GMO Free CT leaders waited in the LOB for 13 hours to present testimony in support of HB 6519. We had incredible scientists, who voluntarily came on their own time to speak on behalf of the bill. They included John Fagan from Earth Open Source, and Michael Hanson from Consumer's Union. John is a former biotech scientist who "saw the light " and wrote the book "GMO Myths and Truths." Michael Hanson gave amazing testimony, dispelling all the claims made by the very well paid biotech lobbiests. (What an honor and privledge to meet and talk with each of them!) An exciting part of the day was when "Gerry" from Ben and Gerry's Ice Cream testified that his ice cream would be completely GMO Free by the end of this year, and the cost would not increase! Over 200 people got to have free ice cream provided by Gerry, which he scooped himself. Incredible! A father and mother, holding their two babies, testified with tears in their eyes that they want to know what is in the food that they feed their family. They described how difficult it is for them (and many families) to afford organic food in order to avoid GMOs and wish food could be truthfully labeled.
Testimony for HB 6519 – Beth Beisel, R.D. LLC3/15/2013
Good Afternoon Senator Gerratana, Representative Johnson, Vice chairs, Ranking members, and members of the committee: I’m here in support of HB 6519.
My name is Beth Beisel, and I’m a registered dietitian.That means that I received a bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences, interned in a hospital, and passed a national registration examination. I also have to take continuing education credits to maintain my registration.
I have had a nutrition consulting practice for over 20 years.I’m here today to tell you how critical it is that consumers have access to transparent labels.Since food allergies have become more common, it is important that people who are told to avoid genetically engineered foods can. Right now the task is a very difficult one, and often discouraging. There are approximately 100 ingredients in processed foods that come from corn or soy, 2 of the most prevalent genetically engineered foods.It is time consuming and confusing for people to read food labels and search for the 100 or so particular ingredients in each product.Some people are lucky; they can just buy organic or non gmo project verified, to avoid GMOs, but not everyone can do this because it is more expensive to buy organic.
Some of the ingredients that may come from GMOs include: Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, citric acid, maltodextrine, textured vegetable protein, and soy isolates.It will be easier and safer for people with food allergies or any malady that might be related to ingestion of genetically engineered products, if it just simply states it on the label.
I believe that the sudden infusion of these ingredients into our food supply and the increasing rates of conditions we are currently seeing, including autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, and celiac disease, which I never even learned about in school, in the 1980s, could be related. I realize correlation is not causation, but correlation should be investigated.And it is impossible to investigate without the liability, accountability, and trace-ability that labeling will afford the citizens of CT.
It’s not just people with food allergies.We are all ingesting these ingredients every day.Babies get them in formula and teething crackers. Children get them in birthday cake with frosting, soda, Halloween candy and school lunches.Adults get them when they eat a salad covered in dressing made with vegetable or canola oil. And the elderly get them when they are prescribed nutritional supplements which are primarily corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets.
This is not a partisan issue; it is a human issue, and it affects every single one of us, including you and me, on a daily basis.
Please support this bill, and thank you for your time.
This testimony was presented on March 5, 2013 to the "kids committee" of the CT Legislature. The bill HB 6527, An act to label genetically engineered baby food, passed out of committee 11-1!
Testimony for the baby food labeling bill, HB 6527
Thank you, Representative Urban, for introducing this bill.
My name is Beth Beisel. I am a registered dietitian, and the mother of 3 children.I graduated from VillanovaUniversity and St. Joseph’s College. I am not a hippy, or a bored housewife.Over the last year, I have significantly decreased my income- producing consulting business to help educate people about the health risks of GMOs for a grassroots campaign called GMO FREE CT. As a health care professional, I have seen the effects of what our changing food supply has done to my clients. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, auto immune disorders – diseases I never learned about in school have reached epidemic proportions. I have friends and relatives who worry, daily, about the mortality of their children with fatal food allergies; these children can’t even sit with their friends at lunch, but instead must be segregated to a peanut free table, or a table for children with food allergies.This was unheard of 15 years ago.
Labels today list peanuts, sodium content, high fructose corn syrup, gluten and trans fat – but NOT genetically modified organisms, WHY?What is even more outrageous, is that even infant formula has GMOs and is unlabeled. PARENTS HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT IS IN THE FOOD THAT THEY FEED THEIR BABIES!
If a woman can’t or won’t nurse her baby, the alternative is formula.Formula is a chemically developed substance made primarily from derivatives of corn and soy. This means that the first food many infants ingest comes from a plant that has its own pesticide number…yes, that’s right. 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 has a pesticide number and is registered with the EPA. This is similar to the number on any chemical pesticide that you would find on the shelf at a hardware store. And it is in Baby Formula. THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE NUTRITION (as it was previously described by the biotech lobbiest) TO ME.
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. The study was published last year in the Journal of Applied Toxicology.
Bacteria resistant to Round up, is also used in the genetic engineering of soy, corn, canola, and sugar beets. This hardwires them to withstand unprecedented saturation with chemicals like Roundup – which contains glyphosate and is geno- toxic.I am happy to provide peer reviewed medical literature which demonstrates that animals exposed to these foods develop smaller livers and brains, as well as infertility and cancerous tumors.The biotechnology industry claims that these foods are safe – but they have never been tested on humans. Your children – and mine – and you and I are the guinea pigs.
Because I DIDN’T KNOW, my babies ingested some of these chemicals and genetically modified foods, and I will have to live with that guilt and concern for the rest of my life.
We can’t depend on the FDA to protect our children’s health or tell us the truth.It is up to you, the CT General Assembly, to inform and protect the people who put you here.Over the last year, I have met many caring legislators with humility, who really do care about the people and their rights. I hope you will support this bill by affirming it, and encouraging House and Senate Leaders and the Governor’s office to support it.
A coalition of 39 states and Canada is watching CT. We can continue to be leaders and heroes or we can give in to corporate threats and interests. I believe CT will do the right thing, and let parents make informed decisions for themselves.
Thank you for opportunity to address this issue and for doing what is right for your constituents.
Here is the speech given by Bill Duesing, Executive Director of the Northern Organic Farmers Association. This brilliant speech reflects the views of so many of those involved in the GMO labeling effort. Thank you Bill!
Thank you for being here today. Thanks to Representatives Phil Miller and Diana Urban for introducing GMO labeling legislation and to Richard Roy for championing this legislation last year.
It is great to be here representing the 800 members of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, CT NOFA, and to be here as part of the GMO Free Connecticut Coalition. It is really moms who care about what they feed their kids, especially moms who have studied nutrition and health, who are the heart of the GMO Free Connecticut Coalition.
CT NOFA members are farmers, gardeners, chefs, land care professionals, consumers, scientists, educators and moms.
GMOs are prohibited from use in organic farming and land care. So it would be easy to say just “buy organic.” We certainly encourage that, but we believe that the current crop of GMOs is so dangerous to the health of people and the health of the environment, that it is important for them to be labeled.
On average, we each eat our body weight in GMOs each year in a very large, uncontrolled experiment with human and environmental health.
The vast majority of GMO crops are designed as sales tools for specific herbicides; the majority of those sales tools for Roundup. Roundup kills most all green plants that haven’t been engineered to resist it, so right off the bat we have a problem, since we depend on green plants for food, air and water.
Although the propaganda from the biotech industry claimed that GMOs would reduce pesticide use, a recent study found that herbicide use increased by over half a billion pounds in the 15 years between the introduction of GMOs in 1996 and 2011.
As a result, these herbicides and their breakdown products have increased presence in our food, our environment and our bodies.
This is not surprising.
The thing about Roundup is that it works by grabbing on to nutritional elements and holds on tight. Plants die because they can’t get the trace elements they need. There is evidence that because of this feature, genetically engineered plants are less nutritious and may even contain dangerous substances.
So GMO food has more pesticides and fewer nutrients.
But it is not just the herbicides and their residues.
Much GMO corn also is registered as a pesticide because it contains a pesticide in every cell.
A publication from the University of Minnesota lists possible problems as
Decreased nutritional value
And antibiotic resistance.
Recent published papers report a hidden viral gene has been found is several GMO lines. Neither industry nor regulators had seen it before.
The writers disclosing this finding close with “The discovery will also strengthen the argument for GMO labeling: if regulators and industry cannot protect the public then why should they not be allowed to protect themselves.
There is a growing and vibrant local and organic food system in Connecticut- small farms, organic farms, urban farms, community farms and gardens, agriculture commissions, farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture farms and more. The great work of all these people is undermined by an industrial food system that hides the truth about the GMOs in our food system.
I encourage the Connecticut General Assembly to enter history by passing legislation to require labels on foods that contain GMOs.
Yesterday, February 7,2013, Representative Phil Miller held a press conference to promote the GMO labeling bill which will be introduced again this session. We had 4 incredible speakers, including Tara Cook Littman, leader of GMO FREE CT (and my GMO crusading soul sister.) Her powerful words are below. Speakers also included Bill Duesing, president of CT NOFA, who's words I will add to this blog in a few days, because they too, were profound, Chris Eddy, executive chef of the 5 star Winvian Restaurant, and Wenonah Hauter, executive Director of Food and Water Watch. Chef Eddy discussed the importance for transparency in food, so that he can provide his customers with the best quality, safe food. He announced that many of his colleagues are also behind this bill. Ms. Hauter discussed her travels all over the country promoting GMO awareness. She said that in every state, they are looking to CT, which is leading the way to passing a labeling bill. She also cautioned legislators about any impending federal bill.
We are proud to announce the growth of the Right To Know GMO CT coalition that is bringing individuals, organizations, farmers, restaurant owners and national organizations together to send a strong message that we will not stop until CT residents have the right to know what is in their food.
I represent the Grass Roots Movement that has been the heart and soul of the CT GMO Labeling movement. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, farmers, chefs, dietitians, and doctors among others, have come together to demand our right to know what is in our food. Such a simple request - the right to know what is in our food so we can choose whether or not to feed our families GMOs. A right the citizens of 62 other countries, including all of Europe, Japan, China, New Zealand, and Australia already enjoy. But not here in America where we are shopping totally blind, worse than that, we are being misled to believing we are buying non GMO products when we see the word natural on a package (show bag of corn chips, which have organic corn and “all natural”, but are fried in canola and soy oil, and how misleading it is. - Example of the desperate need for labeling so consumers can make informed choices.)
We are grateful to Representative Miller, Representative Urban and all of our legislative champions for carrying the torch and building on what Rep Richard Roy started last session. We could not ask for a better support. We are hopeful that the 2013 CT legislature will be brave and put OUR right to know above any corporate interests that try to squash our right to know. No corporation has a right to decide what is best for my three beautiful children. I am their mother and I am responsible for doing what is best for them - please give me the tools to make that choice.
While the jury may still be out as to whether we can say definitively that GMOs are harming us, I have read enough studies that raise serious doubts in my mind as to whether GMOs should be consumed by anyone. And remember, GMOs were NEVER proven safe by our own Government. Before anyone asks us to prove they are dangerous, go ask our own government to prove they are safe and they will not be able to provide you with one government funded long term study proving they are safe.
CT is a member of the Coalition of States for GMO Labeling, a national movement of the grass roots campaigns across this country that is 37 states strong and growing. In CT, we gain momentum and strength every day as more CT residents learn what GMOs are and become angered at how they have been kept in the dark. May 2013 be the year that CT decides to put the rights of its citizens above corporate interests such as their bottom line.
(GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms or, GOD MOVE OVER)
CORN - Approximately 80- 90 % of crops grown in US are GMO.Approximately 75% of the processed foods sold in the US contain at least one ingredient sourced from corn, including High Fructose Corn Syrup, corn meal, maltodextrine, and modified food starch.
SOY -Approximately 75-85% of the crops grown in the US are GMO. Many processed foods contain at least one ingredient sourced from soy. This includes tofu, edamame, soy lecithin, soy protein isolate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, MSG, soy sauce, and tamari.
CANOLA- Mostly grown in “Can”ada, this product is produced from rapeseeds.Canola oil is highly processed oil which must be winterized, deodorized and bleached before it is edible.During this process trans fat is formed, which is not heart healthy. Most canola oil has been genetically modified to resist Round Up application. Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT a healthy oil to choose.
COTTONSEED - Used to make oil that is put into our food… This crop is very heavily pesticided and genetically modified.Found in processed foods, including the manmade lard (trans fat) often called for in piecrust recipes.
SUGARBEETS – Cane sugar is NOT genetically modified…yet.But “sugar” on a label is usually 50%sugarbeets.Don’t buy products containing sugar unless it is specified 100% cane sugar, 100% cane juice, or organic sugar.This is the most misleading GM ingredient, because it is legal to put “sugar” on the label.
ZUCCHINI, CROOK NECK SQUASH , and HAWAIIAN PAPAYA – Always buy organic to be sure.
ALFALFA – used to feed organic animals that we eat.Approved by the USDA for genetic modification in the last year, despite serious concerns raised by the scientific community.
Look for USDA ORGANIC or Non-GMO Project Verified to avoid GMOS.Beth Beisel, R.D. LLC
www.responsibletechnology.orgCan download a shopping guide that lists all ingredients in processed foods that are derived from GMOs and therefore contain GMOs.
1)The Union of Concerned Scientists is a leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.
What began as collaboration between students and faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 is now an alliance of more than 400,000 citizens and scientists. UCS members are people from all walks of life: parents and business people, biologists and physicists, teachers and students. Here is a link to what UCS Scientists have to say about GMOs:
2)GMO Myths and Truths, written by three biotech scientists with many years of experience in the field of genetic engineering.This document addresses a large number of myths about GMOs and the scientific facts to refute those myths.
4)Here is a letter written by 60 scientists who speak out against the smear campaigns and even threats of violence against researchers who have found GMO risks.After all of the signatures, please read the footnotes. This is the most interesting part of this letter, since it describes the ramifications scientists face if they try to study or publish negative information on GMOs.
Meat:Organic meat is expensive.I recommend serving much smaller portions of meat and increasing the vegetables significantly.
“Vegetarian fed” meat means the cows were fed GMO corn, soy, and alfalfa.The healthiest beef is 100% grass fed.It is higher in CLA – conjugated linoleic acid- that may help prevent cancer.
Both Costco and Trader Joes sell 100% grass fed organic ground beef.Whole Foods carries grass fed meat of all kinds, but make sure you ask for 100% grass fed and avoid vegetarian fed.
Poultry:The healthiest poultry is allowed to graze on pasture eating bugs and getting sun.Chicken that is “cooped up” in tiny cages, and fed GM corn and soy should be avoided.
Organic free range chicken is a better choice. It can be purchased at Trader Joes, Costco, Whole Foods, or possibly from a local farmer.
Fish: Buy wild caught fish, not farmed fish. Beware of GMO salmon, recently approved by the FDA, quietly over the 2012 Christmas Holiday vacation.
Eggs:The best eggs come from chickens that are pastured.Local farmers may sell them, but you must ask them if their feed is organic.If it is not organic, the chickens are getting GM corn and soy as their food.Organic, cage free eggs from the store are the next best choice.
Peanut Butter: Luckily, peanuts are not yet GMO.But the oils mixed into peanut butter may be.It is best to buy natural peanut butter to avoid the trans fat that is a component of typical peanut butter. Make sure that the only ingredients are peanuts and salt.
Cheese: Make sure the label states “from cows not injected with bovine growth hormone” (RBST)Also, if the cheese is organic, this means the cows were not given GM feed.Trader Joes has many cheeses to choose from, and all are RBST free.The cheeses from Europe that are not organic are unlikely to be from GM fed animals, but American-made,cheese will most likely come from GM fed animals, unless it is organic.
Fats: Healthy fats include organic butter, (pasture butter is even better), olive oil, (the regulation in this industry is very poor and often olive oil is cut with cheaper oils such as corn, soy or canola, so to be sure use organic olive oil, or purchase from a quality vendor. Many olive oils are now labeled “non- gmo project verified.” See the book, Extra Virginity, by Tom Mueller,for more information.)Other healthy oils include grape seed oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, coconut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil.
A very healthy oil for sautéing called “Mary’s oil Blend” is made by combining 1/3 olive oil, 1/3 coconut oil, and 1/3 sesame oil.It was developed by a lipid chemist named Mary Enig, PhD, an authority on fats and fat metabolism.For great information on fat, google her.If you’re concerned about eating saturated fats, google: “The Oiling of America, by Mary Enig.”
Avoid margarine, vegetable oil, and vegetable shortening.These are all heavily pesticided, genetically modified, processed oils, and often contain trans fat.
Breads:Choose organic whole grain bread.Most whole wheat bread that is not organic contains high fructose corn syrup. Sprouted wheat bread is another excellent choice. Avoid white bleached flour that injures the pancreas, and often contains unnecessary additives that are GMO.Organic cereal is a must to avoid GM corn.
Fruits and Vegetables: Currently the only fruits and vegetables that are genetically modified include some zucchini, Hawaiian papaya, and sugar beets. (When you see “sugar” on a label, assume that 50% of it comes from GMO sugar beets.Insist on 100% cane sugar.)Also, be aware that alfalfa, another food that is fed to cattle, was recently given the green light by the USDA to go GM.
Important things you can do right now for yourselves and future generations:
1)Talk about it to everyone you encounter!
2)Call food companies and ask them if they use GM ingredients. Ask them to stop, and tell them you will not buy their food until they do.
3)Contact your state representatives, as well as the governor.
Healthy (GMO Free) Snack Recipes
By Beth Beisel, R.D. LLC
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 (or make sure it’s 100% cane sugar, preferably unbleached)
1 cup organic brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 organic (pasture fed if possible) eggs
4 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda (non-gmo)
½ tsp. salt
1 bag chocolate chips (Guittard makes GMO free)
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.
(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 melted butter or high oleic, expeller pressed sunflower/safflower oil, coconut oil, or cold pressed peanut oil.
16 oz.canned pumpkin
2 cups 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, like Guittard (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.
¼ cup organic butter
½ cup organic brown sugar
1 organic egg, beaten
1 cup oatmeal or bran, uncooked
4-5 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp GMO free baking powder
½ tspGMO 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.
Healthy GMO Free Snacks
Air popped popcorn with melted organic butter
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 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 fuller for longer, and doesn’t let sugar enter the bloodstream so rapidly.Organic dairy products, like Stoneyfield Farm, are free of gmos antibiotics, growth hormones, and high fructose corn syrup. )
Pretzels, (made with flour water, and salt) with an organic cheese stick
Carrots with organic ranch dressing
Hard boiled egg
Natural peanut butter on apples or bananas
Nuts – preferably dry roasted, rather than roasted in cheap oils like cottonseed, a highly pesticided, genetically modified oil.
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 vanilla
3-4 teaspoons milk
Mix first threeingredients together, slowly add milk, while beating with electric mixer, until desired consistency is obtained.
Note:Both trans fat and high fructose corn syrup 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 run.
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?