Who’s afraid of the big, bad…banana? Apparently plenty of people. They’re concerned that “franken-bananas,” or those that have undergone gene manipulation may do more harm than good.
Shape.com reported that scientists have unlocked a way to modify bananas so that they contain much more Vitamin A. Bananas with this modification could help many malnourished people, and may even prevent some from going blind due to vitamin A deficiency.
Governor Peter Shumlin made history when he signed a bill into law making Vermont the first state to require the labeling of genetically modified foods. The new law will take effect July 1, 2016, so in just two years, residents of the state of Vermont can expect to GMO labels on foods.
While many were cheering the signing of the bill, Shumlin announced an online fundraiser set up to help battle the expected legal challenges to the new law. Opponents to the law have already threatened lawsuit, and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association has state government has no compelling interest in warning consumers about GMO foods.
“Shift Happens.” That’s the message Leah Segedie wants to get across with the ShiftCon Eco Wellness Social Media Conference. Thanks to her and some of the other ShiftCon bloggers, shift is already happening.
The past year has already seen brands announce they are reformulating their products to go GMO free. They include:
Cheerios and Chipotle have made their shifts to GMO-free products fairly well-known, but other brands are doing it a little more quietly. Segedie added ShiftCon bloggers are looking at big brands including Kellogg’s, General Mills, PepsiCo, as well as specific products within certain company’s line.
It’s another blow for Chobani as the year draws to an end. The popular Greek yogurt company will no longer be sold at Whole Foods stores starting in early 2014.
This move by Whole Foods is unrelated to the Chobani recall that happened earlier this year. In September, more than 100 people became ill after eating yogurt that had been contaminated due to Mucor circinelloides, a mold commonly found in dairy. Though frequently used to produce natural flavor compounds, the mold had been causing products to swell and bloat.
Chobani powered through the recall without much fallout and looked to a smooth end to a year that saw Greek yogurt making up 50 percent of all yogurt sales. That changed last Wednesday when Whole Foods announced they would no longer sell Chobani yogurt.
Whole Foods has said this decision is due to its desire to sell more non-GMO and organic yogurts. Chobani produces Greek yogurt made with milk from cows which are often fed GMO feed.
They’re at it again, and this time just a little more sneakily than before. Not only are some of the biggest brands in organic and earth-friendly food still supporting anti-labeling campaigns, but now they’re trying to do it in secret.
A new infographic produced by Cornucopia.org shows which brands still oppose the labeling of GMOs. What’s more, after facing major backlash from their opposition to Prop 37, many of those corporations hid behind membership in the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) to secretly continue funding anti-labeling measures. (more…)
There is something truly rotten about Monsanto.
The bio tech agricultural giant has been named #12 in the “prestigious” World’s Best Multinational Workplaces by Great Place to Work. A dubious award, considering this innocent Google search:
Evil, bad, unethical, and harmful. Sounds like a really great place to work, huh? More on that in a minute, but let’s discuss the merit of this particular award first.
Great Places to Work is a San Francisco-based research and consulting firm that decided three years ago to begin naming the best places in the world to work. The criteria is based on workplace culture, and companies can only be eligible for the list if they have at least 5,500 employees—40 percent of which must work outside the company’s home country.
These accolades, bestowed upon 25 companies, aren’t based on ethics, fair business practices, or community service—they are survey-based and reflect the feelings of millions of employees from thousands of different companies. All of Monsanto’s happy employees might frown if they knew about the evil practices of their employer. The fact that McDonald’s—the fast food chain that basically admitted their full-time employees couldn’t survive on their wages—made this list even more suspect.
In short, Monsanto has not won a humanitarian or global stewardship award, and probably never will. (more…)
It’s baaaack. Pink slime, an ammonia and beef byproduct that spurred one of the most talked about controversies in 2012, is being reintroduced to school lunches now that the media spotlight has dimmed. School districts in Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are patiently waiting for their pink slime burgers to ship from the USDA, all to save mere pennies on the dollar.
Shocking as that may sound, schools in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota never stopped serving the pseudo beef. Beef Product Incorporated is the company that makes and sells pink slime, formally known as “ammonia-treated lean finely textured beef,” or LFTB. In layman’s, LFTB is unwanted bits of cow mixed with ammonia and sent through a centrifuge—just like mom used to make. This process was invented by Beef Product Inc to help get the most possible product out of cows. Then, they sell it for cheap, hence the reason school districts bought it in the first place—to save money.
Last November we stood in solidarity with the state of California as they attempted to be the first U.S. state to mandate the labeling of Genetically Modified foods (GM or GMOs). Despite strong efforts, the opposition managed to win that battle round. We’re in this to win the war, and round two is right around the corner. Washington State has an initiative on their November ballots regarding labeling. Today and this entire week we are all out to make some noise and get the #Yeson522 campaign the attention it deserves.
A refresher for those who may have forgotten: the goal is to get GMOs labeled. To allow citizens of the United States the freedom to know what’s in the food they’re consuming. Companies are still free to use GMOs until their hearts are content, we just want the foods to state their ingredients honestly. After all, over 64 other countries either ban or label GMOs, why are we behind the times? You can infer all you want with that question. Bottom line: we want our foods labeled. If Washington wins this round, we have a great start to win the war.
Food costs at a restaurant are the most critical to the business’ bottom line. That’s why many restaurants cut corners and you’ll often find their kitchens piled high with nameless, low-quality ingredients to ensure they can mass produce meals at a value while still turning a profit. That’s not how it works at Chipotle though, where they say it’s “worth it to spend a little bit more.”
We spoke with Chris Arnold, PR director for Chipotle Mexican Grill, who told us Chipotle has some of the highest food costs in the restaurant industry. Even still, they are able to “invest more in quality food and still be very profitable.”
Chipotle just became the first American restaurant to work toward clearing its menu of all GMO foods, something that will equally drive food costs while improving quality. The company knows there will be cost implications, exactly how much at this time they can’t say, but it’s not uncharted territory for them. “Making decisions that result in higher food costs is nothing new to us,” said Arnold.
The brand was a supporter of Prop 37 last year, the California bill that aimed to require labeling of GMO ingredients on all foods sold in the U.S. It was then that the brand started to hold itself to the same standard it was asking of others. Arnold explained that their first move was purely disclosure, to let their customers know which foods had GMOs.
“We think people have the right to know what’s in their food,” said Arnold. (more…)
The people of Oregon have been adamantly anti-GMO for some time, but their resolve has recently gained more national attention. A GMO beet crop became the victim of “agro-terrorism” when the fields, owned by Syngenta, were set on fire. There have also been two major lawsuits to come out of Oregon against Monsanto. When farmers discovered genetically engineered wheat crops in their fields, they were understandably confused and concerned.
“He [the farmer] discovered it when he was spraying and figured out that this particular wheat plant didn’t die. This has alerted local farmers and consumers to the reality that you can’t really control where these seeds end up, and people are very concerned about the integrity of the food we produce, consume and export,” said GMO-labeling advocate and blogger Karen Mares. The concern about the GMO crops caused several countries, including Japan, to ban the crop potentially creating economic trouble for Oregon.