Know What's in Your Food

Promoting awareness and change about the food we eat, and where it comes from.


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What is a GMO?

Angry Carrot

What is a GMO?

 A GMO is a plant or animal that has its genes altered to grow in a more favorable way. For example, corn is genetically modified to resist pesticides that farmers use in their crops. The seeds of corn are genetically modified  to work with a particular pesticide. The altered DNA of the corn seed is resistant to the herbicides. When farmers spray for weeds they kill the weeds and not the crops. The biotech companies believe this produces bigger crops( this is highly debatable). However, more and more herbicide is needed to achieve the same results. In turn, we consume more pesticide by eating GMO plants. Plants are also genetically modified to grow in non traditional geographic areas, and tolerate extreme climate conditions such as freeze and droughts.

How are seeds genetically modified?

Scientist force genes from a desired species into another species, by way of cell invasion. The result is a plant or animal created by man…..not by God. To learn more, you can watch a 7 minute video of how this works.

Are GMOs Safe?

There isn’t enough scientific evidence to say that they are. GMOs are created by giant biotech industries like, Monsanto. Many former employees of Monsanto now have positions in key government offices such as the USDA and FDA.  You can see a list of them here. Former Monsanto attorney, Michael Taylor, now works for the FDA creating policy.  The FDA accepts the word of  biotech companies that GMOs are safe. There is no FDA or third party testing for safety required on genetically modified foods.  The FDA says it is the responsibility of biotech companies  to provide their own research that GMOs are safe.  Now what kind of science is that? Biotech companies would be bias to their own product. You can read the FDA’s stance on testing here. Monsanto says that there is no need to test for the safety of GMOs in humans because it would be “impossible”.  You can read Monsanto’s full response here.

How do I know if GMOs are in my food?

Unfortunately, at this time labeling of GMOs is not required on food labels. The biggest GMO crops are corn and soy. Look at your ingredient labels on your food. If you see the word corn or soy in any form, unless it’s organic, chances are you are eating a GMO. Other GMOs include canola oil, cotton, papaya, and Aspartame( made from GMO crops.)

How you can make a difference:

Tell the FDA and  Congress you want foods to be labeled if they contain GMOs. You can click here to sign a petition. Tell your friends and families about GMOs and encourage them to sign.
Try to purchase organic products. Organic products do not use pesticide, so there isn’t a need for genetic modification.
Read food labels and know what’s in your food.  Try to purchase foods that do not contain GMOs.  Remember, most processed foods contain GMOs.
*Source-Co op Stronger Together, Forbes, Monsanto, FDA, Organic Consumer Association, Non GMO Project.

Factory Farming Chickens…Scrambled eggs, anyone?

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Rescued egg laying hens

 
Good prenatal health is important to women in order to delivery healthy babies. What are the chances of these hens laying healthy eggs?  On factory farms, hens live in cages that are the size of a folded newspaper with 4-5 hens in a cage. In these cramp quarters, there is no room to move around.  Manure infested and cramped cages lead to illness and malnutrition among hens. Illness is combated with antibiotics. 90% off all antibiotics in the U.S. are given to livestock. Over use of antibiotics can lead to bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Many hens die during their factory farm life span of about two years. Hens that lay eggs that hatch male baby chick are considered of no value and they are dumped, both dead and alive, shortly after hatching.

Battery Cages

What does your egg carton label say?

Free Range– Free range chickens are not kept in cages and have some outside accessibility. The USDA does not have set guidelines or requirements as to how much time they are allowed outside, the quality of their outdoor space, or what the chickens are fed. Beak cutting is allowed, and so is forced molting by means of starvation. There is no third party auditing on free range chickens to verify their quality of living. Apparently free range applies to the chicken farmer…free range to do what you want and no third party audit to maintain integrity.
Cage Free– Hens live inside a barn or a warehouse  cage free. Beak cutting is permitted and there is no third party audit.
Free Roaming– Also known as free range.
Vegetarian Fed– This label implies that chickens were fed a diet  that does not contain animal byproducts. It gives no insight on the  living or health conditions of the chickens.
Animal Welfare Approved– This label states that chickens are raised humanely.  Chickens are raised appropriately with the ability to go inside and outside cage free at all times. No beak cutting is allowed. No forced molting by means of starvation is allowed. Third party auditing  is required to maintain integrity.
Certified Organic– Chickens are allowed to be cage free and fed an organic diet, but force molting and beak cutting are allowed. Third party auditing is required to maintain integrity.
  • What you can do to make a difference:
  • Purchase eggs from an animal friendly egg farm.
  • Contact your local grocery and request eggs that come from humane egg farms and are animal welfare approved.
  • Learn more about which egg farms produce quality eggs under humane conditions by visiting the Cornucopia Institute .
  • The Cornucopia egg score card provides a quick review on which eggs are best. Hint, Eggland’s Best is not the best.
  • Consider going vegan and not using eggs in your diet at all.
* Pictures are courtesy of Farm Sanctuary. org
*Sources: Humane Society, Mother Earth News, Farm Sanctuary, Cornucopia Institute.