The Fight to Know What is in Our Food



dylieThis is a pivotal moment in the fight to know what is in our food. The integrity of organic food and labeling issues are very much in flux right now.

As it stands about 90% of all corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets grown in the U.S. contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or are considered genetically engineered (GE). About 50% of zucchini, yellow squash and Hawaiian papaya are GE.

What does that mean? According to the Institute of Responsible Technology, “A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms.”

Why does this matter to you? 85- 90% of all processed foods contain one or more GMO ingredient. GMOs were introduced to the market in the mid 90’s without any long-term testing. That’s right. You’ve been the guinea pig for about twenty years.

Perhaps over the last twenty years you’ve noticed a rise in some disease states such as cancer (specifically kidney, breast, colon and anal), diabetes, allergies, gastro-intestinal disorders, infertility, autism, auto-immune disease, ADHD etc. I’m not saying the two are linked, but I would say that there needs to be long-term studies on the effects of GMOs.

The reason there are no long-term studies is because the GMO seeds are patented and the farmers sign an iron-clad contract saying that they will not turn over their seeds for study. The selling point of these GMO seeds to farmers is that they can withstand a lot of herbicide and pesticides without dying. As a matter of fact, Bt corn, cotton and soon to be soybean have the pesticide built in to them. When a bug eats the corn, cotton, or soybean their stomachs explode. Bt corn is registered with the EPA as a pesticide. YUMMMM enjoy that corn on the cob this summer.

How do you know if you are eating GMOs? You are. Every day. And you have been for twenty years. If you eat anything out of a box or a bag, or eat at a restaurant, you are eating GMOs or animals that have eaten GMOs. Remember the aforementioned GMO crops and ALL DERIVITIVES from those crops such as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, corn oil, canola oil, anything that contains sugar (that would be everything) is an ingredient in processed food. So all your cereal, oatmeal, protein bars, tofu, edamame (you thought these were healthy, right?), mayonnaise, ketchup, chips, crackers, cookies, juices, sports drinks, “diet” foods, which quite frankly are the worst offenders, pickles, salad dressings, meats, pretty much everything contain GMOs.

How can you avoid GMOs? The only way to avoid GMOs is to look for these labels that say USDA organic or Non-GMO Project Verified food.


USDA organicnon GMO proj seal


Organic food cannot KNOWINGLY contain GMOs. However, there is a lot of cross pollination between farms and all organic food now has some limited amounts of GMOs. The Non-GMO Project Verified food also contains minimal amounts of GMOs, but this is the best you can do. GMOs are not labeled as such.

But now, organic food is under attack. The meaning of “USDA organic” is being chipped away. This is a huge deal because this is one of the only ways to avoid GMOs.

This is from the Organic Consumers Association, “Without any input from the public, the USDAchanged the way the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) decides which non-organic materials are allowed in certified organic. The change all but guarantees that when the NOSB meets every six months, the list of non-organic and synthetic materials allowed in organic will get longer and longer.”

You should really read the article in its entirety,  I will summarize for those of you pressed for time.

The NOSB is increasingly stacked with insiders from the big ag, biotech, chemical and junk food companies who have a vested interest in making your organic food less safe and healthy.

Just as an example, before this new ruling each new non-organic material that was introduced had to be automatically reviewed every five years and be re-approved by two-thirds majority, or it would be taken off the approved list. Since the new ruling in September, it is just the opposite. Now approved non-organic materials will stay in your organic food unless two-thirds majority votes to take it out.

The worst new offenders that you need to look for on your organic labels are Carrageenan, synthetic nutrients such as DHA and ARA and sausage casings made from processed intestines. I’m not sure how they’ll “pretty up” that description.

There are other things that you won’t find on the label but the NOSB has approved: GMO vaccines for livestock, antibiotics for poultry that are administered on the first day of a hatched chicken’s life because this loophole says that the standard doesn’t begin until the second day of life (are you kidding me?), and something called mutagenesis. Does that sound like GMOs? It should because it basically is. So if you see DHA (like on Horizon’s “organic milk”) and ARA in your baby’s formula, throw it out. It is synthetic and those ingredients are linked to side effects.

I am proud to announce that through the Cornucopia Institute, I am going to be a citizen lobbyist at the NOSB meeting in San Antonio, Texas April 29-May 2. Because the “good guys” like Cornucopia Institute and The Organic Consumers Association only get to speak for about four minutes each, they have enlisted citizens to come out and speak up on behalf of organics. There will be lots of us with 4 minute slots to make a plea for keeping organics clean.

What you can do? Sign this petition telling the USDA Secretary to save organic standards:

There are more food worries on the horizon. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is sick of fighting each state that introduces GMO Labeling laws. They are spending tens of millions of dollars in each state to fight these campaigns. They fight ugly and to win. Think about what is in a grocery store; 90% processed food which all contains GMOs. The Grocery Manufacturers Association has a huge reason to fear GMO labeling.

So the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has tapped Representative Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to introduce a bill that will kill GMO labeling. The bill calls for federal voluntary labeling laws, which is supported by the FDA, no surprise. Am I crazy or is it already voluntary to label your product as GMO? Have you ever seen the label, “Contains GMOs!”? To add insult to injury they want to be able to label food that contains GMOs as “all natural.”

What can you do? Sign this petition to stop the bill that would preempt GMO state labeling laws:

And post on his Facebook page and let him know what you think. It’s amazing that there are only positive comments on his page. I posted a negative comment and it stayed up for two minutes.

You should subscribe to these newsletters:

The easiest and most satisfying thing to do is join the MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO on May 24th. This is a world-wide protest. You can Google this event in your city. Monsanto is one of the leaders in GMO seed production and the maker of Round-up herbicide and pesticide which is coincidentally what these patented seeds can withstand being sprayed with. Moreover, the Monsanto Corporation is trying to roll out new crops of corn and soy that can essentially be sprayed with “Agent Orange.” Remember how safe that was during the Vietnam conflict? Check out the chart below to get a feel of how all this came to pass. Please get involved.


One last issue; I’ve said many times that we need campaign finance reform. Well my wish came true but in the completely opposite direction in which I intended.  Recently the Supreme Court all but did away with limits that an individual could contribute to federal candidates in a two-year election cycle. The limits on corporations and unions were already gone. We’ve seen how that has worked out.

More money means more corruption. Large corporations such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont (all makers of GMO seeds) can find candidates who support bio-tech in the name of large campaign contributions; now individuals can jump on board too. Unless you have millions to contribute, your voice is becoming quieter and quieter.

Money equals power, but so does knowledge. Get involved wherever you can. Sign petitions, stay informed, talk about these issues with friends, support political candidates who have your same values and most importantly, vote in the grocery store with your dollars. Buy organic when you can; especially anything containing corn, soy, canola and sugar. By banning together and doing these things our voices will be heard.




Author: Lauren

Plant-based educator and speaker

2 thoughts on “The Fight to Know What is in Our Food”

  1. I appreciate the research you must have put into this article. It’s really informative, and I completely agree with your perspective- thanks for sharing the links to the petitions.

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