Saturday, May 26, 2012

What Ice Cream is Safe to Eat in Wellfleet?

The New York Times ran a front-page article yesterday about the desire of many Americans to see genetically-modified foods labeled. As regular readers know, I support labeling. I also do my best to avoid any food that is not organic, ie. genetically-modified, and serve guests only non-GMO foods, as far as I am able. It was interesting to read the comment by Gary Hirchberg, chairman of Stonyfield Farm, about his concern that recently approved genetically-modified alfalfa will be eaten by cows and change the quality of milk and, hence, ice cream made from that milk. Ice cream is sacred, if anything is.

Not all stores in Wellfleet sell Stonyfield Farm ice cream. We do have Ben & Jerry’s though, year-round. This company does not use milk that contains growth hormone. What about GMOs? Here’s an explanation from the Ben & Jerry’s web site.

“We support the right of consumers to know how their food is produced and to make their own choices about what they eat. It was out of concern for this right that we initiated our position on recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). With dairy being our primary ingredient, we pay a premium to the farmers of the St. Albans Co-op for their pledge to provide us with milk from cows that have not been treated with rBGH.

With regard to GMOs, we support the establishment of a coordinated regulatory framework within the U.S. government that allows for full consideration of the ecological and human health implications of GMO crops, as well as for meaningful public input.

We have found that it is virtually impossible to secure GMO free assurances from suppliers. There is no regulatory framework in the United States to guide the definition of GMO-free. Due to some reformulation of ingredients, the products that we export meet the definition of GMO-free in the international markets where they are sold.

Our goal is to be GMO-free in both our domestic and international products. Some of the issues we are confronting at the present time are the availability of a non-GMO supply of ingredient alternatives such as corn syrup and add-ins such as candies, and certification of those supplies. Currently we cannot obtain secure GMO free assurances from all of our suppliers.”

In other words, Ben & Jerry’s has not contributed one million dollars to the Just Label It campaign, as did Stonyfield Farm, but Ben & Jerry does oppose GMOs.

I’ve noticed a real difference in price for Ben and Jerry’s, purchased locally. Pints sell for …

Cumberland Farms: $4.99

Blackfish Variety: $5.39

Wellfleet Marketplace: $4.79

Last week Stop & Shop did a special: two pints for five dollars.

Really, this whole discussion is moot, since cows will soon be eating genetically-modified alfalfa, thanks to approval from the USDA and American ice cream will be changed forever.

An interesting development is the creation of a Web site that helps you Label It Yourself.

Have you ever wondered how these decisions are made in favor of companies like Monsanto? It’s simple. Infiltration. Former employees apply for government jobs. Right now they are influencing President Obama on policy regarding small farms in Africa and have him visiting a factory farm in Iowa. As Paul Tukey, of Safe Lawns, writes on his blog, “I’m just stunned that President Obama isn’t smarter than this, that he is clearly putting business interests ahead of human and planetary health.”

Our President is not the only one being swayed by lobbyists.. Check out the latest on genetically-modified salmon over in Congress.

Do you worry about where the milk in your ice cream comes from? Have you protested yet?