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 Truth About Cereal

My sister-in-law shared this picture with me. I absolutely love it! Take a close look at this picture. These cereals are recognizable in the grocery store. Too bad the truth labeling in this photo doesn’t appear in the actual stores. My favorite has to be the Cereal Killer ūüôā What is yours?

Photo credit CC Crisp Culture

Photo credit CC Crisp Culture


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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


Nature’s Path Is On The Right Path…

vegetarian poptarts

Not too long ago I did a post about the unsavory ingredients in Kellogg’s Wild Strawberry pop-tarts. I wanted to show that there are some products, that while they are not whole foods, they can be alright to consume every now and then. Nature’s Path has such a product. Let me say up front, I do not get paid in any way for talking about their product. I reviewed the ingredient list, which is much shorter than Kellogg’s.

Nature's Path Strawberry Ingredients

The first thing I noticed is, Nature’s Path tells you up front their product is vegetarian. It doesn’t contain animal products including insects that are used to make carmine food coloring. ¬†I like the fact that it is also labeled non-gmo and is non-gmo verified.

My concern was the use of palm oil. Palm oil is found in a lot of foods. Food companies use it in place of trans fats. The problem with palm oil is it is harmful to the rainforest. ¬†I contacted customer service to Nature’s Path and asked them about their use of palm oil. They assured me the palm oil they used wasn’t harmful to the environment. Their palm oil comes from a sustainable source. I asked them if they would be willing to put it in writing. They said they would be more than happy too. They sent me ¬†a response in email within a couple of hours. Below a copy of the email.

“Thank you for your comments on Nature’s Path Organic Toaster Pastries. We take each comment seriously and we endeavor to always provide a good quality product. Nature‚Äôs Path is committed to producing quality organic foods, using the best ingredients available, while adhering to strict quality control procedures.

At Nature’s Path, we are dedicated to providing consumers with healthy, great tasting organic foods. Our family-owned company is committed to producing products which support the development and sustenance of organic agriculture. We aim to do this in a way that minimizes our ecological footprint while striving to maintain social, environmental and financial integrity.

Nature’s Path uses a variety of organic oils in moderation in our products. Palm oil is a dietary oil of vegetable origin; it is essentially free of cholesterol. It is a healthy, trans-fat free, non-genetically modified oil, high in phytonutrients. It is easily digested, absorbed and utilized in normal metabolic processes. It is a naturally occurring source of the antioxidant Vitamin E constituents, tocopherols and tocotrienols.Our supplier guarantees that our palm oil comes from long established organic palm plantations and small scale farms, located in an agricultural area of the Amazon delta near Belem in Brazil Рand that these farms are cultivated in a sustainable & organic manner. Our supplier has re-establish forest on 185,000 acres of previously deforested lands, which consequentially led to the rehabilitation of 7 previously endangered animal species. It is their company policy to never replace forest with plantations. All of the organic production is done in accordance with Brazilian, USDA/NOP, and European standards and is verified by the Brazilian certifier IBD. Additionally, our product supplier is in the final stages of certification with RSPO Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil , is certified as an organic supplier and meets the stringent IBD Certification that has environmental and sustainable requirements: IBD . They have been approved as one of the first EcoSocial projects in Brazil, a seal issued by the IBD Program for fair relations in the trade of socially and environmentally certified products (and governed by rigid standards and requirements that are not easily met). Our supplier has implemented the Integrated Management System, which qualified them for triple certification (ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems, ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) for all production processes. And they are the only palm oil company in the world that holds all three of these certificates.Because we are an organic company from the outset (going back several decades), we work diligently to increase sustainable agriculture and provide healthy, delicious organic products both locally and globally. We care deeply about our Earth we all share, the communities we operate in, the organic family farmers we provide markets for, and the customers we serve. At Nature’s Path Foods we also donate annually to endangered species, habitat conservation and environmental education. We have donated to groups such as the Amazon Conservation Team , Wildlife Trust , World Wildlife Fund & many others dedicated to environmental and social sustainability.

Your email tells us that you are passionate about your health and wellness. If you would like to get more involved and share your opinion with us, please accept our invitation to join our research panel, The Cereal Bowl .

Please visit¬†Nature’s Path¬†for more information on our company and our products.

Thank you for being a valued Nature’s Path customer.”

Kind regards

Consumer Services
Nature’s Path Foods
9100 Van Horne Way
Richmond BC V6X 1W3
or 2220 Nature’s Path Way
Blaine WA 98230

Wow!! ūüôā They put far more in writing than what I had asked them to do. They did it promptly as well. This tells me this is a company with nothing to hide. They are open with their ingredients list, ¬†they have customer service department that is educated about their products, and willing to follow-up with their customers. The same can’t be said for other food companies I have talked to. Once again, I receive no compensation or gifts in any form from Nature’s Path. I just wanted to show that there are a few decent companies out there.


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.


Nutri Grain Bars…Not So Nutritious After All

Sham Award for Nutri Grain Bar filled with MSG, GMO, sugar, and carcinogens

Strawberry Nutri Grain Bar

I stopped off at a local coffee shop this morning for some tea. While I was waiting for my order, I saw these popular breakfast cereal bars. Just looking at the label makes you think they are healthy and nutritious. Words like Nutri imply nutrition and Grain…we hear all the time how we need more grain in our diets. They are only 120 calories each, so it sounds like a way to not destroy your calorie budget for the day. The front of the package proudly shows that there is ¬†no high fructose corn syrup in the product. The front of this product looks rather impressive.

Now for a look at the ingredients….

Nutri Grain Ingredient List
Nutri Grain Ingredient List

Whole grain oats is the first ingredient, that sounds promising; however, it quickly goes down hill from there. ¬†The second main ingredient is enriched flour. This is really misleading because it isn’t really enriched, it is just flour with all of the nutrients stripped away. ¬†Enriched flour goes through a process where the bran and the germ are removed. I am not sure how food makers can get away with calling it enriched…enriched with what?

Other alarming ingredients include:

Soy and/or Canola Oil, Soy Lecithin- Probable GMOs.

Sugar, Dextrose, Fructose, Invert Sugar, Corn Syrup – Forms of Sugar.

Natural and Artificial Flavor, Р Hidden forms of MSG.

Mono and Diglycerides- Hidden forms of trans fats.

Carrageenan, Carmel Color- Carcinogens.

Guar Gum, Citric Acid,- Probable hidden forms of MSG.

Modified Corn Starch- Can trigger MSG reaction in sensitive people.

Red 40- Carcinogen.

This breakfast bar contains: MSG, GMO’s, carcinogens, trans fats, flour with no nutrients, and sugar. ¬†Keep in mind that Kellogg’s spent almost $800,000 dollars on defeating proposition 37 in California. Proposition 37 would have required food makers to label foods that contain GMO’s. Labeling GMO’s is something Kellogg’s and several other food makers were against. They don’t want you to know what’s in your food. Too bad Kellogg’s doesn’t want to share this information on the front of their label. If they did, it would be easy to see that Nutri Grain Bars are not so nutritious after all.