Know What's in Your Food

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

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The Sick Story of Genetically Modified Organisms

A great documentary that explains the FDA’s involvement..or lack there of in our food.

I thought it was great the way they showed the FDA scientist thought that GMOs were dangerous. Even though the scientist employeed by the FDA spoke out, they were ignored.



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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


Litte Shop Of Horrors… Supermarket Finds

corn dog frozen

It seems as though each time I go to the grocery store, I find an item, or two, that is utterly appalling. Today was no different. I know that most everyone knows corn dogs are not healthy, but allow me to vent for a moment about these corn dogs made by Foster Farms. I saw several people buying these in the store today. I can just see these being an after school treat for kids…it’s a thought that really bothers me ūüė¶

First, a look at the front of the box

corn dog frozen

The first thing I notice is that they contain honey crunchy flavor….not honey, but honey crunchy flavor. ¬†They are double dipped in “honey batter.” Foster farms is so proud of their “honey” claim they mention it three times on the front of the box. They use the clever marketing scam of ” No added hormones or steroids.” ¬†Federal law prohibits the use of hormones and steroids to be added to chicken. ¬†Factory farmers use antibiotics on chicken. You can read about factory farming by clicking here . This product boasts about being a good source of iron.

Now for a look at the ingredients

conr dog ingredients

  • Flour with the natural nutrients striped from it.
  • Added synthetic vitamins and minerals….which is ¬†the only reason why it can be labeled as a good source of iron,
  • Yellow corn flour and yellow corn meal- probable GMO’s.
  • Soy Flour and soy bean oil – probable GMO’s.
  • Then there is the dried honey (at less than 2% of the make-up of the batter.) ¬†Dried honey is never 100% pure honey. Dried honey is a processed food. It contains anywhere from 50-70% real honey, but yet Foster Farms advertises the word honey in three separate areas on the front of their box.
  • Artificial flavors- These are just that, artificial. They are made from chemicals in a lab. You can read my post on natural and artificial flavorings by clicking here.

Chemicals, processed honey, and GMO’s….and that’s just the batter!

Now  for a look at the frank.

  • Mechanically separated chicken Also known as , pink slime. You can watch a video about pink slime by clicking here.
  • Salt
  • Corn syrup solids- Sugar
  • Sodium Phosphate- A texturizer and shelf life extender (preservative).
  • Sodium Diacetate- ¬†A fungicide and bacteriacide required for the pink slime.
  • Sodium Erythrobate- A preservative that has been known to cause: headaches, nausea, body flushing, generalized fatigue, gastritis, malaise, dizziness, light-headedness and hemolysis.
  • Sodium Nitrate- A known carcinogen and also is responsible for an increases risk for type 2 Diabetes.

I wonder how many people would buy this product if Foster Farms were to boast about what’s really in these corn dogs, like the way they boast about honey in their product.

Sources: Live Strong, Young Turks, Natural News

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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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Seeds of Death Documentary

English: Brown Flax Seeds. Français : Graines ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Watch the intense and informative documentary Seeds of Death.

You will see leading scientist and activist talk about the dangers of GMO.

Some include:

Vandana Shiva Ph.D physicist

Shiv Chopra Ph.D Microbiology, Human Rights Activist

Andrew Kimbril- Environmental Attorney

Jeffery Smith- Author

Mike Adams- Food Activist

Don Lotter Ph.D. Agroecology

You will hear author, Jeffery Smith, tell how Monsanto found a bacteria surviving in a chemical waste dump that contained their product Round Up. Monsanto used the genes from the bacteria that were able to survive Round Up in to seeds. ¬†You will learn about how biotech companies cover their tracks. You will understand how GMO consumption can affect fertility, and how new research is out to show that GMO’s can cause large tumors in rats that would equate to breast cancer for women and kidney cancer for men.

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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