Category Archives: GMO

Pirate’s Booty – GMO’s?

As you might have noticed from my posts, as a Mom I’m concerned about our family eating genetically modified foods.   I was reading a pocket shopper’s guide from the Center for Food Safety about GMO’s.  (Great guide, btw).  It talks about the “Big Four” GMO foods in the US – corn, soy, canola, and cotton.  Which led me to thinking about one of MonkeyWrench’s favorite snacks – Veggie Booty!  How many of us Moms rely on veggie booty to get us through a car trip, visit to the park, grumpy moments, etc.?  They’ve got vegetables, the kids like ‘em, what’s not for Mom’s to like?   Well, Veggie Booty’s first ingredient is cornmeal, one of the “Big Four” for GMO’s (and the third ingredient is soy flour, another Big  Four).  And nowhere on the label does it say GMO-free.

Concerned, I wrote an e-mail to the Pirate’s Booty company, asking if they used GMO ingredients.  They responded promptly, with a nice e-mail that I am still puzzling through.  Here is the relevant quote “Our supplier cannot guarantee their corn is GMO-free, which is why we do not put it on the bag. We have very specific quality specifications that they must meet for us to continue to purchase from them and they can no longer guarantee that their corn is GMO free because of the existence of cross pollination and storage silo conditions.”

Hmm…I’m not sure if this means that it is mostly GMO-free, but they can’t guarantee it, or if they just don’t know. Since “don’t know” often means “probably GMO”, there is a difference in my mind.   I am glad that the company is concerning itself with these issues, and as a Mom, maybe I need to start thinking about unknowning contamination of organic food with GMO’s, too.

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Safe Seed Pledge – Are you buying genetically engineered seeds?

Do you have a garden?  Do you use genetically modified/engineered seeds?  Do you know for sure?  I found out that I didn’t.   A 2008 CBS/NY Times poll showed that most citizens of the US would prefer to have GM foods labeled, and at least half would prefer not to eat them at all.   I’m in that camp, and until recently, I had assumed that the seeds I bought were not genetically modified. Then I found out that one of my favorite seed companies, Territorial Seeds, gets at least some of its seeds from Monsanto (Seminis).   This includes some of my favorite seeds like Early Girl tomatoes, and Bush Delicata squash!!  So how do I know for sure I’m not buying genetically engineered seeds?

The “Safe Seed Pledge” helped me with this.  It took me a bit to track down the original website, since it had moved, but the Council for Responsible Genetics is keeping track of seed companies that pledge not to buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.   (BTW, Territorial Seeds has signed the pledge for 2009, phew!).  Uh-oh, another favorite seed company of mine, Pinetree Garden Seeds, hasn’t.   I notice Burpee hasn’t, either.

Has your favorite seed company signed the Safe Seed Pledge for 2009?

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Food allergies and soy

GMO causing food allergies?  Today we visited the GI clinic and Children’s Hospital for issues with Picklbee’s digestive system.  She’s the reason I haven’t been able to eat dairy and soy lately.   She’s just fine (although I should stay off dairy and soy), but the doctor had some interesting comments to make about some theories for why we seem to have so many food allergies these days.

To paraphrase, for dairy and soy, there are a couple of things going on.  First, for dairy, humans are partially adapted to eating the milk of other animals, but it isn’t perfect.  For some people, some of the proteins in milk may cause a mild (or strong) allergy, with the body trying to defend itself from a strange protein.  Humans are still evolving,  but not always in a straight line.  “Good” and “bad” adaptations can both happen.  (This is different from lactose-intolerance)

For soy…More recently, with a huge change in our diet brought about by the likes of a high corn diet (think high-fructose corn syrup, corn-fed cows, etc) and lots of GMO food (see previous posts about the prevalance of GMO soy in USA-produced soy), our bodies don’t always know what to do, and may sometimes react to strange proteins with allergies.  For more on how corn rules our American diets,  see Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemna.

Now these are all just theories, but it certainly struck me that when the GI specialist starts discussing the possibility of GMO causing allergies in my children, I better sit up and take notice!  He also suggested that in general it’s a good idea to only buy foods from the store that have <3-4 ingredients, which I also found interesting.

For some discussion on both sides of the GMO and allergy issue, see

pro: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_5296.cfm

con: http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/safety/human_health/192.gmos_mean_more_allergies.html

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soy everywhere!

Continuing from a recent post, I am continuing to be completely surprised by the prevalence of soy in so many foods!  I’m on vacation with family, and what’s a MommyFrog who’s not supposed to eat soy or dairy supposed to do when the entire family is (unknowingly) chowing down on soy.  Just today I found soy in (good-quality) hotdogs, hot dog buns, ketchup, and mustard, and shortening.  I already knew there was soy in most chocolate and mayonnaise, as well as many breakfast cereals, and breads.   And, <drum roll>  Cheetos!   My brother has now proclaimed Cheetos a health food, since we all know soy is healthy, right?  But don’t forget that according to GMO-compass, 91 % of the current soy planted in the US is genetically modified.   

So check your labels, and realize that unless you’re eating organic food, the chances are that anything that has soy on the label probably has genetically modified soy in it.   Did you know you were eating so many genetically-modified foods?  What’s the harm with genetically modified foods?  Stay tuned for more on this from MommyFrog…

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