I want to know what’s in my food. I am skeptical of many of the novel, new foods and production methods food producers are employing to supposedly “enhance” foods, which is usually marketing spin for production changes that serve primarily to increase profits, regardless of the impact on public health. The last thing that I want is to permit the food industry to take this deception even further by sneaking biologically altered ingredients into our foods without us even knowing it.
So I should be in favor of GMO labeling, right?
About 4 months ago, I began this blog post with the aim of arguing in favor of GMO labeling and exposing the holes in my opponents’ arguments. In order to do this effectively, I had to really understand the other side. So I devoted countless hours to listening to various authorities who argued against labeling for various reasons. And that’s when things got complicated. One by one, each of my arguments fell apart. Confusion led to frustration which lead to fear. Fear that I’ve been so ignorant and probably still am. Fear that I might tip over to the “dark side” and join the likes of Monsanto, the most vilified entity in the natural foods community. Fear that I would lose my readers.
After more than 40 revisions to this article, I’ve decided to go ahead and publish it now, despite being more undecided than ever on this very polarizing topic. As with my journey to learn more about the complex issues surrounding vaccines, I invite you to join me on my at this critical juncture in my journey toward greater understanding through openness, objectivity and humility. Continue reading
Milk shouldn’t be drunk raw because, well, look at where the cow’s udder is located – at the same end of the cow as her…<gulp>…”you know what!”
This is the message I heard a government official deliver in response to a presentation advocating raw milk by Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation. That official was Heidi Kassenborg, director of the Dairy & Food Inspection Division of Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
The venue was an open debate, put on by Harvard University’s Food Law Society. It’s been a year and a half since the debate, but I still can’t get out of my head the cartoon image of the cow that Kassenborg displayed so prominently in her presentation. The implication was that it should be obvious to anyone, even a child, why milk shouldn’t be drunk raw.
This got me thinking more and more about poop/feces/manure/bodily waste or whatever you want to call it and whether it’s necessarily as dangerous and sickening as it’s made out to be. Not that I *want* to be consuming it, but how diligent must I be about ensuring that I or my child never come in contact with it? Is this even realistic? And is that a valid reason to think twice about drinking raw milk? Continue reading
This morning NPR reported that a farmer in Oregon found some Roundup-resistant wheat growing on his land. He sent it to a lab for testing. That lab, and then subsequently the USDA, both confirmed that the plants were genetically modified. About a decade ago, Monsanto did create Roundup-resistent varieties of wheat, which they tested in wheat fields in 16 different states, but those field trials ended in 2005 since the wheat industry didn’t want it. It has never been approved by the U.S. government for commercial use.
In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food.” These include infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods. But how can people avoid GM foods when they are not labeled as such?
The United States has tried numerous times to pass GM labeling legislation, with the most prominent recent example being proposition 37 in California, which failed just like all prior attempts. Contrast this with the European Union, which passed GM labeling laws back in 1997 when the first Genetically Engineered (GE) corn (maize) crops were being planted. Far fewer safety studies had been done back then, but the Europeans had strong feelings on the topic nonetheless.
Why do the U.S. and Europe have such diverging attitudes on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)? Here’s my list of the top 7 reasons followed by what those of us who want labeling legislation in America can do about it:
Real, unadulterated, whole, raw milk. People have consumed this versatile, satisfying and nutritious food for thousands of years. That is, up until about 100 years ago, when it fell out of favor and was replaced by the highly processed and allergenic alternative that is found in today’s supermarkets. Although it’s growing again in popularity, raw milk and its producers are mistrusted by government officials, the mainstream media and the vast majority Americans. Several raw milk dairies in America have recently closed their doors due to the intense scrutiny and harassment they’ve endured from state health departments. But Mark McAfee, head of America’s largest retail raw milk producer, is far from letting anyone get in the way of pursuing his dream of improving the health of this country by providing informed consumers with access to “mother nature’s perfect food.”
In this interview, Mark gives me the inside scoop on the very public pathogen outbreaks that have been associated with his dairy. He answers the hotly debated question of whether humans should be consuming the milk of another species. He talks about government corruption. And he tells me about a new enterprise he has launched, which aims to bring greater transparency and standardization to raw milk production. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, while baking with my German mother-in-law, she politely informed me that my hazelnuts and whole wheat flour, which had been in my pantry for ~8 weeks and 6 months respectively, were both rancid. She had me smell the flour. I did, but couldn’t tell it was rancid because I didn’t have fresher flour to compare to. Besides, the expiration date was still several months out. When I tasted the hazelnuts, however, I knew she was right. They had a bitter aftertaste. She also explained that the dark color was another clue that they were old. I wondered how much of a risk rancid foods pose. Continue reading
Ever meet a farmer who opposes farm subsidies? Or a Christian who’s against donating food to developing countries? Or an environmentalist who believes we have too many trees in the US? How about a forward-thinking innovator who wants to do away with sewage plumbing and go back to a hole in the ground? What if all of this described one person, and that person had the nerve to publish a book accusing everyone else of not being normal?
I was at Whole Foods the other day, browsing their cheeses, when this woman next to me shrieked in horror upon reading that the Gruyere Special Reserve is made from UNPASTEURIZED milk. I turned to her and said that, after doing my own research on the topic, I now prefer unpasteurized dairy products over pasteurized dairy products. Here’s the conversation that followed: Continue reading