Senate Defeats the Latest Industry Effort to Block GMO Food Labeling

Good news in the ongoing fight for consumers’ right to know! By a slim 1-vote margin, the bill was stopped in its tracks. Thanks to the efforts of numerous consumer, health and anti-GMO groups, their communities and their state representatives.

The Center for Food Safety reports:

Defeat of the “DARK Act” is Major Victory for America’s Right to Know

Today the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act failed to garner enough votes for cloture by a vote of 49-48, effectively defeating the bill.  The bill introduced by Senator Roberts (R-KS) faced bi-partisan rejection.  The bill would have preempted the genetically engineered food labeling laws in Vermont, Connecticut, Maine and Alaska.  In its place it would have put a voluntary labeling scheme that relies primarily on QR codes, websites and call in numbers to inform consumers about the presence of GMOs.

“The defeat of the DARK Act is a major victory for the food movement and America’s right to know,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. “It also is an important victory for Democracy over the attempt of corporate interests to keep Americans in the Dark about the foods they buy and feed their families.” Kimbrell concluded.  Continue reading

Shoppers’ Guide to Avoiding GMO Foods

With Vermont’s recent court victory to require manufacturers selling food in the state to adhere to GMO-labeling guidelines set forth, it’s time for other states to demand the same transparency on their own grocery store shelves and restaurants.

The Center for Food Safety updated its Food Shoppers’ Guide to Avoiding GE Food a little over a year ago, and they provide some good resources to get you started should you wish to have the option to either avoid, or have labeled, GMO foods. Public opinion polls hold that a large majority of Americans want their food suppliers to clearly label whether or not their products have GMO ingredients.

From the Center for Food Safety website:

“We’ve seen that our government, under pressure from the biotechnology industry, has not required the labeling of GE foods. And the biotech industry does not voluntarily identify them, fearing, probably correctly, that the majority of Americans would avoid GE foods if given a choice. As a result, the U.S. public has been deprived of its right to choose
whether to buy and consume these engineered foods. However, this is not the case with most of our major trading partners around the globe who have instituted mandatory labeling of all GE foods and ingredients.

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Quirky Cuisine: Three Strange Meals

 

beggal in a basket

Beggal in a nest. I first tried this by cutting out the center of both the top and bottom halves of a begal, but found it easier to leave the bottom one intact for better stacking the second time I tried it. Sesame, onion or everything bagel, one free-range large brown egg, 1-2 slices of cheddar or swiss cheese, butter for cooking.

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Strawberries and Sprouts Sandwich

Here’s an interesting little combo I put together when I was on a tomato n’ sprouts sandwich kick and ran out of tomatoes. I thought, “Hey, how about putting two layers of strawberries in there instead?” Strawberries in a sandwich with mayo?!

Yup, turned out really good in fact.

A strawberries and sprouts sandwich pic from Life Is Melody

A strawberries and sprouts sandwich

  • Two lightly toasted pieces of sprouted or whole grain bread
  • 3/4 cup of organic mixed sprouts
  • 6 (organic) strawberries sliced to 1/3″ thick
  • Organic mayo

Put a light layer of mayo on each slice of toast. (Toast makes a much better sandwich here than untoasted bread.) Build a two-layers thick bottom base of strawberries. Pile on the sprouts and maybe a little more mayo on the top piece of toast. Press down to slightly ‘pack’ the sandwich so the sprouts and strawberries don’t tumble out as easily. You’re set to go!

Going Gluten-Free: The First Steps

Becoming a label reader

Before you needlessly throw everything in your kitchen pantry away, and as you begin to go shopping for gluten-free products, the biggest change in your shopping routine is that you’re going to become an expert at reading labels and enquiring about ingredients at counters. Don’t go shopping without your reading glasses. Familiarize yourself with the ingredients you want to avoid. Go to gluten-free association websites such as celiac.com and .org, or ones that your health professional has recommended and bookmark them for future reference. Print out the lists of ingredients you can and can’t have. Tape that list up somewhere in your kitchen and download a pdf version to your mobile device to assist you when you’re out shopping or at a restaurant.

One of the first, and most important, distinctions to keep in mind when shopping is that “wheat free” on a label does not mean gluten-free; it just means that there is no gluten from wheat sources in there. So all gluten-free food is wheat-free, but not vice versa. And contrary to what its name seems to imply, buckwheat actually is gluten-free, as is wheatgrass (a great superfood found in many green-powdered blends). -I know; it’s confusing at first, but these are the kinds of distinctions you’re going to be able to make with ease soon enough.

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Going Gluten-Free; Intro: Surviving the panic of “What am I going to Eat?!”

photo: lifeismelody.com

Your doctor has just told you that you need to start a gluten-free diet, effective immediately. After the appointment, you drive your car to the ‘weird’ natural foods store in town that your neighbors told you about. You find a parking spot and turn off the engine, but you’re not ready to get out of the car. Where did it all go wrong, you wonder, and is there still time to run over and grab a breaded fried chicken sandwich and a milkshake one more time and pretend that your doctor’s appointment is tomorrow and that’s when you’ll go gluten-free? You pull the keys out of the ignition, climb out of your car, and start the long walk across the parking lot to the store’s entrance. You grab a shopping cart, and in you go…

I’ve seen that look over a hundred times by now; a couple or an individual is tentatively looking around the ‘health food’ store which you can tell they’ve never set foot in before, and on their face there’s a complex mixture of resignation, trepidation and skepticism. Inside their heads, the thoughts are swirling: “I’m going to have to eat unflavored vegetables, steamed chicken and potato chips for the rest of my life.” “While the rest of the family gorges on pizza and Aunt Sally’s famous strawberry pie, I’m going to be looking at a plate of rice crackers topped with pepperoni slices and a bowl of cold strawberries.” “I’m going to have to cook two sets of meals every day.” “What will I do besides sip water when the office staff goes to lunch together?” “I’ll never get a birthday cake again; and what about Thanksgiving? OMG, What about Thanksgiving?!”

The good news is: you’re going to make it through this. And though there will be disappointments and inconveniences, you’re not going to be relegated to the corner, picking at a bowl of tasteless gluten-free gruel and sipping a wine cooler while the gang is downing brewskis and pizza watching the big game. As a matter of fact, even if you’ve been told you have to go on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet for the rest of your life, you’re still going to be able to have pizza and beer again. Continue reading