#AceFoodNews – Feb.16: As a purist and advocate of fresh and well prepared food of the best – not the most expensive quality. So GMO, Organic, Local, Conventional, Natural? What does it all ACTUALLY mean? 

Make sure you’re eating the healthiest, best food you possibly can with this handy guide to understanding food labelling and taking full control of your food. Deciding what to eat on a daily basis is a choice that not only affects personal health, but that has incredible environmental and political ramifications as well.
The decisions we make in the supermarket, the farmer’s market, or anywhere else we purchase food is essentially a vote cast for the methods involved in producing that food—as well as the possible environmental and political consequences associated with them.

1. Know what the terms “Organic,” “Conventional,” “GMO” and “Natural” mean.

• Organic—Produced using regulated and certified farming methods in which no synthetic chemicals are used. 100% Organic foods have not been irradiated or genetically modified at all. Organic food production encourages crop rotation, biological diversity and healthy soil.

• Conventional—Often produced using synthetic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides, in order to increase growth rates and maximize profits. Often relies on a monocrop, in which a single crop is grown on the same land every year. These practices can lead to unhealthy, damaged soil, lacking in essential nutrients.

• GMO—GMOs are genetically modified organisms. In these products, genes may be taken from one species and inserted into another that would not normally crossbreed in nature—for example, the genes of a tomato spliced with those of rice. Non-GMO products have not been genetically modified in this manner. GMO foods are not organic, according to USDA standards, but non-GMO foods can be either organic or conventional. 100% organic foods are prohibited from being produced using GMOs and must not even come into contact with them. These can be important distinctions when it comes to navigating advertising and marketing strategies.

• Natural—Natural is not the same as organic. In the United States, organic food is regulated and certified according to strict standards; however, there is no legal definition of “natural”, and the term is essentially unregulated, except when it comes to meat and egg products. Manufacturers can basically use the term any way they please for other items. Although the FDA does not “object” to the use of the term natural on packaging if the product is free of artificial flavors, colors, or synthetic substances, foods claiming to be natural may still be produced using pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and hormones. They often contain large amounts of GMOs as well, as a recent report has shown.

2. Learn to see through flashy advertising and marketing

There’s a lot of confusion regarding these ubiquitous words, in large part because they can have similar defining traits and can occupy similar places in supermarkets. Their differences are important though, because retailers will often attempt to capitalize on consumer ignorance.

For example—let’s say you go into a supermarket and attempt to purchase organic apple cider, but this particular retailer is sold out of organic cider on that day. They may attempt to direct you to a display of cider made with “naturally grown” non-GMO apples instead, which is more expensive than their conventional, standard cider. Perhaps the retailer hopes that in your mind, non-GMO, natural, and organic all mean the same thing. Perhaps they don’t even know the difference themselves.

This natural, non-GMO cider has been packaged in beautiful earth tones, perhaps with a picture of a pristine orchard or a field right in the center. It looks like what you imagine “natural” to be: straight from the earth, idyllic, and pure. It’s won awards. The cider display is in a section of the store with a lot of wood floors and green signs. It feels good to be there.

This non-GMO apple cider could technically be organic or use organic ingredients, but unless it states that clearly, chances are that it’s conventional. It won’t contain any genetically modified ingredients, but since the USDA doesn’t even regulate the word natural on packaging aside from meat and poultry, you may still be ingesting pesticides and herbicides that were used in growing those conventional apples. The flashiness of the packaging, and the “non-GMO” label, may seduce you into thinking that this “natural” cider is somehow the same as organic cider, but this is not necessarily the case.

3. Learn to decode the PLU numbers on your produce

“PLU” stands for Price Look-Up. They are the four or five digit numbers you find on those little stickers placed on your avocados or apples. Generally, you can deduce the following from the numbers you see:

• Four numbers (4356, for example) means that the item is conventionally grown, and is not organic.

• Five numbers, with a 9 in front (i.e. 94356) means that the item is organic.

• Five numbers, with an 8 in front (i.e. 84356) means that the item has been genetically modified; however, the law does not require manufacturers to identify GMO foods.

4. Know the pros and cons of buying local

Not only does buying local support your immediate community and economy, but it can be beneficial for both you and the environment. By buying local, you’re getting food that hasn’t traveled hundreds or even thousands of miles to get to you. When your food has been shipped over these sorts of distances, quality and nutritional value will often suffer.

In addition, local foods require less fossil fuels to transport the product to the consumer, which positively impacts the environment at large.

Buying local, of course, does not guarantee that you’re getting organic, non-GMO products; and your choice of products will be limited to what can be grown in your area. Just because a product is local does not guarantee higher quality, and just because it’s shipped to you from a shorter distance does not mean that negative environmental effects are nonexistent. However, if you’re able to talk directly to your local farmer at the farmer’s market, at least you’ll be able to be informed about your food and how it was grown direct from the source.


Permacoking: Say’s ‘ 126 Super Healthy Snacks ‘

If you’re searching for healthy snacks it’s best to walk briskly past the snack aisle in stores. Many of them will be full of GMOs, preservatives, chemicals, and artificial flavors and sweeteners.

This list of snack idea includes foods you can make at home, several in a matter of minutes so you can curb hunger before it gets the better of you.

You’re sure to find a few favorites here, and a healthy twist on some old classics.


Source: 126 Super Healthy Snacks (Low Carb, Low Calorie & High in Protein) | Permacooking.


#SAYNO2GMO : ” Farming & Bio-Technology Groups are Banding Together to Push Federal Labelling”

#AceFoodNews says `Food, Biotech Groups’ banding together to influence GMO labelling efforts’ 

Published time: February 06, 2014 23:16


Reuters / Albert Gea

Reuters / Albert Gea

Powerful farming and biotechnology interest groups announced Thursday they are banding together to push a federal voluntary labelling standard for genetically engineered food in an effort to stem the tide of state legislation seeking to mandate labelling.

The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food consists of 29 formidable trade groups that say they plan to lobby on Capitol Hill for a national standard that would allow manufacturers to voluntarily label food and beverage products made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In recent years, voters in states such as California and Washington have narrowly defeated ballot initiatives proposing mandatory GMO labeling, though not without dragging members of the new Coalition into expensive campaigns to defeat the measures.

English: Logo of the U.S. Food and Drug Admini...

English: Logo of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2006) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The group says it will seek to empower the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients.” In addition, the Coalition proposes the FDA mandate labels for GMO food or ingredients that the agency deems a “health, safety or nutrition issue,” though no consumables currently fall in such a category.

The Coalition is also advocating the FDA define “natural” foods to include those consisting of GMOs.

Supporters of labeling said the Coalition has seen the growing demand for GMO labeling across the country and is now admittedly trying to pre-empt state attempts to inform consumers of scientifically dubious genetically engineered food.

“These companies spent nearly $70 million in California and Washington State to defeat GE labelling initiatives. They know that the food movement’s power is growing and that labeling is not a matter of if but when,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety“These companies have failed to win over consumers who overwhelmingly support the mandatory labeling of GMOs and now they’re trying to steal away consumer choice in Congress.”

States like Connecticut and Maine have recently passed legislation on labelling. Alaska’s legislature has passed a measure requiring the labeling of GMO fish and fish products. In Connecticut, critics say its new labeling law was gutted by lobbying pressure which requires four other northeastern states to pass their own GMO-labeling laws before the state’s takes effect. Those four states must collectively represent a population of 20 million people or more.

The Centre for Food Safety says over 30 states are expected to introduce GMO labeling laws during the 2014 legislative session. In Oregon, a labelling ballot initiative is already being planned.

On the federal level, legislation requiring mandatory labeling of all GMO foods has been introduced in the Senate and House, though it is not supported by the Coalition.

English: Author: Food and Drug Administration ...

English: Author: Food and Drug Administration website U.S. Government documents are, by law, not subject to copyright (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A top member of the Coalition – the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a major food industry lobbying group – raised and spent the bulk of the overall $22 million that opponents of labeling sank into defeating Washington State’sballot initiative on GMO labeling last year. That total number was three times the amount that proponents of labeling spent in the state. GMA was joined in its effort by allies such as biotech giants Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont.

“The legislation we’re proposing would prevent state legislation that conflicts with the federal standards,” GMA president Pamela Bailey said of the Coalition’s aim with the new proposals, The Hill reported.

Food industry trade groups, alarmed by the growing animosity against GMOs, began circulating plans for the voluntary labeling push in November – just days after Washington’s measure was defeated.

Federal standards like the ones the Coalition has now called for are necessary to “guard against a costly, unnecessary and inefficient state-by-state system,” a November memo among the GMA-led industry groups said. The Coalition wants an FDA-controlled system to maintain cheaper operations and avoid “the creation of a complicated patchwork of state-based labeling rules that would increase, rather than reduce, consumer confusion,” said Kraig R. Naasz, president of the American Frozen Food Institute, according to The Hill.

Critics of the Coalition’s approach point out that a “voluntary” law means nothing, as labeling GMOs is already legal and only done by choice.

“Voluntary labeling of GE foods is already permitted under the law, but no company has ever chosen to do so because GE foods offer consumers no benefits and only potential risk,” said the Center for Food Safety’s Kimbrell.“Instead of working together to meet consumer demand, GMA is using its deep pockets to ensure that congress and consumers are misled about their food supply.”

Supporters of GMOs say adverse effects of food that come from the manipulation of an organism’s genetic material are unproven at this point.

“If there was any indication GM ingredients were not safe, we would not be using them,” said Martin Barbre, president of the National Corn Growers Association.

T-shirt against GMO food. The logo is not copy...

T-shirt against GMO food. The logo is not copyrighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The US Department of Agriculture says over 80 percent of corn and over 90 percent of soy in the US are GMOs.

Yet science is also inconclusive on whether genetically engineered products can cause long-term harm to human health. At least, that is the consensus held by the several dozen countries which have banned or severely restricted their use worldwide.

“While risk assessments are conducted as part of GE product approval, the data are generally supplied by the company seeking approval, and GE companies use their patent rights to exercise tight control over research on their products,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said of GMOs. “In short, there is a lot we don’t know about the risks of GE – which is no reason for panic, but a good reason for caution.”

The organization – a broad coalition of scientists and citizens dedicated to“rigorous, independent science” without “political calculations or corporate hype” – says there are concerns about GMOs beyond the basic health problems that have been linked to their consumption.

“Rather than supporting a more sustainable agriculture and food system with broad societal benefits, the technology has been employed in ways that reinforce problematic industrial approaches to agriculture,” the Union stated.“Policy decisions about the use of GE have too often been driven by biotech industry PR campaigns, rather than by what science tells us about the most cost-effective ways to produce abundant food and preserve the health of our farmland.”


Enhanced by Zemanta