October Is Non-GMO Month: 10-10-10 Is Non-GMO Day

Okay, here’s your chance, with a new way for you to know that your food does not contain genetically modified organisms. The Non-GMO Project, a collection of top suppliers and advocates in the organic industry, and the only no-GMO certifier in North America, has kicked off a GM-free month.

Ruh-roh — October includes Halloween. Since half of the refined sugar in the US is genetically modified, coming from GM sugar beets, finding GM-free candy might be a little hard. Though GM beets are now illegal until further notice, what’s on the shelves today is most likely made from last year’s crops.

The NGP product page lets you see what’s already verified as being GMO-free and what’s under review. You could pass out candy bars made by:

Endangered Species Chocolates
EnviroKids Organic
Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss
So Delicious
Funky Monkey Snacks

Taste of Nature’s 100% certified organic exotic bars are also vegan and Kosher.

Communications Director for the Non-GMO Project, Skylar Boorman, told Food Freedom, “Through our Product Verification Program, a growing number of products have become ‘Non-GMO Project Verified’ and bear our seal.” Right now, that’s 69 vendors, he said, amounting to over 900 products verified so far. One company, 365 Everyday Value, submitted over 700 of its products for review, with 29 now GM-free verified.

The non-profit has a technical advisory team that reads like a who’s who of the organic industry. That includes regional organic alliances, universities and names like Whole Foods, Nature’s Way, Organic Valley, Nature’s Path, Whole Soy, and Newman’s Own Organic. Six committees review different aspects of food: Growers & Producers, Processors & Manufacturers, Vitamins & Supplements, Seed, Livestock, and a Policy Committee.

The Public Has a Right to Know

By creating a non-GMO verification program, NGP avoids FDA policy to hide GM food. Boorman explains, “Our label was specifically designed to be a process claim (“Non-GMO Project Verified”) and not an absence claim.”

The right-to-know issue is significant. The FDA considers claims of “GMO free” and “Non-GMO” to be “not technically accurate” and “misleading.” Firstly, that’s because the FDA believes “the use of bioengineering is not a material fact.” The FDA recognizes no difference in GM and non-GM foods. They are “substantially equivalent.”

Secondly, the FDA subscribes to a definition for genetically modified food that is broadly outside the scope of everyone else’s understanding:

“’Genetic modification’ means the alteration of the genotype of a plant using any technique, new or traditional.”

While the public uses the terms ‘genetically modified’ and ‘genetically engineered’ interchangeably to mean the DNA was directly manipulated, the FDA does not. Conveniently, the FDA does not apply such a broad definition to the term ‘biotechnology.’ But, aren’t all plant breeding technologies ‘biotechnology’ by the same broad standard that the FDA applies to ‘genetic modification’?

Thirdly, the FDA asserts that food can accidentally become contaminated with GMOs, so vendors can’t claim their products are GM-free unless they’ve undergone extensive testing and verification. That’s an interesting admission on the part of the FDA. Now, the FDA recognizes a material difference between GM and non-GM foods. Now, substantial equivalence doesn’t apply.

When GM crops contaminate natural ones, courts recognize a substantial and patent difference between them. Already at the appellate level, an Ohio district court just rejected a similar ban (claiming milk is rBST-free), saying it was “more extensive than necessary to serve the state’s interest in preventing consumer deception.”

Human and Environmental Health

There’s also the food safety factor to keep in mind. GM crops (trees, too) are genetically modified to produce or tolerate pesticides. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, has been linked to birth defects, cancer and miscarriages in humans.

Other studies have linked GM-foods to organ damage and sterility in mammals, while others correlate rising diabetes and obesity rates with GMO introduction. There’s also the question of allergic reaction to GM foods, proof of which is hidden by lack of labeling.

Environmental concerns cannot be ignored, either. Pesticides are suspected in causing or contributing to mass bee, bat and butterfly die-off, as well as a pandemic amphibian decline. This is ecologically critical — loss of pollinators will cause an Extinction Level Event that takes out most life on Planet Earth. That includes humans, as our food supply disappears. Remember, extinction is forever. No species has ever re-emerged after going extinct.

The Sun Is Fading on Biotechnology

Biotechnology may have had its day in the sun, but that light is fading. The New York Times reported Monsanto’s stock dropped from a peak of $145 a share in 2008 to under $48 a share on Monday. The Christian Science Monitor noted that “the rapid increase in the percentage of US farm acres planted with biotech crops has slowed. It rose only 1 percent last year, from 85 percent to 86 percent, the smallest increase since 2001.”

Check out this interactive map of the history of GMO releases in the US from 1987 thru 2008.

Cataloguing the problems of the biotech industry, CSM states:

Corn Belt farmers complain loudly about the soaring cost of seed. The federal government is investigating the industry for anticompetitive practices. Farmers are grappling increasingly with weeds that have grown resistant to Roundup, an herbicide widely used with genetically modified crops, and genetic contamination of conventional crops.

Even the United Nations rebuked biotechnology this year when it concluded that agroecology “improves food production and farmers’ incomes while at the same time protecting the soil, water and climate.” The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, reported:

The widest study ever conducted on the subject found that agroecological approaches resulted in an average crop yield gain of 79 per cent. The study covered 286 projects in 57 developing countries, representing a total surface of 37 million hectares.  (That’s over 91 million acres.)

Biotech found a friend in billionaire. Bill Gates, however, so this fading light still has juice. This is precisely why a home-grown solution like the Non-GMO Project can be so effective. By verifying which products are GM-free, NGP allows consumers to make informed choices, despite censorship by the FDA.

Use NPG’s PDF shopping guide or their iPhone app to find products verified as GM-free. The Rodale Institute, also involved with NGP, advises to buy organic and grass-fed. Check the PLU code:

GMO foods contain the number 8 before the four-digit code printed on the produce sticker. Organic foods contain the number 9.

.

Rady Ananda began blogging in 2004. Her work has appeared in several online and print publications, including three books on election fraud. Most of her career was spent working for lawyers in research, investigations and as a paralegal. She graduated from The Ohio State University’s School of Agriculture with a B.S. in Natural Resources. Read other articles by Rady.

14 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. j30 said on October 7th, 2010 at 9:03am #

    CORRECTED LINK: In the section starting with:

    The Sun Is Fading on Biotechnology

    Biotechnology may have had its day in the sun, but that light is fading. The New York Times reported …

    NYTimes link is http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/business/05monsanto.html

  2. hayate said on October 7th, 2010 at 10:53am #

    Interesting piece. Notice how everything bill gates is associated with is connected with monopoly grasping. The boy is criminal and toxic. He’s like that “red sludge” in Hungary. More info on the gmo crimes:

    GMO Crop Catastrophe in USA a lesson for World

    By F. William Engdahl, 18 August 2010

    Recently the unelected potentates of the EU Commission in Brussels have sought to override what has repeatedly been shown to be the overwhelming opposition of the European Union population to the spread of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in EU agriculture. EU Commission President and Iraq war backed Manuel Barosso now has a Maltese accountant as health and enviromnent Commissioner to rubber stamp GMO as OK. The former EU Environment Commissioner from Greece was a ferocious GMO opponent. As well, the Chinese government has indicated it may approve a variety of GMO rice. And the Obama Administration has put major pressure on Turkey to accept US GMO crops as well as on Russia and Ukraine. Before things get too far along, they would do well to take a closer look at the world GMO test lab, the USA. There GMO crops are anything but beneficial. Just the opposite.

    What is carefully kept out of the Monsanto and other agribusiness propaganda in promoting genetically manipulated crops as an alternative to conventional is the fact that in the entire world until the present, all GMO crops have been manipulated and patented for only two things―to be resistant or “tolerant” to the patented highly toxic herbicide glyphosate chemicals that Monsanto and the others force farmers to buy as condition for buying their patented GMO seeds. The second trait is GMO seeds that have been engineered genetically to resist specific insects. Contrary to public relations myths promoted by the agribusiness giants in their own self-interest, there exists not oné single GMO seed that provides a greater harvest yield than conventional, nor one that requires less toxic chemical herbicides. That is for the simple reason there is no profit to be made in such.

    (rest at the link)

    http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/GMO/GMO_Crop/gmo_crop.html

  3. hayate said on October 7th, 2010 at 10:54am #

    On monsanto, see also:

    Study Shows Monsanto Roundup Herbicide Link to Birth Defects

    By F. William Engdahl, September 30, 2010

    A major new scientific study has confirmed growing conviction that the world’s most widely used chemical herbicide, Monsanto Corporation’s Roundup is toxic and a danger to human as well as animal organisms. The latest scientific research carried out by a multinational scientific team headed by Professor Andrés Carrasco, head of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School and member of Argentina’s National Council of Scientific and Technical Research, presents alarming demonstration that Monsanto and the GMO agribusiness industry have systematically lied about the safety of their Roundup. Roundup in far lower concentrations than used in agriculture is linked to birth defects. The health implications are huge. All major GMO crops on the market today are genetically manipulated to “tolerate” the herbicide Roundup.

    Glyphosate was patented by Monsanto in the 1970’s well before GMO was commercialized, as a so-called broad-spectrum weed killer. It is typically sprayed and absorbed through the leaves, or used as a forestry herbicide. It was initially patented and sold by Monsanto under the trade name Roundup, which also contains non-disclosed added chemicals the company refuses to divulge for “trade secret” reasons. As of 2005, 87% of all US soybean fields were planted with glyphosate-resistant varieties of GMO soybeans and sprayed with Roundup.

    Because the seeds of Monsanto Roundup Ready GMO soybeans or other crops have been manipulated solely to be “resistant” to Roundup herbicide, while all other plant life in the field is killed by Roundup, farmers using Roundup Ready seeds must also purchase Roundup herbicide, making a captive market for both seed and chemicals.

    The problem with this cozy arrangement, aside from the fact that Roundup-resistant “super-weeds” are emerging as a new biological catastrophe, is that Glyphosate has now been demonstrated to be linked to birth defects as one of the most highly toxic substances in agriculture. The US Government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nonetheless continues to regard Roundup as “relatively low in toxicity, and without carcinogenic or teratogenic effects.” In the United States the US Government notoriously relies on test data from Monsanto and the agribusiness industry to make safety rulings, under the 1992 doctrine of Substantial Equivalence which asserts that GMO seeds are “substantially equivalent” to ordinary seeds and thereby need no independent health or safety tests. While herbicides are treated slightly different, the fact that the agribusiness industry influences much of US Government policy has insured the most benign regulatory treatment of Roundup to date.

    (rest at the link)

    http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/GMO/Roundup_Study/roundup_study.html

  4. kalidas said on October 7th, 2010 at 12:06pm #

    10-10-10 I’ll be passing out (a limited number) free copies of one of the greatest most benevolent books ever penned by an American. In 1962.

    “Stalking the Wild Asparagus”
    by
    Euell (“tastes like wild hickory nuts”) Gibbons.

    Long before there was “Earth Day” an EPA or even hippies, Euell was helping us all discover that wild and wonderful restaurant know as the great outdoors.

    See ya’ll out there!

  5. Don Hawkins said on October 7th, 2010 at 1:04pm #

    The problem at the moment is the “heavy metal residue”, as it is a danger for plant life and can get into rivers, he says.

    He says that while it is unlikely that residents will be using the river directly for drinking water, it may pose a problem for water companies.

    There are “real concerns” about the impact on the Danube, he says, as “it will increase the heavy metal content of the water and it might have adverse effects on fish”.

    Timea Petroczi, a spokesperson from disaster relief services in Hungary, told AFP that people had been told not to use the wells, as a “precautionary measure”.

    Those in affected areas have also been banned from eating home-grown foods, and from hunting or fishing. BBC

  6. Starr said on October 7th, 2010 at 3:58pm #

    Today is So Delicious Day on the Non-GMO Project ‘s facebook page. For every click, So Delicious will donate $1 to the project. Just one more reason to love So Delicious!
    http://apps.facebook.com/nongmopledge/

  7. j30 said on October 7th, 2010 at 4:56pm #

    hey, thanks for the link, Starr — good luck on the campaign.

    @kalidas ~ I’ve heard that Euell Gibbons’ foraging books are the best of the genre.

    @hayate ~ yeah, good pieces. we’ve been covering them over at Food Freedom

  8. j30 said on October 7th, 2010 at 4:58pm #

    methinks bill gates has gone off the deep end

  9. hayate said on October 7th, 2010 at 6:39pm #

    Starr

    Thanks for the links. :)

    Cheers, j30. I think gates is, how to put, small potatoes given a throne to sit in ( or a dud with a small willie who believes what the hookers tell him). ;D

    That’s one of the main drawbacks of capitalism. It raises the least fit to make decisions to positions of power.

  10. kalidas said on October 8th, 2010 at 6:17am #

    j30, yes indeed they are absolutely wonderful, vital.
    As was Euell the person.

  11. kalidas said on October 8th, 2010 at 6:24am #

    Amusing anecdote. When I moved from Pa. to Texas in the 70′s, I took a huge bag of hickory nuts with me.
    I always feed the local animals all the scraps, left overs, treats, etc. and there was one squirrel in particular who was partly tame as they easily become. He (Tommy) would wait on the fence top right outside my door each morning and evening.
    Once I started with the savory delightful hickory nuts, he went “nuts” over them. To the point of actually breaking and entering to get at them.
    After quite a comical scene he exited, stage left, with a mouthful.

  12. j30 said on October 8th, 2010 at 9:24pm #

    lol @ kalidas

    I live next to a 5 acre woodlot so I get to hear nature in action … bordering the woodlot is an animal farm (from chickens to ponies to horses, etc)

    it’s a treat to hear and sometimes see the critters, but honestly, they’re deadly serious about food and mating. freaks me out sometimes…

    much preferable to human neighbors, tho

    ;-)

    ~ Rady

  13. j30 said on October 8th, 2010 at 9:31pm #

    speaking of natural food and foraging, I wrote this review (of sorts) back in July:

    Wild Things: Books for Wild Food Foragers:

    Food blogger Hank Shaw’s top three foraging books, all written by Euell Gibbons, are:

    * Stalking the Wild Asparagus
    * Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop
    * Stalking the Healthful Herbs

    Shaw admits that, “The one drawback of Gibbons’s books are the images, which are nice line drawings but are not overly helpful for the beginner.”

    For great images, he recommends Nature’s Garden, by Samuel Thayer, which covers “east of the Great Plains.”
    [snip]

    then I cite region specific foraging books

    ~ Rady

  14. kalidas said on October 9th, 2010 at 6:37am #

    Rady, thank you for your personal touch.

    Yes, Euell should be and is, an unadvertised legend.
    He really did have answers, and tasty ones at that.

    And yes, it’s a jungle out there.
    I spent many nights on the river and in the woods as a child and I don’t think a single night ever passed without my experiencing real fear of the known, (and unknown), in those woods on those dark dark nights.