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GMOs



Join the #Yeson522 Campaign to See GMOs Labeled!

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.

yes on 522

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.


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Chipotle is Going GMO-Free Because “People Have the Right to Know What’s in Their Food”

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 GMO

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.
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Is a GMO-Free Oregon a Real Possibility?

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.

oregon farm

“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.


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Kansas Farmer Sues Monsanto for GMO Wheat Crop Contamination

“We’ve fought them before and we’re not afraid of them.”

 Those are the words of Warren T. Burns, one of the attorneys representing a Kansas wheat farmer who is taking on the biotech giant Monsanto. According to the Associated Press, farmer Ernest Barnes filed suit against the company on Monday after genetically modified wheat was found growing in a field in Oregon. Barnes is claiming the company’s gross negligence has hurt U.S. growers. Genetically modified wheat is not approved for U.S. farming and this discovery may show that the GMO crops that were tested in certain states have infiltrated the food system by actually growing in the field where approved wheat is farmed.

gmo wheat

Since the announcement, Japan has suspended some import orders. This is just an indicator of what may happen if GMO wheat contaminates the American wheat crops. Other countries have strict laws about GMOs; more than 60 countries have banned GMOs and most do not want any products sent to their country if they contain GMOs. The wheat industry was still on the up and up, as no GMO wheat has been approved for U.S. farming. Now that it seems there’s been a contamination, who knows what will happen.
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Avoid GMOs with These Summer Snacks

The non-GMO movement is gaining steam as more companies are pushing for better labeling of products that contain GMO labeling. Some are even declaring themselves completely free of GMOs. Ben and Jerry’s became the second major food company, after Whole Foods, to commit to only non-GMO products. They plan to work on the transition through the rest of the year and complete it in 2014.

Ben and Jerry'sSeveral Ben and Jerry’s flavors are already GMO free, including Chocolate, Vanilla, Cherry Garcia, and Mint Chocolate Chunk. That flavor list will slowly expand over the course of the year as ingredients are switched to non-GMO and Fairtrade Certified. Now that you can buy ice cream without having to worry about GMOs, why not try some other non-GMO snacks this summer? We’ve put together a list of some brands that are committed to great, natural food.
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