Monday, June 22, 2015

Another response to Jane Brody and her tainted opinion on GMO Labeling

Here is another editorial response to a post by Jane Brody that did not make it into the New York Times.  Leila Baroody, the author, nails it with great references.

At the end of her 6/9/15 Personal Health column entitled Fear, Not Fact, Behind GMO Labeling, I was glad to see Jane Brody finally ask “Are there risks to GMO’s that scientists have yet to discover?”  Ms. Brody needed to add independent science apart from industry-biased science to her data discovery to find there are plenty of already documented genetic engineering risks to humans, animals, soils, waters, whole ecosystems and to genomes as well. GMO technology was prematurely released as a result of political decision making, against FDA scientist warnings asking for further risk assessment.
There is no scientific consensus on GMO safety and that is why consumers need standardized GMO labeling. Or Ms. Brody should have simply asked citizens from “Right to Know” and GMO Labeling Groups from around the country why they are demanding GMO labeling.  Or discussed it with other non-industry scientists away from conflicts such as Dr. Sheldon Krimsky, head of the Council for Responsible Genetics, found here. Or done a literature review here,  and searched other journals to find independent studies which revealed why most of the world’s major economies require GMO labeling.

Recently retired EPA Sr. Scientist, Dr. Ramon Seidler, has publicly spoken out against genetically modified foods and increasing use of pesticides with GM crops. “From the risk assessment, economic, and legal perspectives there are many issues. There is a mixture of unfilled promises, concerns over litigation resulting from cross pollination and seed commingling events, and a disappointment that crop management practices have had significant negative impacts upon environmental bio safety.All of these side effects are happening despite no yield or production advantages of GE crops over traditional crops. There are also major concerns over whether the increased use of pesticides on our food crops have impacts upon the human population.” Full article

Leila Baroody


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Response to NYT Post by Jane Brody

Since my letter to the editor did not make it into the NYT, not surprising, I decided to share it here!

Jane Brody’s book was the first book I read on nutrition, and it was what incentivized me to go into dietetics in 1984. 

Needless to say I was very disappointed when Brody’s recent column, “Fear, Not Facts behind GMO Labeling,” (6/9/15) was called to my attention.  As a practicing dietitian for almost 30 years observing patient responses from dietary adjustments, it is my opinion that genetically engineered foods and the pesticides that accompany more than 90% of such foods are a very risky business, especially when consumed by children with developing immune systems.

Current World Health Organization’s (WHO) findings have generated even more controversy over FDA’s declaration of GMO foods’ GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) classification.  (In May, the WHO classified glyphosate as a "probable carcinogen" in humans and carcinogenic to animals.) Further, the vast majority of GMO food produced in the US is used for animal feed and biofuel, in addition to highly processed food ingredients embedded in our food supply, many of which contribute to our nation’s obesity epidemic. 

The proposed USDA’s “voluntary certification program” will not give consumers the confidence or transparency they need to make informed decisions, especially in light of budgetary cutbacks and existing underfunded inspection programs. Plus, we already have the Non-GMO Project Verified program that is independently 3rd party verified. However this program only covers foods from companies which have applied for such certification.   And, most important, our USDA’s organic seal is the best choice for consumers who want to avoid GMO ingredients. 
 Requiring mandatory national GMO labeling such as in  the CT labeling law : “this product may contain ingredients  produced with Genetic Engineering";  is a much more forthcoming way to share critical information that  Americans need to make informed decisions for their families.

If the public truly has a “poor understanding of the science behind GMOs,” let legitimately sourced science prove food safety, through long term, peer-reviewed, and most importantly, independent studies. Long term studies have not been done in the US.  Most studies that show safety are done by the manufacturers or affiliated parties and have conflicts of interest. Over 300 independent scientists and scholars have declared that scientific consensus does not exist on GMO safety  ( )

Most US citizens have no idea that the FDA doesn’t conduct food safety studies; FDA has outsourced this extremely important safety function to food and biotech interests. Additionally, FDA lacks resources to conduct vital food safety or continuing verification inspections. 

Lastly, the golden rice and GMO salmon technologies have been fraught with failures and problems. In golden rice, peer-reviewed studies are lacking to confirm the absorption of beta carotene or its conversion to vitamin A.  Regarding GMO salmon, in the absence of a GMO animal regulatory structure at the time of application to FDA, the salmon was regulated as a “New Animal Drug Application.” Continued dosing of antibiotics was apparently needed to maintain animal health and weight until of sufficient marketable growth for human consumption.

Traditionally bred foods are not tested, because they are bred naturally and have been shepherded over generations; they have naturally evolved with the environment over time.  .
What consumers don’t understand is that most GMO crops have been genetically engineered to survive spraying with herbicides, and have created an explosion of herbicide resistant weeds, treated with yet more herbicides, which end up in our food, water and bodies.  

We have witnessed increasing rates of auto-immune diseases, allergies, cancers, and autism in the US, since GE foods have entered the food supply.  While association can’t prove causality, we have to question how genetically engineered crops, and their associated herbicides have contributed to our health problems. Introducing unnatural gene traits into our food and bodies adds multi dimensional safety risks, including increased potential for allergic reaction.  The insertion of antibiotic markers, required to identify which gene traits take hold in the novel GMO foods, increases our vulnerability to antibiotic resistance.

In her column, Brody stated, “A legitimate safety concern involves delayed deleterious effects of genetically modified products on consumers…”   and suggests “continued monitoring of their effects is essential…”  Yet how can we monitor without labeling and tracking?  Clearly, mandatory GMO labeling is necessary to properly assess adverse reactions.

Thanks to Leila Baroody for helping me write this and fellow dietitian warriors for their support and edits: M.H., J.S., C.M., and J.L.  I am so fortunate to know you all, and the world is lucky to have us defending it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lentil soup kicked up a nutritional notch with Liquid Hope

There was not much to choose from in the refrigerator or pantry for tonight's dinner.  But the last thing I felt like doing after a long work day was to get back in the car and go to the grocery store.

 Since I had some organic sausage in the freezer, I decided to make some lentil soup, I LOVE the combination of lentils and sausage or kielbasa!   With only carrots and onions as available veggies, the taste was a little boring.  That's when I remembered that I had a sample bag of Liquid Hope in the pantry. (Liquid Hope is a tube feeding formula made with REAL FOOD, that is organic and filled with good nutrients, like garbanzo beans, peas, carrots, quinoa, brown rice, broccoli, almond butter, kale, garlic, tumeric, and ginger.) It is  plant based, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, corn free, non-GMO and packaged in a BPA free pouch - See more at: 

It was delicious.  Most people won't have Liquid Hope in their pantry, but I hope this will encourage readers to be creative.  Lots of us will have things like almonds or almond butter (pureed almonds) and a can of garbanzo beans in the pantry - why not add them to soup? Turmeric is a  super-spice that acts and an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antioxidant, pain reliever, improves brain function, and may help prevent heart disease and cancer.  Source

Soup is such an economical way to nourish your family! I hope you enjoy your own variation of this recipe. Have fun!!!
                                                                   Lentil Soup

2 cups sprouted organic lentils. (sprouting enhances nutrient uptake and organic lentils are a must since conventional lentils are sprayed with a cancer -causing herbicide to dry them out just before harvesting!)
6 cups filtered water
1 package organic sausage or kielbasa, cut into small bite-sized pieces
4 carrots,  cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 pouch of Liquid Hope
salt, pepper, and spices from the garden (basil, thyme, rosemary)

Boil lentils in water.  In a separate pan, cook sausage and onions together, slowly, until the onions are sweet. Add to the lentil mixture. Add carrots and Liquid Hope and let simmer - the longer the better. Season with salt, pepper, and spices.