Sunday, October 16, 2011

Do You Eat Foods Containing GMOs?

It’s Blog Action Day and the topic for 2011 is FOOD. Above, visitors arriving at Oysterfest yesterday morning. How appropriate for this post to have, as a backdrop, Wellfleet Marketplace where Wellfleetians buy food. At Oysterfest, we celebrate the oyster, a food consumed by Native Americans, then Cape Cod settlers, who threw the shells out their windows. Winslow’s Tavern gives a good description of why Wellfleet oysters are the best on Winslow’s Blog. Food is important. It nourishes us. Or, should. Many of us start the day with a bowl of cereal. (Check which brands provide true nourishment here.) Did you know that 80% of the food sold at stores, therefore technically at Wellfleet Marketplace, half of the food, available in the USA today, now contains GMOs?

Most Americans, when polled, say they do not want to consume GMOs. Do you?

GMO means genetically-modified organism. Anything not organically grown or certified non-GMO that has any corn, soy, canola oil or cottonseed oil, or products made from them, such as lecithin, and high fructose corn syrup, are very likely to be GMO.

I believe sufficient testing has not been done on GMOs and that they are not “good” for us to eat. “Good” is a euphemism, according to this short video:


I do not want to serve GMOs at my bed & breakfast, so I have been writing manufacturers of certain products to inquire. For instance …

“I plan to blog about GMOs on Blog Action Day, when the subject will be food, Oct. 16. I would like to know whether Nonni’s biscotti contain GMOs. I no longer plan to serve products with GMO ingredients at my B&B. I looked on your site and could not find this information. Since your biscotti are a personal favorite of mine, I hope you will respond that they are all natural, no GMOs. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.”


“Please stop using GMOs in your muffins. I love them. I just checked to see if you use GMOs and, with regret, have decided to stop buying. GMOs are not safe for health, no matter what the FDA claims. These ingredients should be avoided. I plan to mention Thomas English Muffins in the list of foods served at my B&B for Blog Action Day, but add that I am no longer buying until all ingredients containing GMOs are removed.”

I also wrote to my favorite pasta manufacturer. A Ronzoni rep actually wrote back:

“Dear Alexandra:

Thank you for your kind comments. They are greatly appreciated.

We are proud of our commitment to excellence in manufacturing quality products. We are always pleased to hear from consumers who appreciate our efforts. Our company has built its reputation on this tradition, and we will continue to manufacture the superior quality products you enjoy.

GMOs are not currently available in Durum Wheat, our major raw material. Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor developments in this area to ensure that the quality and safety of our products remains above reproach.

If we may be of further service to you, call us toll-free at 1-800-730-5957, weekdays 9-5 Eastern Standard Time …”

Note, the rep avoids saying whether Ronzoni will use GMOs in the future.

Anyone who cares about nutrition should be writing letters like these. The Internet makes it easy. Manufacturers do pay attention to public opinion. If they receive enough letters against GMOs, they will make an effort to buy non-GMO ingredients.

As of today, it is still hard to tell what is GMO and what is not. That is because BigAg has succeeded in lobbying against labels. This decision, at least, can still be reversed. Sign the petitions to demand the labeling of GMOs here and here and here.

Read a summary of the situation in yesterday's Daily Beast.

Do you worry about food containing GMOs or do you not care?