Tag Archives | Food

‘Monsanto’s Dream': Pro-GMO DARK Act Comes to Congress

Calling the legislation "diabolical and deceptive," critics of Pompeo's bill have vowed a fight. (Photo: CT Senate Democrats/cc/flickr)

Calling the legislation “diabolical and deceptive,” critics of Pompeo’s bill have vowed a fight. (Photo: CT Senate Democrats/cc/flickr)

This was originally published on Common Dreams.

The battle over genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, reached the U.S. capital on Wednesday when news broke that Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo will reintroduce a bill that blocks states from requiring GMO labeling.

The legislation, dubbed by critics the Deny Americans the Right-to-Know or DARK Act, grants the Secretary of Health and Human Services sole authority to mandate GMO labeling and sets forth particular standards for any label that contains claims that GMOs were or were not used in the production of the food— hampering any attempts by the Food and Drug Administration to pass legislation on the federal level.

Further, the bill preempts any local or state requirement and thus would overturn existing laws in Vermont, Connecticut and Maine, which critics say is a direct attack on state sovereignty.

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Big Food ‘Expands Its Tentacles’ with Heinz-Kraft Deal

After the mega-merger of Kraft and Heinz, grocery stores shelves will be lined by products and brands all owned by the same corporation. (Photo: Mike Mozart/cc/flickr)

After the mega-merger of Kraft and Heinz, grocery stores shelves will be lined by products and brands all owned by the same corporation. (Photo: Mike Mozart/cc/flickr)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. Read more of Lauren’s posts here.

In a consolidation that will birth the fifth largest food company in the world, H.J. Heinz Company announced on Wednesday its plan to purchase Kraft Foods.

The mega-merger, which was engineered by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathway and the Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, brings under one roof products ranging from the ubiquitous Heinz Ketchup and Kraft Mac n’ Cheese to the companies’ other brands including: Oscar Mayer lunch meats, Planters nuts, Bagel Bites, Maxwell House Coffee, Jell-O, Kraft Singles, Ore-Ida potato products, Weight Watchers brand frozen dinners, and Kool-Aid.

The expected annual revenue of Kraft Heinz Co. is expected to be about $28 billion.

The Associated Press reports that the $40 billion buyout reflects pressures facing packaged food makers as consumers are increasingly interested in purchasing less processed food.

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Gates Foundation’s Seed Agenda in Africa ‘Another Form of Colonialism,’ Warns Protesters

Calling out a scheme to privatize Africa's seed resources, protesters in London picketed outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday, March 23, 2015. (Photo: Global Justice Now/cc/flickr)

Calling out a scheme to privatize Africa’s seed resources, protesters in London picketed outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday, March 23, 2015. (Photo: Global Justice Now/cc/flickr)

Originally Published on Common Dreams.

‘This neoliberal agenda of deregulation and privatization poses a serious threat to food sovereignty and the ability of food producers and consumers to define their own food systems and policies,’ says campaigners

Food sovereignty activists are shining a light on a closed-door meeting between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which are meeting in London on Monday with representatives of the biotechnology industry to discuss how to privatize the seed and agricultural markets of Africa.

Early Monday, protesters picketed outside the Gates Foundation’s London offices holding signs that called on the foundation to “free the seeds.” Some demonstrators handed out packets of open-pollinated seeds, which served as symbol of the “alternative to the corporate model promoted by USAID and BMGF.” Others smashed a piñata, which they said represented the “commercial control of seed systems;” thousands of the seeds which filled the pinata spilled across the office steps.

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The Failure of Modern Industrial Agriculture

Matthias Ripp (CC By 2.0)

Matthias Ripp (CC By 2.0)

John Ikerd writes at Dollars & Sense:

Americans are being subjected to an ongoing multimillion-dollar propaganda campaign designed to “increase confidence and trust in today’s agriculture.” Food Dialogues, just one example of this broader trend, is a campaign sponsored by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance—an industry organization whose funders and board members include Monsanto, DuPont, and John Deere. The campaign features the “faces of farming and ranching”—articulate, attractive young farmers, obviously chosen to put the best possible face on the increasingly ugly business of industrial agriculture, which dominates our food- production system.

Genetically engineered crops, inhumane treatment of farm animals, and routine feeding of antibiotics to confined animals—among many other problems—have eroded public trust in American agriculture. In response, the defenders of so-called modern agriculture have employed top public relations firms to try to clean up their tarnished public image. Their campaigns emphasize such issues as water quality, food safety, animal welfare, and “food prices and choices.”

Mounting public concerns in each of these areas are supported by a growing body of scientific evidence.

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Mushroom Medicine: 5 Fungi Capable Of Profound Healing

Luke Sumpter via reset.me:

Fungi are a fascinating life form. They belong neither to the plant nor animal kingdoms, and they actually share more DNA with animals that they do with plants. Adding to their strangeness, the largest organism ever discovered on the planet is a network of mushroom mycelium that weaves across a colossal 2,200 acres underneath Oregon’s ancient Malheur National Forest.

Another standout quality of fungi is that some species are among the most potent natural medicines available. They offer an amazing spectrum of health benefits, from anti-tumor and anti-oxidant qualities, to depression and anxiety relief.

Here is a list describing five of the most potent mushroom medicines known to date:

1. Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)

"Ganoderma lucidum 01" by Eric Steinert - photo taken by Eric Steinert at Paussac, France. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Ganoderma lucidum 01” by Eric Steinert – photo taken by Eric Steinert at Paussac, France. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The reishi mushroom has been used by physicians for thousands of years in China, where it was deemed to be so effective at preventing illness and curing disease that it earned the prestigious title, ‘Mushroom of Immortality.’ It was once reserved exclusively for the healing benefit of the upper echelons of society, as described in aHuffington Post article. Today however, reishi mushrooms are widely available and are one of the most studied natural medicines out there.

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99 Percent Certainty Hormone-Altering Chemicals Cause Serious Health Problems

Avoiding the chemically treated foods produced by agribusiness may be well worth the Whole Paycheck premium, per this report from National Geographic, although the problems are not restricted to foods, spanning all sorts of plastics, flame retardants and even paper receipts:

Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals is likely leading to an increased risk of serious health problems costing at least $175 billion (U.S.) per year in Europe alone, according to a study published Thursday.

Crop spraying - geograph.org.uk - 274618

Chemicals that can mimic or block estrogen or other hormones are commonly found in thousands of products around the world, including plastics, pesticides, furniture, and cosmetics.

The new research estimated health care costs in Europe, where policymakers are debating whether to enact the world’s first regulations targeting endocrine disruptors. The European Union’s controversial strategy, if approved, would have a profound effect on industries and consumer products worldwide.

Linda Birnbaum, the leading environmental health official in the U.S.

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Are processed foods finally on their way out?

kraft_sales_735_350_decline

Christina Sarich via Natural Society:

The public doesn’t trust manufacturers like Kellogg’s and Kraft anymore. Earnings are falling, and dozens of Big Food companies’ stocks are down. One of the biggest food companies in the world, ConAgra, is even slashing its 2015 earnings projections. Is Big Food really over?

ConAgra is changing management – is it because their 2015 earnings projections are way are down and stocks took a plunge recently? The food giant owns brands like Hunts, Swiss Miss, as well as Chef Boyardee, among others. Do people really want to eat cancer-causing chemicals in a can anymore?

Kraft, the maker of Oscar Mayer deli meats, Jell-O, Maxwell House coffee, and Velveeta cheese also recently shook up top management and reported sluggish sales.  Big Food company, Kellogg’s, has seen its sales plunge 5.4 percent over the past year.

Campbell’s Soup CEO has said:

“There’s a mounting distrust of so-called Big Food, the large food companies and legacy brands on which millions of consumers have relied on for so long.”

Do Americans finally realize what Yale medical researchers David Katz and Samuel Meller declared in a paper in 2013, that a “diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”

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How Emulsifiers Are Messing with Our Guts (and Making us Fat)

Common food ingredients like polysorbate 80, lecithin, and carrageenan interfere with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract, reports Elizabeth Grossman at Civil Eats:

Scan the fine print on almost any processed food in the grocery store and you’re likely to find emulsifiers: Ingredients such as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan and other “gums,” all of which keep ingredientsoften oils and fatsfrom separating. They are also used to improve the texture and shelf-life of many foods found in supermarkets, from ice cream and baked goods, to salad dressings, veggie burgers, non-dairy milks, and hamburger patties.

Light Mayo Ingredients

Now, a new study released today in the journal Nature suggests these ingredients may also be contributing to the rising incidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease by interfering with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract, known as “gut microbio.”

This news may surprise consumers, given the fact that emulsifiers are approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and appear in many foods otherwise considered “healthy,” including some in which their presence helps to reduce transfats and gluten, and many labeled organic and non-GMO.

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Inside The Food Industry: The Surprising Truth About What You Eat

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Credit: AlejandroLinaresGarcia (CC)

Think you eat only healthy, unprocessed foods? Think again. The Guardian‘s Joanna Blythman went undercover and discovered that even your fruit salad is not what it seems:

…You might find it all too easy to resist the lure of a turkey drummer, a ready meal, a “fruit” drink or a pappy loaf of standard white bread. You might check labels for E numbers and strange-sounding ingredients, boycotting the most obvious forms of processed food. And yet you will still find it hard to avoid the 6,000 food additives – flavourings, glazing agents, improvers, bleaching agents and more – that are routinely employed behind the scenes of contemporary food manufacture. That upmarket cured ham and salami, that “artisan” sourdough loaf, that “traditional” extra-mature cheddar, those luxurious Belgian chocolates, those speciality coffees and miraculous probiotic drinks, those apparently inoffensive bottles of cooking oil: many have had a more intimate relationship with food manufacturing than we appreciate.

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Nestlé USA to Remove Artificial Flavors and Colors from Chocolate Candy

NesteCandyBarsIt’s good to see that on occasion mega food conglomerates actually pay attention to consumer demand for less toxic products (not that we’re endorsing Nestlé’s processed crap as healthy food – but one assumes it’s marginally better). From Nestlé USA‘s press release:

Nestlé USA announced today its commitment to removing artificial flavors and FDA-certified colors, like Red 40 and Yellow 5, from all of its chocolate candy products. By the end of 2015, more than 250 products and 10 brands including NESTLÉ® BUTTERFINGER®, CRUNCH® and BABY RUTH® will be free of artificial flavors and certified colors. Products will begin appearing on store shelves by mid-2015, and will be identified by a “No Artificial Flavors or Colors” claim featured on-pack.

“Nestlé is the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company and our commitment to remove artificial flavors and certified colors in our chocolate candy brands is an important milestone,” said Doreen Ida, president, Nestlé USA Confections & Snacks.

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