Know What's in Your Food

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

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Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Made With Monsanto’s BT Corn

This picture came from GMO Inside. I read about the pesticides they recommended that I Google….here is what I found…..


(Photo courtesy of GMO Inside)

I did, as the photo from GMO Inside suggested, Googled EPA registration#524-581.  I found this link. This link contains the seed product package insert by Monsanto. On the first page at the bottom it says :



I guess it is okay to plant the seeds, and feed the BT corn to your children in the form of Corn Flakes? ….just don’t let them touch the seeds. ūüė¶

According to GM- Free Cymru #68467-7

“SmartStax is a genetically modified (GM) maize that has eight GM traits combined or ‚Äėstacked‚Äô together, six for insect resistance (Bt) and two for herbicide tolerance. Current stacked GM trait crops on the market only have up to three traits each. SmartStax was created through collaboration between Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences [1] SmartStax Corn: Corporate War on Bees, SiS 46), allowing the two corporations to share GM traits. The traits are combined together using crosses between existing transgenic corn lines rather than using genetic transformation of a single maize strain. USDA/APHIS (United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) the usual regulator of GM crops approved the crops without an approval process, because the transgenic traits had been granted unregulated status previously, and those traits were combined using conventional breeding. Nevertheless, USEPA (United States Environment Protection Agency) were obligated to regulate the stacked crop varieties containing plant-incorporated protectants (PIPS). EPA invited public comment prior to registration of stacked varieties of corn but they approved SmartStax corn without allowing public comment prior to its registration.”

Corn field

Corn field (Photo credit: Rastoney)

Here is the breakdown of the 8 stacked genes in SmartStax..

“An armoury of transgenes SmartStax has been created by crossing four transgene varieties: MON89034 x 1507 x MON88017 x 59122 [4], which together provide eight traits. The eight traits are accompanied by an array of regulatory sequences derived from bacteria, plant viruses and other plants, are as follows, as far as one can tell, as SmartStax is very poorly characterised, and is in all probability a hybrid corn [5, 6].

Pat (events DAS-59122-7 and TC1507), phosphinothricin N- acetyltransferase (from S.viridochromogenes) for glufosinate herbicide tolerance driven by CaMV 35S promoter, with CaMV 35S 3′ polyadenylation signal as a transcription terminator; two copies of the pat gene and its promoter and terminator are present, one in each of the events DAS-59122-7 and TC1507.

CP4 epsps (event NK603), 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (Agrobacterium tumefaciens CP4) for glyphosate herbicide tolerance , driven by rice actin I promoter, with intron sequences, chloroplast transit peptide from A. thaliana and A. tumefaciens nopaline synthase (nos) 3′-untranslated region terminator The genome has one copy of the NK603 event containing 4 transgenes in one locus.

cry1A.105 (event MON 89034), a chimeric Cry1 delta endotoxin (Bacillus thuringiensis) for insect (Lepidopteron, moth) resistance, driven by CaMV 35S promoter, with 5’untranslated leader from wheat chlorophylla/ b-binding protein, 3′ untranslated region of wheat heat shock protein 17.3 as a transcription terminator. The genome has one copy of the event MON89034 containing 4 transgenes in one locus.

cry2Ab (event MON 89034), Cry2Ab delta endotoxin (Bacillus thuringiensis) for Lepidopteron (moth) resistance, driven by FMV35S promoter from figwort mosaic virus, with Hsp70 intron from maize heat shock protein gene, and .A. tumefaciens nopaline synthase (nos) 3′- untranslated region The genome has one copy of event 89034 containing 4 transgenes in the same locus.

cry3Bb1 (event MON 8801), Cry3Bb1 delta endotoxin (Bacillus thuringiensis subsp.kumamotoensis strain EG4691) for Coleopteran (corn rootworm) resistance, driven by the CaMV 35S promoter with duplicated enhancer region, 5′ UTR from wheat chlorophyll a/b-binding protein, and rice actin gene first intron; transcription is terminated by 3′ UTR from wheat heat shock protein (tahsp17 3′). There is one copy of of event MON8801 in the genome, containing 6 transgenes.

cry1Fa2 (event TC1507), Cry1F delta endotoxin (Bacillus thuringiensis var.aizawai) for Lepidopteron (moth) resistance, driven by the ubiquitin (ubi) ZM (Zea mays) promoter and the first exon and intron; transcription is terminated by the 3′ polyadenylation signal from ORF25 (Agrobacterium tumefaciens). There is one functional copy of the event containing 6 complete transgenes, and 2 partial copies of the event elsewhere in the genome.

cry35Ab1 (event DAS-59122-7), Cry35Ab1 delta endotoxin (Bacillus thuringiensis strain PS149B1) Insect Coleopteran (corn rootworm) Resistance The toxin gene is driven by the Triticum aestivum peroxidase gene root-preferred promoter. The transcription is terminated by the Solanum tuberosum proteinase inhibitor II (PINII) terminator. There is one copy of the cry35Ab1 transgene in the genome.

cry34Ab1(event DAS-59122-7), Cry34Ab1 delta endotoxin (Bacillus thuringiensis strain PS149B1) for Coleopteran (corn rootworm) resistance, driven by the Zea mays ubiquitin gene promoter, intron and 5’UTR; transcription is terminated by the Solanum tuberosum proteinase inhibitor II (PINII) terminator. There is one copy of cry34Ab1 transgene in the genome (note cry34Ab1 and cry 35Ab1 are combined in a single event DAS-59122-7).

The eight main traits in SmartStax corn include at least 34 transgenes. For the most part, the transgenes were developed and patented during the mid 1980s through to the mid 1990s. These old events were combined using traditional plant breeding techniques. The environmental and human safety of the transgenes have never been rigorously established while the regulatory agencies justify the safety of those many transgenes on the basis of the long time in which the transgenes have been used in GM food and feed in the Americas. However, the modified foods were never labelled in the market, making epidemiological studies impossible.”

It sounds like a lot of Franken engineering just to make some corn for cereal! ¬†According to Food Democracy Now, Kellogg’s spent $790,000 on opposing prop 37. Prop 37 would have required foods that contain GMO’s to be labeled. Corn flakes are a rather simple idea. It is hard to imagine all the GMO and bioscience¬†that goes into a simple bowl of cereal. Opt for organic alternatives or another breakfast food altogether.

Sources: GM- Free Cymru, GMO Inside, EPA


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What Does “Natural” And “All Natural” Mean On A Food Label

Red Angus Cow

Photo credit: kmitschke

From the FDA webiste:

“From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.”

According to the USDA beef can be labeled as “All Natural” as long as it doesn’t contain artificial flavors, added colors or synthetic substances….after slaughter. ¬†This means that the beef can be from cloned cows, or factory farm cows fed a diet of GMO’s, animal by-products, living in their own waste, and pumped full of antibiotics and hormones can still be considered, “All Natural” as long as it doesn’t take place after slaughter. They don’t have any requirements for the, “All Natural” claim prior to beef being slaughtered. That just doesn’t seem right, now does it?

PepsiCo just settled a class action lawsuit for its product, Naked Juice. Apparently, the product wasn’t so natural after all. In some cases it contained synthetic vitamins. Synthetic vitamins are made in chemical plants right along with plastics and other non-foods. ¬†You can read about my post on synthetic vitamins here.¬† Not only did the juice contain synthetic vitamins, it also contained synthetic fiber. There is also the claim that ¬†GMO’s were made to use the product. GMO’s are anything but natural.

nake juice protein zone mango juice all natural nake juice side panel naked juice ingredients

The label says “All Natural Fruit + Boost.” This label is ¬†deceptive. It would be easy to believe it is an all natural product. The side panel shows what is in the boost artificial ingredients including synthetic vitamins.

Kashi (Parent company Kellogg’s) is also under fire for its claim of “all natural” ¬†on its products. The lawsuit against Kashi is still in process.

I found these two questionable products on a quick trip the grocery store this evening.

Kraft sharp cheddar cheese natural ingredients for kraft sharp natural cheese

After seeing what you might expect to see in cheese there is also:

Added color from Annatto, potato starch, cellulose powder, calcium sulfate, natamycin.

Why is starch in any form in cheese? Cellulose powder is made from wood pulp, natamycin is an antifungal agent possibly coming from GMO’s. Calcium sulfate is a coagulant it can be from natural or synthetic sources.

promise land milk promise land milk ingredient

Contains: Milk, Sugar, Cocoa Processed with alkali. They used the word processed right on the ingredient label.

Corn starch another form of possible ¬†GMO’s.

Carrageenan: has been linked to cancer.

Salt : Yuck…just what you want in chocolate milk, salt.

Dextrose: Another form of sugar derived from corn. Another possible form of GMO’s. 88% of all corn in the U.S. is genetically modified, according to the¬†International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications report.

All natural doesn’t always mean what we think it should. The FDA is apparently soft when it comes to enforcing the weak guidelines it has put into place. It is up to us to read the labels and Know what’s in our food.

Sources : Natural Grocers, FDA, USDA, Live Strong, Organic Consumers Association

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The World According to Monsanto: Video

Hollywood, FL, March 26, 2011, Rally for the R...

(Photo credit: MillionsAgainstMonsanto)

Here is a link you can click on to watch one the most powerful documentaries I have ever seen. It is almost two hours long, but well worth the investment of your time. I promise, after watching it you will never be the same. Make no mistake, this company is incredibly powerful and affects us all.

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Food Hero- Dr. Vandana Shiva

When it comes to awareness about the food we eat, and how we are being duped by our government and  corporations, there are a few names that come to mind. Do you have a favorite food hero?

Dr. Vandana Shiva:

“I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness, no matter how tough the situation. I believe that if you just do your little bit without thinking of the bigness of what you stand against, if you turn to the enlargement of your own capacities, just that itself

English: Vandana Shiva, noted environmentalist...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

creates new potential. And I’ve learned from the Bhagavad-Gita and other teachings of our culture to detach myself from the results of what I do, because those are not in my hands. The context is not in your control, but your commitment is yours to make, and you can make the deepest commitment with a total detachment about where it will take you. You want it to lead to a better world, and you shape your actions and take full responsibility for them, but then you have detachment. And that combination of deep passion and deep detachment allows me to take on the next challenge, because I don’t cripple myself, I don’t tie myself in knots. I function like a free being. I think getting that freedom is a social duty because I think we owe it to each not to burden each other with prescription and demands. I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy.‚ÄĚ

‚Äē¬†Vandana Shiva

In 1987 Dr. Vandana Shiva started saving seeds as a result from attending a conference called the Laws of Life. She says in this conference lead biotech companies vowed to be a total of 5 companies in the future that would control agriculture and pharmacy.  Their plan involved three steps:

1. Acquire other companies

2. Perfect genetic engineering

3. Acquire patents.

She says the biotech companies claimed the World Trade Organization would be their instrument in carrying out their three-step plan. Dr. Vandana Shiva recognized the danger of this plan and began to save seeds. The seeds are saved in a seed bank and are distributed to farmers in need. This helps keep seeds from disappearing and becoming extinct and farmers becoming dependent on biotech companies.

Dr. Shiva has been successful in getting patent reversal on a pesticide made from neem. The patent was held by the U.S. Department of Agriculutre and chemical company W.R. Grace. She was victorious in her eleven year fight with the U.S Department of Agriculture and W. R. Grace. Dr. Shiva has taken on companies successfully such as Coca-Cola.

She speaks around the world in an effort to educate on the destructive nature of biotech companies and the dangers of GMOs. She continues to be an activist for farmers around the world.

Dr. Shiva is a food hero ūüôā


Potatoes Flavored Any Way You Like Them

full ruffles potatoes

A friend of mine was eating her lunch and had this bag of potato chips. I quickly grabbed the bag for a quick review of the ingredients. She knew right away, when I started taking pictures of the bag, what I was up to. ¬†She asked me to use the name “Veronica” to protect her identity of the person eating this fried, fake,(processed) food. So…full disclaimer, the name of the individual has been changed to protect the guilty ūüôā

“Veronica” loves cheese or foods that are flavored cheese. I assume that is what attracted her to try these chips. ¬†I pointed out that they were cheddar & sour cream “flavor.” ¬†While I am sure few of us would expect potato chips to be healthy, I am amazed at how many of our foods are “flavored” to delight our senses. ¬†I have seen hot dog, steak, barbecue, chicken & waffle etc. flavored potato chips. Since when is a potato supposed taste like a chicken or a waffle? Shouldn’t a potato taste like a potato?

Here is a look of the ingredients:

ruffles ingredients

The good news is the first ingredient is potatoes, and that is about where it ends.

Oil- Sunflower, Corn, Canola. Some of these oils are listed more than once. Corn and Canola are both big GMO crops. You can read my post on GMOs by clicking here.

Right after potatoes and oil we see, “Sour Cream Seasoning”… I am sorry, but what the heck is that? ¬†I have never seen sour cream seasoning in the store… have you?

Maltodexterin – Made from corn.. another GMO possibility.

Monosodium Glutamate- So many products have hidden forms of MSG. This one just says it flat-out. You can read my post about MSG by clicking here.

Natural and Artificial Flavors- The source of natural flavoring can be disturbing.  Artificial flavoring comes from just plain old chemicals made in a lab by flavor scientist. These chemicals are designed to make you crave the taste, so that you continue to eat more. In a word, addiction! You can read my post about flavoring by clicking here.

Yeast Extract- A hidden form of MSG.

Yellow 5&6- both of these artificial dyes are derived from coal tar…yuck.

Less than 2% of this product contains real cheese and sour cream, but that is what they advertise on the front of the bag in big letters. The potato chip bag ¬†reserves the small lettering for the word, “flavored.” I also find it appalling that they use a picture of cheese on the front and they want to tell that is made with real cheese…..ummm yes,(sigh) this product is made with less than 2% cheese.

I would have told “Veronica” to skip the fried, salty, chemically inflamed, goodness, but she already knows my thoughts on such foods. ūüôā


A Closer Look at Kellogg’s Pop Tarts

Wild strawberry

You wouldn’t think you would have to check to see if your pop-tart is vegetarian, but if you are eating Kellogg’s pop-tarts, you are not eating a vegetarian pop-tart. In addition to not being vegetarian, these things are loaded with a bunch of chemicals and other questionable ingredients.

A closer look at the ingredients of the” Wild Strawberry” flavor reveals an interesting find.

full ingredients of wild poptarts

Wild Strawberry? More Like Wild Ingredients..

  • First, in the ingredient list we see enriched flour. This is flour that has been stripped of its nutrients and has had artificial nutrients added back in. The artificial nutrients are the vitamins listed right after the enriched flour.
  • Corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and sugar. You can read about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup from one of my previous post here.
  • Soybean oil is most likely from a GMO source. Soybean oil is listed twice in the ingredients.
  • Palm Oil- Most palm oil that is harvested destroys the rainforest.
  • TBHQ – This is a food preservative ,used to extend shelf life, that comes from butane. The FDA allows the use of this food preservative in the amounts of 0.02%. It is a very small amount, and as you might guess, it doesn’t take a lot to cause harm. As little as 1 gram of this additive can cause side effects ranging from nausea, ADD symptoms, delirium, and asthma. It is also suspected of causing estrogen hormone disruption in women. ¬†Estrogen hormone disruption can be associated with weight gain and cancer.
  • Dextrose- Another form of sugar.
  • Wheat Starch- Plain and simple, starch.
  • Salt- Salt
  • Dried strawberries, pears, and dried apples. Just keep that in mind for a moment and I will get back to that…. ūüôā
  • Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate- Another shelf life extender. Consumption of phosphates have been linked to osteoporosis.
  • Monocalcium Phosphate- A preservative that extends shelf life. This is another form of a phosphate.
  • Milled Corn- Most likely a GMO source.
  • Gelatin- Made from animal hooves.
  • Modified Corn Starch- A hidden form of MSG. You can read my post about MSG byclicking here.
  • Soy Lecithin- Most likley from a GMO source.
  • Modified Wheat Starch- A hidden form of MSG.
  • Red 40 & Yellow 6- The Center for Science in the Pulic Interest had this to say about Red 40 and Yellow 6:
  • “The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens ‚Ķ Another dye, Red 3, has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet is still in the food supply.”
  • Carmine- Derived from ground up beetles. You can read my post about carmine by clicking here.
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor- Natural strawberry flavor maybe made from a beavers anus. You can read more about natural flavors by reading my post ¬†by clicking here.

Wow! What a list of ingredients!!!

I was curious about the little disclaimer just below the ingredients list that reads, ” Filling made with equal to 10% fruit.” ¬†Made with equal to 10% fruit??

So what is fruit filling actually made of?

This question prompted me to call the good people at Kellogg’s to find out. ¬†The first customer service representative was adamant that this meant it could contain as little as 6% fruit or as much as 10% fruit depending on the actual amount of fruit inside the filling. She claimed they were allowed to label it that way based on FDA guidelines. I got off the phone …not convinced (even though she sure was). My research into the FDA¬†yielded nothing.

I called the Kellogg company back and ask the same question. The representative that answered the phone admitted she didn’t know what it meant, and the wording did sound strange. She agreed to have a specialist call me back. I did receive a call back with in 24 hours. I was told that dried fruit (listed in the ingredient list) is equal to 2% or less, and is hydrated with water to make it equal to 10% fruit. ..that sounds more like it.

So after a long list of shelf life extenders, GMOs, ground up bugs, carcinogens, and MSG… they have the nerve to call this product,”Wild Strawberry.” ¬†The dried fruit used to make the filling is 2% (or less) ¬†total. ¬†The 2% of dried fruit used isn’t all strawberry. Some of that 2% is from dried pears and dried apples.

I also inquired from the Kellogg’s company if the product was vegetarian. They said it was not because of the gelatin and carmine. I asked about the source of a natural flavor and they claimed it was proprietary information….doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Sources: Center for Science in the Public Interest, Live Strong, Mercola.


Monsanto, The Invisible Giant

English: Monsanto pesticide to be sprayed on f...

English: Monsanto pesticide to be sprayed on food crops.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monsanto is a giant biotech company that produces genetically modified crops that can be found in most of the foods we see in our grocery stores. They produce seeds that have been genetically modified to be resistant to their pesticide Round Up. Monsanto sells seeds that are genetically modified to be used in conjunction with Round Up pesticide. The result of using Round Up Ready seeds is supposed to be higher yielding crops. There is a debate on how effective these seeds really are. There have been concerns about weeds becoming resistant to the RoundUp pesticide, and as a result more pesticide must be used to produce the same result.

Some of the most popular Monsanto crops include soybeans, corn, sugar beets, and canola. Look at your food labels in the store. Most likely you will find at least one or more of these ingredients on the label.  Alfalfa, cottonseed and papaya are also genetically modified.  The percentage of these crops that are genetically modified may surprise you. Take a look at the percentages for these crops in the United States:

  • ¬† Cottonseed-94
  • ¬† Soy-93%
  • ¬†Canola-90%
  • ¬†Papaya-75%
  • ¬† Sugar beets 54%

When GM crops first appeared in the early 90’s, the FDA did not require safety testing. Instead, the FDA claimed that there was no difference between traditionally grown food and genetically modified food. ¬†However, The FDA’s own scientists strongly disagreed stating the differences between traditional crops and GM were profound, according to the Center for Food Safety. One of the concerns the ¬†FDA scientist ¬†had were about ¬†the toxicity of GMO crops.

“FDA was well aware of the ‚Äúgenetic instability‚ÄĚ problem prior to establishing their no-testing policy. ¬†FDA scientists warned that this problem could create dangerous toxins in food and was a significant health risk. ¬†The scientists specifically warned that the genetic engineering of foods could result in ‚Äúincreased levels of known naturally occurring toxicants, appearance of new, not previously identified toxicants, [and] increased capability of concentrating toxic substances from the environment (e.g., pesticides or heavy metals).‚ÄĚ ¬†These same FDA scientists recommended that long-term topological tests be required prior to the marketing of GE foods. ¬†FDA officials also were aware that safety testing on the first genetically engineered food, the Calgene¬†Flavr Savr¬†tomato, had shown that consumption of this product resulted in stomach lesions in laboratory rats.

FDA‚Äôs response to the potential toxicity problem with genetically engineered foods was to ignore it.”

More often than not it seems as though the FDA is not looking out for us. ¬†Toxicity is not the only concern of GMO crops. Cancer is also a concern. In 1993 the FDA approved the genetically engineered Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), produced by Monsanto, to be used on dairy cows. This hormone increases milk production in cows. The FDA said it was safe because Monsanto said it was safe……that’s right! Monsanto did their own safety testing on 30 lab rats for 90 days, and told the FDA their product was safe. The study was never published and the FDA took their word for it that rBGH was safe. The FDA does not require third-party testing for safety. They put the responsibility of testing on the producer. It is only years later we are finding out that rBGH is linked to colon, prostate, and breast cancer.

Allergies, immune suppression, and loss of nutrition are also problems with genetically modified food. ¬†The FDA still continues to allow GMO’s even with these concerns. One last concern with GMO’s is antibiotic resistance. According to the Center for Food Safety

“Another hidden risk of GE foods is that they could make disease-causing bacteria resistant to current antibiotics, resulting in a significant increase in the spread of infections and diseases in the human population. ¬†Virtually all genetically engineered foods contain ‚Äúantibiotic resistance markers‚ÄĚ which help the producers identify whether the new genetic material has actually been transferred into the host food. ¬†FDA‚Äôs large-scale introduction of these antibiotic marker genes into the food supply could render important antibiotics useless in fighting human diseases. ¬†For example, a genetically engineered maize plant from Novartis includes an ampicillin-resistance gene. ¬†Ampicillin is a valuable antibiotic used to treat a variety of infections in people and animals. ¬†A number of European countries, including Britain, refused to permit the Novartis Bt corn to be grown, due to health concerns that the ampicillin resistance gene could move from the corn into bacteria in the food chain, making ampicillin far less effective in fighting a wide range of bacterial infections.

Again, FDA officials have ignored their own scientists‚Äô concerns over the antibiotic resistance problem. ¬†Meanwhile, the British Medical Association (BMA) addressed this problem in its own study of GE foods. ¬†The BMA‚Äôs conclusion was unequivocal: ‚ÄúThere should be a ban on the use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in GM food, as the risk to human health from antibiotic resistance developing in microorganisms is one of the major public health threats that will be faced in the 21st century.‚ÄĚ

Monsanto is a biotech giant that has its toxic greedy hands in the food chain all across the world, and yet to many people, Monsanto is invisible. There are too many of us that don’t know what’s in our food or where it comes from. However, I don’t believe that will be the case for much longer, little by little word of mouth and grass-roots movements will shine the light on this invisible giant for all the world to see.

What you can do to make a difference:

  • Take Action with the Center for Food safety by clicking here.
  • Learn more about how GMO are made by reading my post here.
  • Share this post with social media sites like Facebook to let other people know about Monsanto.
  • Purchase local organic food to keep your diet as free from GMO’s as possible.


Sustainable Table, Center for Food Safety, Healthy Child Healthy World