vote.
Similar bills have been introduced in Arizona, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota and New Mexico this year. Food and Water Watch and other organizations are encouraging supporters to petition for national GE labeling laws to give us the “right to know” as to whether or not foods contain GMOs.
Frustrated by Monsanto’s bullying of governments and farmers in the US and abroad – tens of thousand of activists around the world are gathering on Saturday May 25, 2013 for the “March Against Monsanto”. This was started in early February of this year on a facebook page of the same name and is instrumental in organizing the events.
Although I buy organic produce whenever i can – I personally became concerned about hidden GMOs in food that I was ordering out in restaurants, and fortunately found an insightful article on Tips for Avoiding GMOs When Dining Out on the website Healthy Child/Healthy World. It said that the biggest and highest risk ingredients are corn and soy as the vast majority of the soybeans and corn grown today are genetically modified. Just think of all the food products that contain some form of corn or soy. Soda is usually sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and diet drinks are typically sweetened with aspartame which is an artificial sweetener derived from GMOs. Wheat and potatoes are now becoming suspect as is non-organic meat because it is likely raised on GMO feed. Fast food chains and pet food products are probably the most saturated with GMO and GE foods.
Most hawaiian papaya grown in Hawaii is currently a GMO fruit and i have seen GMO labeled navel oranges in the supermarket. Right behind these are apples. The Canadian company Okanagan Specialty Fruits has been in review by US Regulatory Agencies since 2010 for GE Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples that they are calling “Arctic”. This company of course is against labeling but says it will voluntarily identify their apples with a sticker that reads “Arctic”. So unless you know what “Arctic” apples are – you will not know that these could potentially harm you, your kids and/or your pets.
Without the proper labeling and long term testing of these food crops and animal products – no one really knows if this stuff is really safe to eat. The FDA in internal documents that became public suggests that these products could pose potentially serious allergenic and toxic reactions among consumers. At least with conventional food – people know what they are allergic to but with GMO and GE you don’t know because the foods are not labeled and not enough scientific studies have been done.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) doesn’t think GM foods are safe. The Academy said in a report that “several 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.
A friend told me that she would prefer to buy organic produce and meats but that it is just too expensive for her family. However, she shouldn’t be kept in the dark when she shops for conventional produce vs. GMOs because of these big businesses and their strong lobbyists in our government. Labeling is crucial not only for our health but also because it is our right to know. There is a label system in place for produce as follows: for organic produce – the code is five digits that begins with #9, conventional produce is four digits usually starting with #1 or #4, and a GMO product is five digits that starts with #8.
If you have a dog and/or cat and feed them a commerically produced diet – think of all the implications of this not only in their food but also in their snacks and treats. In helping a friend do some research who needed to change her dog’s kibble brand because of Natura Pet Food brands being recalled recently due to salmonella – she asked me my thoughts on another brand. In reading the ingredients we saw that it contained sugar beet pulp.
Now most people would think “beets” as in the vegetable beets that we eat – but they are not. Sugar beets are grown and used specifically for sucrose, and did you know that Monsanto owns 95% of the sugar beet market with their genetically engineered Round Up Ready Sugar Beets! I don’t think there is any reason in your dog’s diet for corn, soy or sugar beet pulp. This stuff is filler and killer! If you want an easy and great resource for finding out how your dog food brand rates on a scale of 1 to 5 – go on the Dog Food Advisor website. You just type in the brand and name of the product, and they give you a rating and the reasons for the rating.
By the way and if you didn’t know – this company Natura Pet that has the salmonella recall produces Innova, Evo, California Naturals, Healthwise, Mother Nature and Karma. If you or anyone you know is feeding their dog(s) these brands – please tell them to stop and find a healthier and safer choice.
Reading labels and educating yourself on what is exactly in the products you buy is so important and so easy to do with our friend “google”. Recently i found two great replacement products for Theo because i was not “feeling good” about some of the ingredients in his teeth-cleaning pads and a joint supplement with MSM that i was giving him. If interested, I give more details on these products in FYI after my TIPS below.
In closing – I recently read that when Monsanto first introduced the gene for seeds for these GE crops (sugar beets, corn, soybeans, alfalfa, etc.) they argued that the gene would let farmers cut down the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides on their crops. But these herbicide-resistant crops are actually breeding “superweeds” and possibly “superworms” that have evolved to overpower the chemicals in their seeds. So now farmers have started applying even heavier doses of the chemicals to combat these new strain of pests. Because of this, Monsanto is reaping benefits from it’s own failure. Recently the company announced high profits largely due to a 37% increase in herbicide sales.
Food and Water Watch Website: http://foodandwaterwatch.org/
Healthy Child/Healthy World – 6 Tips for Avoiding GMOs When Dining Out: http://healthychild.org/
Dog Food Advisor Website: http://dogfoodadvisor.com
FYI – Great Dog Products:
I had been using DDS Dental Wipes after brushing Theo’s teeth or for a quick cleaning that I purchased at my local pet store. I decided recently to look for a product that didn’t contain any chemicals. I discovered a great product that was not available locally but was able to find it on Amazon.com: Fast and Fresh Dental Swipes from TrueBlue – “An all natural botanical blend (including peppermint, parsley and baking soda) for a healthy mouth and fresh breath”. This is great product not only because of it’s natural ingredients but because the pads are a large size that easily and securing wraps around your finger for easy cleaning and has little bumps on the pad for a little extra friction. Theo and I love this product: http://truebluepets.com
Also, I purchased through my local veterinarian a product called Dasuquin with MSM from Nutramax which is a “joint health supplement” that contains Glucosamine and Chondroitin. I needed to supplement Theo’s diet with MSM to help him with inflammation due to his FSF (Familial Sharpei Fevers). Theo didn’t have any adverse reactions to this product initially but i found that after a few weeks later he was constantly licking his feet which is a sign of an allergy or allergic reaction. In reviewing everything that i was giving him – I discovered that this product contained soy protein isolate and soy lecithin. Not Good! I know Sharpei should not have soy products. I did some research and found that these are found in many of our food products, and are not good for us. I just never read the really fine print to see what else was in this supplement besides the three main ingredients that i mentioned above. Fortunately, i discovered a great replacement from NaturVet called Glucosamine DS plus MSM & Chondroitin that I found available on VitaCost.com for less money than the Dasuquin and without any soy additives. Also, it has some other good stuff in it like Fish Oil and Flax Seed. If you are looking for a great all natural product to help with support of hip and joint function and flexibility and other inflammatory issues – I highly recommend the NaturVet product: http://naturvet.com/
Until next week…
Peace and Love – dogOdog