Gmofreefood’s Weblog

Activists Criticize Gates Foundation Links to Monsanto
August 30, 2010, 6:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

News-media reports last week on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s $27.6-million investment in the agribusiness giant Monsanto have emboldened food activists critical of the philanthropy’s technology-driven farm programs in Africa, writes The Seattle Times.

The Community Alliance for Global Justice, in Seattle, has kept close tabs on the Gates Foundation’s Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. With the news that the foundation bought 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock earlier this year, Heather Day, the alliance’s director, said her group is teaming up with bigger advocacy outfits to organize “on a national scale” against the Gates involvement with the firm.

The alliance has raised questions about whether the Seattle foundation’s Africa work will be used to create new markets for Monsanto and promote industrial agriculture and genetic engineering of crops.

A Gates foundation spokeswoman said the organization does not discuss specific investments but that it has met with representatives of the alliance and other groups to collect “a broad range of views about agriculture in the developing world.”


Boycott Kellogg’s Monsanto-Made Frankenfoods!
August 19, 2010, 8:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

If you recently joined Organic Consumers Association’s Kellogg’s boycott, you probably received this letter from Christina, their “Consumer Specialist”:

Thank you for your comments regarding the use of biotechnology ingredients. Like you, we want only the best ingredients to go into our products.

Biotech ingredients are safe and have become common in the open market. Sixty to seventy percent of packaged foods in the U.S. include biotechnology crops. Even organic ingredients can contain biotech ingredients due to cross-pollination.

We use biotech ingredients based on the backing of groups including the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association that confirm there are no safety concerns.

You have placed trust in us to provide healthy, nutritious, and safe food. We will continue to evaluate our ingredients, suppliers and product formulas to give you the best products possible. Please be assured your concerns will be shared with our nutritionist and food developers here at Kellogg.


Christina Calleros
Consumer Specialist
Consumer Affairs, Kellogg’s

Please take a moment to write to Calleros. Tell her that genetically engineered foods are not safe! Scientists reviewing Monsanto’s own studies “have proven that genetically engineered foods are neither sufficiently healthy or proper to be commercialized.” Genetically engineered crops and foods damage animal and human health, require vast amounts of toxic and climate-destabilizing herbicides and chemical fertilizers, generate superweeds that require deadly herbicides like 2,4-D for eradication, and spread genetic pollution into adjoining crops and plant relatives. Let her know that organic consumers don’t appreciate Kellogg’s “so-what” attitude toward the genetic contamination of organic crops! The Supreme Court recently ruled that the potential of genetically engineered crops to pollute organic varieties is a reason to hold back Monsanto’s Frankencrops – not promote them!

Sign the Facebook Petition and pass it around to your friends

Trader Joe: please say it ain’t so….
August 7, 2010, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I am a big fan of Trader Joe’s. It is close to my house and supposedly one of three chains in the US GMO Free.

From the Trader Joe’s web site:

“3. Trader Joe’s Products are Sourced from Non-GMO Ingredients

Our customers can be assured that all products in Trader Joe’s private label are sourced from non-genetically modified ingredients. Our efforts began in 2001, when we determined that, given a choice, our customers would prefer to eat foods and beverages made without the use of genetically engineered ingredients. Our process has been to identify any product containing ingredients that could potentially be derived from genetically engineered crops and work with our suppliers to replace offending ingredients with acceptable alternatives.

Or so I thought.

I was preparing breakfast for my kids and was pouring my youngest one a bowl of “Joe’s O’s” and started reading the label when I was shocked to see that it was made with “Modified Corn Starch”… I will be contacting their Customer Service hot line…

Please, oh please Joe…. tell me it ain’t so….

Modified Corn Starch....

Small Victory for Opponents of hydrofracking today
August 6, 2010, 5:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Following my post of June 29th on the movie Gasland, some temporary good news for opponents of hydrofracking:

Opponent of hydrofracking to mine natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations are thrilled that the State Senate has approved an 11 month moratorium on drilling.

Supporters were disappointed with the vote, saying the Senate let down New Yorkers.

One of the groups involved in the drive for the moratorium, Catskill Mountainkeeper, wants to keep the heat on the issue. Program Director Wes Gillingham there are a number of reasons for the delay.

“It only makes logical sense; we need to answer some of the fundamental questions about gas drilling that are still hanging out there over our heads,” he said.

Ulster County Legislator Susan Zimet, who has been in the forefront of the moratorium effort, notes that the Assembly must still pass the bill and then it must be signed into law by Governor Paterson.  She plans to continue to lobby the Assembly to explain why she believes a moratorium on drilling is needed.

“Why New York needs to take this slow and really understand it so we don’t find ourselves like people in Pennsylvania and all across the country have found themselves with water that you can put a match to when it comes out of their faucet and it basically explodes into flames,” she said.

The Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, meanwhile, expressed “extreme disappointment” at the Senate’s passage of the bill.

“Reason, science, logic and economic opportunity has lost out to a calculated campaign of misinformation and ignorance,” said association Executive Director Brad Gill. “On the very same night the legislature passed a budget that includes $1.6 billion in new taxes, fees and assessments, the Senate turned its back on an industry that would have safely explored for natural gas and provided a large part of the solution to New York’s economic despair.”

Non GMO Shopping Guide
July 13, 2010, 2:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Check out the Institute for Responsible Technology. They have a pretty good non GMO shopping Guide.

Nothing dramatically new there. The basic four tips are pretty common:

– Buy Organic (or Local whenever you can). Organic growers are not allowed to use GMOs

– Look for non GMO labels on products

– Avoid at Risk ingredients (like Corn, Soybeans, Canola,  Cotton seeds, etc

– Buy products on their Non-GMO Shopping Guide

Watch “Gasland” and never look at your faucet the same way ever again
June 29, 2010, 1:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I watched the movie Gasland last week on HBO.

This is yet another eye opening feature on the impact that man has on Nature and something as basic as having safe drinking water. Until now I was not really into buying drinking water when we have “decent” tap water to drink. I mean when you think of all the carbon footprint and the impact of purchasing something as basic as drinking water, it does not really make sense.Until now, we had been using a filter to drink our NYC tap water (until now…)

The movie explains the impact that the method used to extract natural gas (“Hydraulic Fracturing”) has on our drinking water supply:

Hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well.

Horizontal hydrofracking is a means of tapping shale deposits containing natural gas that were previously inaccessible by conventional drilling. Vertical hydrofracking is used to extend the life of an existing well once its productivity starts to run out, sort of a last resort. Horizontal fracking differs in that it uses a mixture of 596 chemicals, many of them proprietary, and millions of gallons of water per frack. This water then becomes contaminated and must be cleaned and disposed of.

For more information on fracking, check out the Gasland FAQ web site here

After looking at this movie, you are really starting to question:

1) how safe is our drinking water (who has never had “funny” tasting tap water???)

2) what are some people thinking and how far would people go to make money?

I wish this types of movies would be shown on regular cable and not only on HBO. I think this is important information that should be shared and passed around. Once again, people: Education is key. Educate yourselves and educate the people around you. We can make a difference.

Check out Gasland’s web site and pass it around. They have some petitions on the site that can be sent to our local officials to try to prevent gas companies from starting to drill gas wells around the NYC reservoirs. It is not too late but everyone needs to make their voice heard. You can contact your local elected officials right here.

Watch Food Inc and pass it around
June 1, 2010, 9:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I saw the movie “Food Inc” again recently on PBS and I can not recommend it enough. This movie should be on every gift list. While the movie is rather scary during the first 2/3, the overall message is one of Hope.

Most of the movie talks about the scary state of the food industry in the US, how “processed food” sold in US supermarkets seems more and more like “food to avoid” at all costs:

  • from burger meat washed in Ammonia to remove e-Coli germs (yes yes you read right),
  • to corn being produced so cheaply to force feed the cattle industry that it is now being used in virtually 90% of all processed food in the US,
  • not to forget Monsanto’s grip on the seed industry, the way they bully farmers into settling patent suits against them because they can not afford to pay legal fees and the way most of today’s top executives leading the FDA, USDA or EPA are former Monsanto employees (which seems surreal…)

This does not make for a very reassuring story.

However there are great messages of Hope:

from WallMart (yes WallMart) getting on the Organic Bandwagon by now selling Stoneyfield products in their stores to the increase demand for locally grown products, the clear message is that salvation will come in the form of the consumers (aka us !!!) voting with their wallets:

it has become clear that appealing to the large food companies to produce better quality food without Genetically modified ingredients for example will never lead to any results. The power of their lobbyists is so strong that consumers should not expect any miracles coming from their elected officials either (one example: Obama and his Organic garden naming Monsanto’s former VP of Public Policy as Senoir Advisor to the FDA….)

The only way consumers will make their voices heard will be by no longer buying their products. In the movie, a WallMart buyer says it clearly: “we made the decision to offer Stoneyfield’s products because consumers wanted it”. The overnight impact for organic milk producers was incredible!

There is a great analogy in the movie about how the food industry is like the tobacco industry 30 years ago: for the longest time the powerful tobacco lobby was able to sell its products without facing any consequences and by denying the health impact of their products. Eventually consumers got the politics to get their act together and change the laws to make them accountable. There is hope that we might be able to do the same with this oh-so essential food industry.

Watch the movie; buy it for a friend; pass it around. You can even watch the movie for free on PBS so not excuses!

Education is key ! Eat Organic (when or if you can) ! Buy locally grown (if and when you can) ! stop buying from the major food processing companies (if you leave in a large city, it is surprisingly easier than you think)