Wednesday, June 26, 2013

WE. DID. IT. !!!!!


Dear Family and Friends,

I haven’t written because I wanted it to be completely official – and today that happened.  Governor Malloy signed the first GMO labeling bill in the country! 

3 weeks ago, on June third, a much worked over bill passed through the Senate (unanimously) and then the House, (134-3) and we were informed that the Governor would sign it.  Since then there have been two press conferences announcing passage of the bill: one with the Governor and one with US Senator Richard Blumenthal.

As it stands, the law will not be effective until 4 other states pass a similar law, one state must be bordering CT, and there must be an aggregate population of 20 million in the Northeast, which includes New England,  NY, PA, and NJ. Because we have been working closely with other states, we know this will happen; most likely within the next 12-18 months.

Even more important however, is that our country is so much more informed than it was even last year!   We have come so far in taking back our food!

Thank you very much for reading these emails, signing petitions, making phone calls, sharing information with others, and especially your kind words of encouragement and support!  In early June, Governor Malloy and Speaker Sharkey received 44,000 calls over a 2-3 day period.  They had to listen to their constituents, and they did!  Every one of you had something to do with this victory.  THANK YOU!!!

With love and gratitude,


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What went on, behind the scenes:

We have been sitting on pins and needles for over a week now.  Our GMO labeling bills HB 6527 and HB 6519 were sitting under Speaker Sharkey's back pockets, going nowhere, despite our concessions and despite unprecedented support from Democrats and Republicans alike! Speaker Sharkey would not call the bill for a vote in the House. SO, our latest heros, President of the Senate Don Williams and  Senate Minority Leader John McKinney decided to create their own bill - SB 802.  It was announced at our rally, at the State Capitol, in front of close to 500 people who were there to support GMO labeling.

That same day, we watched the Senate debate the bill for over 2 hours, take a break ("PT" it,) and then  around 10:30 pm, VOTE IN FAVOR OF AN EFFECTIVE, FAIR, AND PROMISING BILL.....35-1! (The answer to your question is Senator Kane from Waterbury.)

A few nights later, around 11 pm, while on the phone with colleagues, and simultaneously watching CT-N, an original house bill (HB 6527 - nicknamed the baby bill,) was called for a vote.  We were shocked at how it was amended - knowing full well it was filled with loopholes that would make it very difficult to ever see a  "genetically engineered" label on a package.

While on a conference call with members of the GMO FREE CT Team, we were simultaneously on other lines with our legislators begging them not to vote yes for the bill.  Most of those Representatives had been working for three nights in a row.  They were tired, many didn't even have an explanation of the amendments, and were told by the Speaker that they couldn't go home until they voted on the bill.  What representative would want to be on the record for voting against a GMO labeling bill?!?  And so, they passed it.  But it's not over yet.  It has to go back to the Senate for a vote - or maybe it won't, maybe it will just die, as it should. There is a better bill that can come from the Senate and get passed by the House!

We have a week left, we have some very angry Senators and Representatives, who have had time to digest what happened and what that sham of a bill really meant,  and we have the passion of the people who want nothing but the truth on our food labels and from our leaders who we voted for and put our trust in.

This is critical; it's not over yet!  We have a week to get our right to know what's in our food. Please Please Please call or write to Governor Malloy and Speaker Sharkey and ask them to take care of the people of Connecticut, and not their special interests.  We can do this - together! Please see the letter below for more information.  Prayers will help too!  God has to be tired of "moving over" for the evil biotech industry.
GMO Free CT Logo

Hello to all our fellow GMO labeling warriors. 

Last week was certainly filled with its share of highs and lows.  To go from an almost unanimous vote in the Senate on a very strong GMO labeling bill, to the vote in the House on a toothless bill, was not easy for anyone.   We want to take this moment to fill you once again with hope and determination. We will not be defeated.  We will not stop fighting until we have a right to know what is in our food.

Today we are asking that you help us send a strong message to Governor Malloy and Speaker of the House, Brendan Sharkey, that they did not silence us by passing a deeply flawed bill with a trigger clause that is meant as a roadblock.  We have spent two years trying to reach a compromise with Governor Malloy and negotiated with his office in good faith.   He has now shown us his true colors.  Last Thursday, before any of the members of the House had a chance to read the Amendments to the GMO labeling bill provided by Governor Malloy’s office, Speaker Sharkey called the bill for a vote in the middle of the night when they thought no one was watching, and it passed.  But, we were watching!

Malloy and Sharkey thought we would go away after the passage of any GMO labeling bill.  They underestimated us, we will not go away until we have the right GMO labeling bill.  We are calling upon you today to let your voice be heard louder than ever before.  There is still hope, there are seven days left of the legislative session.  We will fight to the end.

Please call, write, tweet, and facebook Governor Malloy and Speaker Sharkey.  Please be respectful and polite in your communications, but do not be afraid to be firm. 

Governor Malloy
Call Governor Malloy today at (860) 566-4840 and state the following:
“Your amendments to the GMO labeling bill are unacceptable.  We ask that you please act to protect the interests of the citizens of CT, who elected you to office, rather than the outside influence of corporations who want to keep us in the dark about what we are eating.  We hope that when a legitimate GMO labeling bill lands on your desk, you will do the right thing and sign it into law.”

To e-mail Governor Malloy CLICK HERE.

Please write on Governor Malloy’s facebook page by clicking HERE.

Click to tweet Governor Malloy:
@GovMalloyOffice The amendments to the GMO Labeling bill are unacceptable. Give #CT citizens a transparent #RighttoKnow #LabelGMOs

@GovMalloyOffice The GMO labeling bill the House passed is toothless. Give #CT citizens transparency in labels, not roadblocks. #LabelGMOs

Speaker of the House, Brendan Sharkey
Call Speaker Sharkey today at 860-240-8500 and state the following: “The amendments to the GMO labeling bill provided to you by Governor Malloy are unacceptable.   You are not listening to your constituents.  The citizens of Connecticut want GMO labeling that will give us transparency, choice, and our right to know.”

Please e-mail Brendan Sharkey at

Please write on Brendan Sharkey’s Facebook page

Click to Tweet Brendan Sharkey:
@SharkBits88 There's no bite to the GMO labeling bill you passed. #LabelGMOs #RighttoKnowGMO

@SharkBits88 The amendments to the GMO Labeling bill are unacceptable. Give #CT citizens a transparent #RighttoKnow #LabelGMOs

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Testifying in favor of HB 6519 - An act to label Genetically Engineered Foods.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Testimony supporting HB 6519, An act to label genetically engineered foods

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. LLC    3/15/2013

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.

Testimony in support of the GMO Labeling Bill for GMO Baby Food and Formula

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 Villanova University 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.

Monday, March 4, 2013

GMOs - Red Light items to throw away or take back to the store!

So, now that you know, what’s the first thing you should do:

To help you get started avoiding GMOs, go home and throw away the following *red light* GMO items:

*Pancake syrup (high fructose corn syrup in a bottle)
*Canned frosting
*Vegetable Oil
*Canola oil
*Salad dressing
Processed sweets – cookies, cakes, candy
Typical Peanut butter
Anything made from corn
Anything made from soy

Then, go to the store and replace with:

Real Maple Syrup
Organic Confectionary sugar and organic butter to make your own frosting
Pure Olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, safflower/sunflower/peanut/sesame/oil
Homemade salad dressing (eg: olive oil, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup)
Seltzer water mixed with juice
Homemade sweets or organic
100% cane sugar, organic sugar, sugar in the raw
Organic cereal
100% Peanut Butter – peanut oil settles on top, stir it in.

Look for “Non GMO Project Verified” or Organic products.

Beth Beisel, R.D. LLC
Consulting Nutritionist
GMO FREE CT (Links and

Medical Disclaimer: Information provided in this email is for informational purposes only. The information is a result of years of practice and experience by Beth Beisel, R.D. LLC. However, this information is NOT intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product.

Do not use the information provided in this email for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this email.

Information provided in this email and the use of any products or services related to this email by you does not create a dietitian-patient relationship between you and Beth Beisel,R.D., LLC. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Speech at press conference by NOFA's Executive Director, Bill Duesing

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!

Good Morning

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
Increased toxicity
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.

Thank you.

Bill Duesing
Executive Director

Friday, February 8, 2013

Press Conference on GMO Labeling Bill

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.      

Monday, January 28, 2013

GMO FREE CT Links, information, and recipes:


Current GMO CROPS in the USA
(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  Can 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. 

3)  Seralini study, which is the first long term study to ever be conducted on GM foods. Despite its controversy, many scientists contend that it must be taken seriously.

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.

A Letter to the CT Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Elizabeth Beisel R.D. LLC
GMO Free CT/Right to Know CT

November 24, 2013

Dear Donna, and Members of the CT Academy,

Thank you so much for your response and for your interest in learning more about genetically engineered foods.

First, I want to stress that our primary goal right now is to get a labeling law in CT, so that consumers can make informed decisions. We will be very grateful for any and all CT  RDs and DTRs to support this labeling law, as The Academy did last year. Members may not consider GMOs a threat, may be ambivalent about their infiltration into our food supply, or may be outraged and frightened by their presence. But no nutrition professional should disagree that they should be labeled, so that consumers -our clients- can make their own informed choices about what they put into their bodies!

 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, even though they did not meet any of the criteria which are specified for products to meet GRAS status. Below is testimony from Steven M. Druker, J.D., the attorney who sued the FDA for sealed documents from internal FDA scientists who were concerned about the dangers of GMOs.
Not only does FDA policy violate sound science, it violates the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. In the food additive amendment to this statute, Congress instituted the precautionary principle and definitively decreed that no new substance shall be added to our food unless that substance has been demonstrated to be safe through standard scientific testing. 
While the FDA agrees that the foreign genes that get inserted into a plant, along with the substances they produce, are in principle food additives, it maintains they are exempt from regulation because they fall under the exception for substances that are "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS). It argues they are sufficiently similar to substances that are GRAS to support an inference that they are likewise safe. However, as already noted, FDA records indicate that because such manipulations can induce unpredictable side effects, they are not even recognized as safe among the agency's own scientists let alone by a consensus in the scientific community. 
Second, the law is explicit that any recognition of safety must be based on "scientific procedures," and both the FDA and the courts have heretofore consistently interpreted "scientific procedures" as referring to studies published in peer-reviewed literature. 21 CFR Sec. 170.3(h). 
Further, the FDA's own regulations emphasize that the tests supporting a general recognition of safety "...require the same quantity and quality of scientific evidence as is required to obtain approval of the substance as a food additive." 21 CFR Sec. 170.30(b). This means, in the FDA's words, that the tests must demonstrate "a reasonable certainty... that the substance is not harmful under its intended conditions of use." 21 CFR Sec. 170.3(i). Yet, neither the FDA's records nor the scientific literature indicate that such a test exists for even one genetically engineered food.
In fact, the main study that attempted to demonstrate the safety of a bioengineered food through standard toxicological testing failed to do so. That food was Calgene's "Flavr Savr" tomato, the first genetically engineered organism the FDA reviewed. In his comments on the study, Dr. Robert J. Scheuplein, director of the FDA's Office of Special Research Skills, stated it raised a safety issue that was not resolved. He wrote: "... the data fall short of 'a demonstration of safety' or of a 'demonstration of reasonable certainty of no harm' which is the standard we typically apply to food additives. To do that we would need, in my opinion, a study that resolves the safety question raised by the current data." Yet, the agency approved that product anyway on the grounds it was generally recognized as safe -- even though the law requires such recognition be based on precisely the kind of test that had failed to demonstrate safety. Interestingly, FDA officials claim that the Flavr Savr passed muster so well that the rigor of its testing will not have to be repeated for other bioengineered foods. 
So, although the "generally recognized as safe" exemption was intended to permit marketing of substances whose safety has already been demonstrated through sound testing, the FDA is now using it to circumvent testing and to approve substances based on inferences drawn from less rigorous forms of analysis -- inferences that are dubious in the eyes of many of its own as well as numerous other experts. … There is more than enough evidence to convince a reasonable man or woman that current FDA policy is unscientific, irresponsible, and illegal. If bioengineered foods once again kill and cripple, those in the private and public sectors who have consistently made statements calculated to cloud the facts and confuse the public will be morally and legally accountable.       
To summarize this, GMOs did not meet ANY of the criteria established by our government, to be Generally Recognized As Safe – and yet, they were illegally given GRAS status anyway, despite warnings from FDA’s internal scientists and inadequate safety testing.

Since GM foods were infiltrated into our food supply, we have seen:
An 800% increase in autism (since 2000)
An 8000% increase in birth defects, (due to excessive use of Roundup)
A 40% increase in Crohn’s disease (since 1992)
A 30% DROP in fertility rates (in the last three years)

An increased incidence in inflammatory bowel disease directly correlates with the advent of GMOs and the excessive use of glyphosate (Roundup.)

(The above information was recently stated by Dr. Don Huber, Professor Emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University. He has spent the last 55 years researching how to improve nutrition and safety of food crops.)

When I graduated from St. Joseph College in 1986, I don’t believe “Celiac Disease” had ever been mentioned!  Today, there is not a dietitian among us who doesn’t know at least one person who suffers from this debilitating disease.

I commend the CT Academy for wanting more science based evidence.  Unfortunately, until recently, there has been very little.  Most was conducted by the very company that genetically engineers the food, and makes the Round up that the food is resistant to, (the same corporation that brought us PCBs, DDT, and Agent Orange –and told us those products were safe.)

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:

and more recently:
Additionally, I recommend that you download and review the Document 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. 

And finally, I refer you to the Seralini study, which is the first long term study to ever be conducted on GM foods. Despite its controversy, many scientists contend that it must be taken seriously.

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.

Like you, I wonder if there may be some future benefits of genetically engineered foods. Unfortunately, as previously stated, the current crops were pushed into the food supply before it was proven that they were safe... in the interest of corporate greed and with no regard for the safety of the human race or our environment.

Transgenically modifying something by forcing genes from an unrelated species into its DNA can cause many unpredictable and unexpected consequences and side effects, (collateral damage.)  This is why we are concerned with something as “harmless as making apples that don’t turn brown.” Although that procedure is cisgenic and not transgenic, it may be equally as dangerous.  IT IS THE COLLATERAL DAMAGE, (SIDE EFFECTS) THAT IS THE BIGGEST CONCERN!

Is there a safe GMO? Possibly, if it is one that has been independently tested on a long term basis and peer reviewed. Currently, nothing falls into that category.
Donna, although the tomato topic was addressed above in Steve Druker’s testimony, I have included more information below, since you asked about tomatoes in your email. I hope this is helpful.
The very first crop submitted to the FDA's voluntary consultation process, the FlavrSavr tomato, showed evidence of toxins. Out of 20 female rats fed the GM tomato, 7 developed stomach lesions.[4] The director of FDA's Office of Special Research Skills wrote that the tomatoes did not demonstrate a "reasonable certainty of no harm,"[5] which is their normal standard of safety. The Additives Evaluation Branch agreed that "unresolved questions still remain."[6] The political appointees however, did not require that the tomato be withdrawn.[*]
Calgene had submitted data on two lines of GM tomatoes, both using the same inserted gene. They voluntarily elected to market only the variety that was not associated with the lesions. This was not required by the FDA, which did not block approvals on the lesion-associated variety. The FlavrSavr tomato has since been taken off the market. After the FlavrSavr, no other biotech company has submitted such detailed data to the FDA, and the superficial summaries they do present to the agency are dismissed by critics as woefully inadequate to judge safety.
 I hope this answers some of the questions you and The Academy have about GMOs, and provides the “science based” information they are looking for.  I hope The Academy will once again support labeling.  This will allow us to do our jobs more easily.  This will allow the public to be informed, as they should have been from the beginning. 

Once again, I thank The Academy for their support last year, and hope they will continue to support CT’s Right to Know this year.

With warm regards,

Beth Beisel, R.D. LLC

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Letter writing/phoning campaign ready to start!

We have received word from Representative Phil Miller, the representative championing the GMO labeling bill, that it is time to start writing letters and calling our legislators to ask for support of GMO labeling.  Personally, I believe hard copies/hand written notes, make the strongest statement, but emails personally written (vs click and send) are very effective as well. A simple sentence like "Please support my right to know by supporting the GMO labeling bills" will suffice. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR PART IN HELPING TO GET FOODS CONTAINING GENETICALLY ENGINEERED INGREDIENTS LABELED!

How to help pass GMO labeling legislation:

 Some of the ways you can get involved immediately are as follows:  (1) Call and e-mail your state representatives and senators and tell them to support GMO Labeling Legislation,  to locate your legislators go to this site:,
Also, please contact the governor’s office and ask for his support of GMO labeling. The contact information is Governor’s office: 860-566-4840, or 1-800-406-1527. And finally, it is imperative to contact House speaker, Brendan Sharkey.  The bill's fate will eventually rest in his hands.  His numbers are 1-800-842-1902 and 860-240-8500.  We don't have  bill numbers yet, but simply say, "Please ask the governor/speaker to support my right to know if GMOs are in my food, by supporting the labeling bills." (There will be 2 bills this year! One will require labeling of genetically engineered ingredients in baby formula and baby food, and the other will require labeling of foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.)

 (2) Educate all your friends and neighbors about GMOs and inspire them to contact their legislators,  the speaker of the house, and the governor. (3) Host screenings of the documentary film by Jeffrey Smith, "Genetic Roulette" in your local library, religious institution, or other organization, (4) Ask your local stores, restaurants, yoga studios, religious institutions, farms, and anywhere else you frequent to stand with us and support our right to know (we will have endorsement letter they can sign as soon as we have bill number), (5) attend a local GMO Free CT meeting to unite with other likeminded individuals, and (6) Please like us at GMO Free CT on Facebook and visit our website at
  GMO Free CT leaders are available to help you host screenings or meetings.