Concerned About GMOs in Your Food?

On the surface, GMOs seem like a change for the good: Genetic modification can help plants resist pests and viruses or grow more quickly. However, since we are essentially combining DNA from different species, there is the potential that the plant will be forever altered. When a species changes, it opens parts of the environment to new competitors, which could have adverse consequences.

Although the FDA approved genetically modified salmon for consumption in 2015, some groups express concern that modified fish could negatively affect other fish populations.

GMO Labeling Gains Steam

The debate surrounding GMOs is not whether they should be legal, but whether they should require labeling. That’s because GMOs are present in a large percentage of the foods we buy at the grocery store.

The argument in favor of labeling genetically modified foods is that consumers have a right to know what they’re eating. 64 countries currently require GMO labeling. The argument against labeling includes increased costs and fear of public backlash over largely unproven risks.

Read more at Earth 911

Industry Welcomes GM Food Disclosure Standard Proposed Rule

The publication of a proposed rule that would provide consistency in the disclosure of information regarding bioengineered or genetically modified foods was welcomed by representatives of the food industry.

According to Sarasin, FMI’s efforts in this cause include joining with farmers, manufacturers and retailers “to provide accurate, simple and unbiased information to our customers,” with a focus on consumer education through such means as SmartLabel.

Food Ingredients News has reported, however, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t expect to meet the July deadline to create the new rule, with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue admitting that “we’re not as close as I’d like” to doing so. The holdup appears to be due to the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB), which still needs to review the GMO labeling rules.

Read the complete article at progressive Grocer

What Diet Best Lowers Phthalate Exposure?

Phthalates are hormone-disrupting plastics chemicals linked to a number of adverse health effects, such as disturbing infant and child development, and, in adults, may affect reproductive health in men and endometriosis in women, and is associated with increased abdominal fat in both.

What is the most major exposure source? Diet. If you have people stop eating for a few days, you get a significant drop in the amount of phthalates spilling out in their urine. One can only fast for so long, though. Thankfully, we can see similar drops just from eating a plant-based diet for a few days, which gives us a clue as to where most phthalates are found.

The highest levels are found in meats, fats, and dairy. Poultry consistently comes out as being the most contaminated across the board with some of the highest levels ever reported, though there are geographic exceptions.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s reference dose, which is like the maximum acceptable threshold, is 20 µg/kg-day, based on liver risk. Europe places their maximum daily intake for testicular toxicity at 50 µg/kg-day. So a typical infant diet exceeds the EPA’s safety level, “while a diet high in meat and dairy was over this threshold by approximately four times.

Read the full article at Care 2

Who’s Waging A ‘War On Science’ – Dems or Repubs?

We’ve been told conservatives don’t believe in science and that there’s a “Republican war on science.”

But John Tierney, who’s written about science for The New York Times for 25 years and now writes for the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, told me in my latest online video, “The real war on science is the one from the left.”

What about President George W. Bush banning government funding of stem cell research?

“He didn’t stop stem cell research,” Tierney reminds me. “The government wouldn’t fund it. It turned out that it really didn’t matter much.” Private funding continued and, so far, has not discovered much.

Some research on genetically modified foods became taboo because of protests from the left. That may have prevented a second Green Revolution to feed Africa.

Scientists can’t even talk about whether genes affect intelligence without being threatened by the left. Political scientists who continued to investigate the topic are screamed at on college campuses, the way Charles Murray, author of “The Bell Curve,” has been.

Read more at Yellow Hammer

Milk Producers’ Group Goes After ‘Deceptive’ non-GMO Labeling

The National Milk Producers Federation’s “Peel Back the Label” campaign aims to combat “deceptive food labeling” from dairy brands like Dean Foods and Dannon — which have touted Non-GMO Project certification, according to a report in Food Navigator.

The Non-GMO Project claims that retailers carrying products featuring its seal of approval report “the fastest dollar growth trend in their stores this year,” with annual sales exceeding $19.2 billion. So it’s not surprising that food companies turning out dairy-based products want to get on that bandwagon. At the same time, some of these companies say they support conventional farming methods, including the use of GMO feed.

In the Food Navigator article, a Dean Foods spokesman called the new NMPF campaign “disappointing.”

“We encourage consumers and NMPF to enjoy a glass of milk and focus on building up dairy foods, not dragging them down,” Jamaison Schuler said.

DanoneWave CEO Mariano Lozano told Food Navigator that the company was surprised to be criticized for providing choices that consumers want. Soon after Non-GMO Project, Verified products started appearing on shelves, Dannon officials told Food Dive about their reasons for going that route.

Read the full article at Food Dive

STUDY: Even non-GMO Foods Contain Genes?

More than one-third of Americans do not know that foods with no genetically modified ingredients contain genes, according to the new nationally representative Food Literacy and Engagement Poll we recently conducted at Michigan State University. For the record, all foods contain genes, and so do all people.

The full survey revealed that much of the U.S. public remains disengaged or misinformed about food. These findings are problematic because food shapes our lives on a personal level, while consumer choices and agricultural practices set the course for our collective future in a number of ways, from food production impacts to public health.

Informing food discussions

The Food Literacy and Engagement Poll, which we plan to conduct annually, is part of Food@MSU, a new initiative based in Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Food@MSU’s mission is to listen to consumers, promote dialogue and help the public make more informed choices about food.

Meanwhile, the proliferation of online content with conflicting messages makes it hard for Americans to separate valid nutritional information from fads and fraud. Influential multinational corporations push ideas that aren’t always based on science but rather intended to promote their own products.

Continue reading at The Genetic Literacy Project

Trump Administration Sued Over GMO Food Labeling

Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a federal lawsuit Sunday against the Trump administration for its failure to comply with the 2016 federal law on the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food.

Sec. of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are charged with implementing the new labeling rules, and part of that process is a study on “electronic and digital disclosures” (like QR codes) for GE foods, as opposed to on-package text. That study was required to be finished by July 2017, with an opportunity for public participation, but USDA never completed the study or published it for public comment.

The federal GE food law requires USDA to establish federal standards for labeling by July 2018. The withheld study will inform the agency’s ultimate decision, which is why it was required to be completed a year earlier. One of the most controversial aspects of the law is how it will require companies to label GE foods, and whether companies will be able to forgo clear, on-package labeling through the use of QR codes and other digital disclosures.

“Americans deserve nothing less than clear on-package labeling, the way food has always been labeled,” continued Kimbrell. “Allowing companies to hide genetically engineered ingredients behind a website or QR code is discriminatory and unworkable.”

Continue Reading at Ecowatch

Genetically modified food – is GM really that bad for us?

A debate has raged around the potential risks and benefits of genetically modified (GM) foods for the last 20 years.

Friends of the Earth says that although food from 12 GM crops has been approved for sale in the EU, most UK supermarkets and food manufacturers have removed GM ingredients from their produce.

The arguments for GM

Most existing genetically modified crops have been developed to improve yield through resistance to plant pests or increased tolerance to herbicides.

Professor Jonathan Jones, a senior scientist at The Sainsbury Laboratory and an expert on how plants resist disease, was featured on the Panorama program.

“Producing enough food is hard, and currently there’s a lot of control of disease and pests by spraying agrochemicals,” he said.

“GM opponents have this idealistic notion that we can have a perfect, utterly clean way of doing things, but this idealism isn’t helpful because farming is a very pragmatic business. You’ve got to control weeds, so you need herbicides, and there are a lot of objections to them, but the question is, what’s the least bad way to do it?

“Anything that gets regulatory approval is completely safe, or at least as safe as its non-GM counterpart.”

Read more at BT.com

CSOs Storm National Assembly over GMO

The CSOs including Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Save Nigeria, Climate, Transformation and Energy Remediation Society (Climatters) and Women Environmental Programme (WEP) urged the National Assembly to outrightly ban the GMOs, stopped their field trails and transborder movement and ensure the labeling of the GM products if it has not been totally recalled

The Director of HOMEF Nnimmo Bassey and Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour who led the protest said that the activities of the GMOs are being curtailed in the United States, European and other countries and wondered why Nigeria is embracing what has been confirmed to be detrimental to Nigerians’ health.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Ecology and Climate Change Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim and Senator Abu Ibrahim who addressed the protesters at the entrance of the National Assembly, assured that the federal lawmakers would look into the petition of the protesters and the sides of those supporting the GMOs and take appropriate action in the interest of Nigeria.

Daily Trust

China Pushes Public to Accept GMO as Syngenta Takeover Nears

Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University and two other Chinese colleges will carry out the survey, said Jin Jianbin, a professor at Tsinghua’s School of Journalism and Communication. The poll, sponsored by the government, will be carried out in tandem with a campaign on social media to broadcast basic knowledge on GMO technology, which is widely misunderstood in the country, Jin said.

China is the world’s fourth-largest grower of GMO cotton and the top importer of soybeans, most of which are genetically modified and used for cooking oil and animal feed for pigs and chickens. But public concern over food safety issues and skepticism about the effects of consuming GMO foods have made the government reluctant to introduce the technology for staple crops.

A 2012 trial of so-called Golden Rice — a yellow GMO variant of the grain that produces beta-carotene — caused a public storm after reports that the rice was fed to children without the parents being aware that it was genetically modified.

The national survey aims to discover what the public’s concerns are so that the government can resolve the confusion, Jin said. “If the government pushes ahead before the public is ready to accept the technology, it would be embarrassing — like offering a pot of half-cooked rice to eat.”

Producers of GMO crops claim they offer improved yields, enhanced nutritional value and resistance to drought, frost and insects. Critics have raised concerns over safety and potential adverse ecological effects. Last year, the U.S., the world’s largest producer of GMO crops, mandated that food makers label products with modified ingredients. EU lawmakers this month objected to imports of herbicide-resistant strains of corn and cotton.

China itself has spent billions on research of its own GMO technology over the past decade, but has not allowed commercial production of grains, with scientists citing public resistance as part of the reason for the delay. China has said that it will allow commercial production of modified corn and soybeans by 2020.

Government officials have said that the country would introduce the use of the technology first on feed grains after cotton. China’s corn consumption is estimated to grow nearly 20 percent in the coming decade on demand for protein-rich meat and dairy products.

Bloomberg