Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why GMOs in baby food and infant formula should be labeled

 Written/submitted Testimony In support of HB 6798 – An act requiring labeling of baby food and infant formula containing genetically engineered organisms.
February 24, 2015

Senator Bartolomeo, Representative Urban & Members of the Committee on Children: My name is Beth Beisel, and this is the fourth legislative session that I have come to testify in support of a GMO labeling bill, as a representative of GMO Free CT, a grassroots campaign that led CT to become the first state in the country to pass a GMO labeling law. This particular bill resonates with me because I am a mother, but as a nutrition professional, I know that infants and children are especially vulnerable to GMOs and the pesticides they contain.

Since 1996, when genetically modified foods were introduced into the food supply without our knowledge or consent, an entire generation has evolved.

Today’s children are the first to be raised on food that is started in the laboratory of a chemical company, and grown in a field where water, soil, sediment, air, and the very crops that go into most processed foods are contaminated with chemicals. These processed foods include infant formula, and baby food.

Most adults do not remember classmates having allergies to food, yet today there is barely a classroom in America that doesn't have at least one student with a food allergy, often a severe or potentially fatal food allergy.

According to the CDC, food allergies among children increased by 18% between 1997 and 2007. (Keep in mind that GMOs were first allowed on the market in 1996.) In addition, a study released by the CDC in 2013 claimed that food allergies among children increased by approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011.

Treating food allergies costs $25 billion per year in the US alone! (Gupta R, et al. The high economic burden of childhood food allergy in the United States. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol, 2012; 109: A1-A162.)

Evidence is anecdotal – we can’t prove that GMOs and their pesticides are the cause of food allergies, but once we have labeling, we will have a better shot at proving it.

Children are most vulnerable to GMOs and the pesticides they are contaminated with because their macro and micro nutrient needs are higher during infancy and childhood than at any other stage of development. During growth, rapid cell division requires much higher amounts of protein, calories, and nutrients. The average adult requires 25-30 grams per kilogram of body weight; a baby (1-3 years old) requires more than three times as much, and an infant requires four times as many calories per kilogram of body weight as an adult! This means that infants and children are consuming at least 1/3 –1/2 as many gmos and glyphosate as adults, in much smaller, developing bodies.

A multitude of health problems have been linked to glyphosate and/or Roundup. 
2) The Myths of Safe Pesticides. By Andre Leu, president of the International Federation of Agriculture Movements, 2014.

Infant formula is a chemically developed substance made primarily from derivatives of genetically engineered corn, and soy. This means that the first food many infants ingest comes from a plant that has its own pesticide number. Every kernel of genetically engineered corn is made to express a deadly toxin, which causes a rootworm’s stomach to explode. Each type of genetically engineered corn is registered with the EPA. Soy and sugar beets are genetically engineered to withstand the application of unprecedented levels of herbicides like Roundup which contains glyphosate and is genotoxic. (A toxic agent that damages DNA molecules in genes, causing mutations, tumors, etc.)

(Newer versions of these crops contain both Bt toxin, AND tolerate herbicide application.) Studies show that glyphosate, when combined with “inert” ingredients, like those used in formulating Roundup, becomes up to one thousand times more potent than glyphosate alone.

Major Pesticides Are More Toxic to Human Cells Than Their Declared Active Principles

Infants do not have a fully developed immune system, nor is their blood brain barrier established. In Canada, BT toxin – used in GE corn, was found in the blood of pregnant women and in their unborn babies.

Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada.

Peer reviewed medical literature demonstrates that animals exposed to genetically engineered foods develop smaller livers and brains, as well as infertility and cancerous tumors. The biotechnology industry claims that these foods are safe – but our government has NEVER proven them safe. Human safety testing has never been conducted. In fact, science is not part of the FDA approval process . Any ‘test’ summaries provided to the FDA are voluntary. The FDA's 1992 GE safety policy stands today, “Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety.”[1]Yet Monsanto contends, “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” FDA Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties (GMO Policy) Federal Register, Volume 57, Page 129, 1992 2 - Phillip Angell, Monsanto’s Director of Corporate Communications,New York Times Magazine, October 25,1998

Despite what you will hear from the opposition today, no scientific consensus on GMO safety exists.


I strongly urge you to pass this bill and put babies before corporate profits.

Thank you!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Correlation Does Not Mean Causation: And How Labeling Can Help.

Last Month, the following graph appeared on twitter. It seems a little ridiculous, which I believe was the original author’s intent – to show that correlation does not always prove causation.

People have been eating organic food since the beginning of time. It was called “food.” Autism incidence has increased dramatically since GMOs and the chemicals they are engineered to resist were introduced into our food supply.  An increasing number of people are purchasing “organic” food as they learn that conventional food may contain contaminants such as glyphosate, neonicotinoids, 2,4-D (a component of Agent Orange,) atrazine, gluphosinate, dicamba, and other chemicals.

We can’t prove that the increase in sales of organic food has anything to do with the rise in autism, which is the point, I believe that the original author was trying to make: coincidental data does not prove causation.

There are no studies indicating that organic food causes autism.  However, over 1,800 scientific references including studies, surveys, and analyses suggest various adverse impacts and potential adverse impacts of genetically engineered (GE/GMO) crops, foods and related pesticides.

The rise in organic food sales has nothing to do with the rise in the autism rate, and everything to do with the growing awareness of food contamination. This contamination of our food and water is causing toxins to get lodged in our bodies where they slowly degrade our health and take away our lives. Here is an interesting article indicating that 80% of American parents report purchasing organic foods, and why.

From birth (through formula or breast milk containing chemicals) until we’re on our death beds (where we are often given “supplemental nutrition,”) we are being exposed to such toxins.

Once GMOs are labeled, we will be able to more easily trace intakes of GMOs and their corresponding chemicals as they relate to autism and other chronic disease. Once GMOs are labeled, we may be able to prove that, in a given case, correlation does indeed prove causation.  Once GMOs are labeled, we may finally be able to hold the companies who have been altering our food accountable and liable.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Healthy GMO Free Snacks

Healthy GMO Free Snacks

  • Air popped organic popcorn with melted organic butter or popped in coconut oil 
  • Hummus on organic crackers, celery, or carrots 
    • Hummus is usually made with soy or canola oil, so if you can’t find it made with olive oil, buy organic hummus 
  • Any homemade cookie or muffin 
    • You can usually cut the fat by ½ and the sugar by 1/3 – and always substitute organic whole wheat pastry flour
    • Depending on what it is, you can add chopped apricots, cranberries, carrots or berries for extra vitamins and fiber 
  • Sunflower or pumpkin seeds 
    • Make sure they’re roasted dry, without oil 
  • Yogurt or a smoothie.
    • Whole milk yogurt tastes much better, makes us feel full for longer, and doesn't let sugar enter the bloodstream so rapidly. Organic dairy products, like Stonyfield Farm, are free of GMO's antibiotics, growth hormones, and high fructose corn syrup.
  • Pretzels, made with organic flour, water, and salt, with an organic cheese stick 
  • Carrots with organic ranch dressing 
  • Hard boiled organic, pasture- raised egg 
  • Organic Apple sauce 
  • Organic peanut, almond, cashew butter on organic apples or bananas 
  • Nuts
    • Preferably dry roasted, rather than roasted in cheap oils like cottonseed, a highly pesticided, genetically modified oil. 

Note: Both trans fat and high fructose corn syrup (now called "fructose" - thanks to a "pass" from the feds) are man-made substances that provide huge profits for the food industry. They are cheap, and have a much longer shelf life than “real food” alternatives. But they are harmful to our bodies, in the long term.

Only when the consumer stops buying these foods, will the industry stop using them.

You may notice that many suggestions contain saturated fat, like butter and cheese. Saturated fat is a much healthier alternative to trans fat (partially hydrogenated oil) and if the dairy products are organic, they are GM free. It is important, however, to limit portion size. Too much of anything can be unhealthy. Look at your child’s fist; this is about the size of her/his stomach.

It is actually easy to control portion size when you eat some “real” fat, because it is more satisfying. It gives a feeling of fullness, which lasts, and prevents the rapid rise, and fall, of blood sugar caused by eating carbohydrate alone.

Did you know that the presence of fat in the small intestine produces hormones that prevent hunger contractions?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Healthy (GMO Free) Snack Recipes

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe makes a lot of dough. You can keep it in the refrigerator and make a few every day, so that they are warm from the oven. (Added benefit – portion control!) If the batter is too dry/hard when you remove it from the refrigerator, let them sit at room temperature, then roll into balls and pat down with the palm of your hand. This recipe provides about ½ as much fat and 2/3 as much sugar as traditional chocolate chip cookies.

2 sticks softened organic butter (or 1 stick butter and 1/3 cup coconut oil)
1 cup granulated organic sugar
1 cup organic brown sugar
2 tsp organic vanilla
4 organic (pasture fed if possible) eggs
4 ½ cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda (non-gmo)
½ tsp. salt
1 bag organic chocolate chips or chocolate bar chopped up
1 cup chopped walnuts

Beat softened butter with sugar in large mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth. Sift together the dry ingredients and mix with butter mixture. Add chips and nuts. Bake @ 350 for 12 minutes.

Pumpkin Muffins

These are extremely high in beta-carotene – which turns to Vitamin A in the body and is an anti-oxidant (fights cell damaging free radicals.) They are delicious with cream cheese frosting and can be called “cupcakes” for birthday parties. Kids love them! Please make your own frosting – canned frosting is a trans fat BOMB.

4 organic eggs
1 cup organic sugar
½ cup organic melted butter or avocado oil, or grapeseed oil, or coconut oil.
16 oz. canned pumpkin
2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp GMO free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
½ cup GMO free chocolate chips (optional, in lieu of frosting)

Beat eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Fills about 24 muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

“Healthier” Frosting

Bakery-made and store bought cupcakes, as well as donuts, and canned frosting, are loaded with trans fat, and GMOs which are not recognized by the cells in our body as food. Trans fat, or partially hydrogenated oil, in any amount, promotes the development of chronic disease, and overweight/obesity. Also, don't forget "sugar" is 50% GM sugar beets, drowned in Round Up.

1 pound organic confectionery sugar
½ stick melted or room temperature organic butter (not margarine)
1 teaspoon organic vanilla
3-4 teaspoons organic milk

Mix first three ingredients together, slowly add milk, while beating with electric mixer, until desired consistency is obtained.

Banana Bread
¼ cup organic butter
½ cup organic brown sugar
1 organic egg, beaten
1 cup organic oatmeal or bran, uncooked
4-5 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp organic vanilla
1 ½ cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp GMO free baking powder
½ tsp GMO Free baking soda
½ cup chopped nuts

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Stir in cereal, bananas and vanilla. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and add to first mixture. Stir just until flour is moistened. Pour batter into buttered or sprayed loaf pan. Bake at 350 x 1 hour, or until bread tests done.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Soup

The wind is howling and blowing snow around our house in CT.  We have three feet of snow piled up from a succession of recent storms.  Our white mailbox is barely visible; just the red flag shows.  But there is nothing I LOVE more than being hunkered down and making nourishing food for my family.

Here's a hearty soup recipe to make and enjoy during a blizzard or any time.  Bonus - it has lots of cancer fighting ingredients!

Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Soup

  • 2 cups homemade chicken broth
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 can organic full fat coconut milk (preferably in a BPA- free can)
  • Organic fire roasted sausage
  • Sauteed organic kale
  • Salt, pepper, turmeric to taste
Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and cook it in the chicken broth until soft.  Meanwhile, slice the top off of the head of garlic. (It's okay to leave on the outer paper-like skin). Drizzle olive oil over it and wrap it in foil or place it in a garlic roaster.  Bake at 350 until it is soft and mushy, for about 1/2 hour.

Add the garlic to the broth/cauliflower combo by squeezing it into the broth. Discard the garlic shell. Add coconut milk.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender, blender, or food processor. 

Remove the stems from the washed kale, and saute until soft. Add cut up sausage to the kale and saute until it is lightly browned. Combine with the broth mixture.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and as much turmeric as you can; it is a miracle spice! (More on that at another time.)

If you have trouble with oxalic acid, limit the turmeric and use Lacinato kale.

There are a lot of options here to add flavor and texture. It's okay to be creative! Next time I might try adding chopped roasted tomatoes to this soup.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Ingredients Matter

This week, a recent report found glyphosate in a pediatric tube feeding product used to feed children who can’t eat by mouth. Usually these children are very sick and have compromised immune systems. I have often felt conflicted about recommending tube feedings and nutritional supplements to patients, knowing that they are made from ingredients like corn, soy, canola, and sugar, but didn't have a choice when it was imperative to provide calories, protein, and other nutrients; until recently...

As a registered dietitian, I can still hear my professors from the 1980s saying: “There is no such thing as junk food… All types of food are okay, in moderation…. The food produced in the United States is the safest, most nutritious, and most plentiful food in the world.”

That was before our food was manipulated by chemical companies. In the 1990s, without our knowledge or consent, crops (corn, soy, sugar beets, cottonseed and canola – which are currently found in 80% of processed foods in this country) became engineered to withstand the application of a substance known as glyphosate – a weed killer. That substance is also sprayed on non-GMO crops to ripen them, increase seed production, and dry them out. (Crops like wheat, sugar cane, and tea.)

Many of the components found in traditional tube feeding formulas and medical nutritional supplements are made from these crops. What is most concerning is a study which was published in Biomedical Research International, in 2014. It was entitled: Major Pesticides Are More Toxic to Human Cells Than Their Declared Active Principles.

The study describes how glyphosate is usually evaluated for toxicity by itself. Yet, when combined with “inert” ingredients, and made into a formulation such as Round Up, the study found that the combination can be 125 times more toxic than the glyphosate alone. As a patented antibiotic, glyphosate has the ability to destroy gut bacteria, which is important to the immune system. Already compromised patients, especially children, should not, in my opinion, be exposed to this toxic chemical, especially if there is a cleaner, safer, health-promoting alternative.

There is a new tube feeding formula available, called Liquid Hope. It is made from organic, non-gmo, REAL food. There are no chemicals, and ingredients include foods like garbanzo beans, broccoli, and tumeric; just pure food in a balanced and complete formulation.

For more information, check out their website!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What are GMOs?

What are GMOs?

GMOs are genetically engineered foods made in laboratories owned by chemical companies.  The process of genetic engineering involves the insertion of genes from one species into the DNA of an unrelated species.  This is a very new process, which has not been around for thousands of years, as some from the biotech industry would like us to believe. In fact, genetic engineering is only about 20 years old. IT IS NOT THE SAME THING AS CROSS BREEDING OR HYBRIDIZATION.
Most of the traits that have been engineered into our foods are done so to create herbicide tolerant varieties and pesticide producing varieties. Herbicide tolerant crops are resistant to chemicals such as glyphosate, dicamba, and 2,4-D (a component of Agent Orange.)  Pest resistant (pesticide producing) varieties are engineered to contain a toxin in every cell of the crop that causes a bug’s stomach to explode when it tries to eat the plant.

When we eat these foods, we are ingesting the chemicals that were sprayed on the crops and/or the toxins engineered to kill. These substances are in 80% of the processed foods in America today. They are found in human blood, breast milk, and urine.  Glyphosate, the chemical sprayed on most of these crops, was recently granted a pass by the US EPA. The allowable levels on food were doubled.  To put this in perspective, soybean oil is now allowed to contain thousands of times the limit of glyphosate at which it can impact health.

The dramatic increase in the use of agrichemicals, such as glyphosate, correlates with a rise in more than 30 human diseases. Originally patented as a mineral chelator, glyphosate immobilizes nutrients, making them unavailable for the body. Glyphosate is also patented as an antibiotic that can devastate human gut bacteria. (Aka the micro biome, or the immune system.)

What crops are genetically engineered/contain GMOs?
Herbicide tolerant:  sugar beets, rapeseed (canola), alfalfa.
Herbicide tolerant and pesticide producing: corn, soy, cotton.
Resistant to virus: Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, crookneck squash.
Corn:  There are hundreds of derivatives of corn found in processed foods, like maltodextrine, certain vitamins, and high fructose corn syrup.  For a complete list, download
Soy:  Soy containing products, such as soy lecithin, MSG, and soy protein isolate are just some of the ingredients in processed foods that are genetically modified.  For a complete list, download
Canola: This is a highly processed oil,(winterized, deodorized, bleached, genetically modified,  and chemically drenched) made from rapeseed.
Cotton: Cotton seeds are sprayed with the chemical hexane to expel oil, which is then used to cook things like potato chips, other fried foods, and is used to make man-made lard and margarine.
Sugar beets: This type of beet is used to make sugar. 50% of the sugar in products which list “sugar” on the label is comprised of genetically modified sugar beets.
Alfalfa: A perennial, alfalfa is used to feed grass-fed livestock. Since it has been genetically modified, 100% grass-fed meat may not be GMO free.
Russet potatoes: The newest crop to get USDA approval.
How did GMOs get into our food? 

In 1996 genetically engineered foods were secretly infiltrated into our food supply, without thorough safety investigations. 
 In fact, genetically modified foods were given GRAS status, (generally recognized as safe) even though they did not meet any of the criteria which is specified for products to meet GRAS status, in the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  In other words, GMOs did not meet ANY of the criteria established by our government, to be Generally Recognized As Safe, but were  given GRAS status anyway, despite inadequate safety testing and warnings from FDA’s internal scientists.

1) They were not substances that have been around for hundreds of years, and

2) They had not gone through scientific, independent, thorough, peer reviewed, long term testing.

(The two requirements to meet GRAS status.)

The US Government was advised that GE foods were “substantially equivalent,” yet the EPA determined that GE corn was so FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT, they decided that it must be regulated as a pesticide, and GE corn was given an EPA registration number.
At the same time, the US Patent and Trademark Office agreed to patent GMO seeds, (because the unique characteristics made them a novelty.) This enhanced and protected profitability.
Steven M. Druker, J.D., an attorney, sued the FDA for 44,000 sealed documents. These documents were written by internal FDA scientists concerned about the dangers of GMOs. Druker states that allowing these substances into the US food supply was/is illegal, based on these documents and the GRAS status they were given.

What are the possible health risks associated with GMOs?

 Genetically Engineered foods have never been scientifically tested in human trials.
When animals fed GM foods and/or glyphosate, are studied by independent scientists for a period greater than three months however, results find damage to vital organs like the liver and kidneys, damage to gut tissues and gut flora, immune system disruption, reproductive abnormalities, and tumors. These scientific studies continue to be ignored by those who should be protecting us.
There is also a strong correlation between the onset of GMOs into our food supply and the rapid rise in many health problems including: food allergies, autism, ADHD, asthma, infertility, stage II diabetes, obesity, birth defects, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer.  Without labeling, these correlations can not be proven. We must have GMO foods labeled so that we can trace and hold accountable what may very well be causing such a rapid rise in debilitating health trends.
Currently, the FDA, EPA, and USDA rely on outdated studies and other information funded and supplied by chemical companies that, not surprisingly, dismiss all health concerns. (These companies profit from the sale of the GM seeds as well as the sale of the pesticides that the seeds are resistant to.)
Countries that ban or label GMOS:

Currently 64 countries ban or require labeling of foods containing GMOs. These countries include member nations of the European Union, Russia, China, Brazil, Australia, Turkey and South Africa.
 For a complete list of countries that ban or require labeling, please consult The Center For Food Safety’s website:

Suggested resources to learn more about GMOs:

BooksSeeds of Deception by Jeffrey Smith, Organic Manifesto by Marie Rodale, Genetically Altered Foods and Your Health, by Ken Roseboro, GMO Myths and Truths, by Michael Antonio, Claire Robinson, and John Fagan.

State initiatives and Facebook Pages:  GMO Free USA, GMO Free CT(and other states,) 

Movies:  Genetic Roulette, Seeds of Deception, GMO OMG, Deconstructing Supper, Food Inc., The World According to Monsanto, Seeds of Death, Seeds of Destruction