Emily’s Expo Recap

Hey everyone! Its Emily again! We just got back from Expo West in California and apart from the great weather; it was one of the best learning experiences of my life.  I was able to walk around the show floor discovering new and exciting products in various categories that are natural, organic, and sustainable and I attended educational sessions about the various issues that arise in the industry.

One of the sessions was all about the upcoming initiatives to label GMO food. Genetically Modified Organisms or Genetically Engineered (GMO/GE) in our food supply allow for greater pesticide use on produce that ends up in our foods. In the US, 80% of conventional processed food contains GMO ingredients. The crops that are most produced using genetically engineered (GE) seeds are corn, soy, alfalfa, canola, cotton, and sugar beets. A great reference to find out more about GMOs and the contamination in our food supply is the Non-GMO Project http://www.nongmoproject.org/.

The issue surrounding GMO crops is that the modified seeds allow for amplified pesticide use by eliminating weeds and other pests without killing the food plant. These pesticides not only contaminate our water supply and/or the air we breathe, but also the food we eat. They enter our bodies and increase the toxic burden and can ultimately lead to several health issues including breast cancer. Some pesticides and herbicides have been labeled as human or animal carcinogens. Others are endocrine disruptors and can stimulate growth of breast cancer cells. For example, atrazine is a popular herbicide that has been banned in the European Union because it is a known endocrine disrupter.

Two labeling initiatives explained during the education session included “Just Label It” and “Right to Know”. “Right to Know” is a California ballot initiative to require manufacturers to label GE/GMO food. “Just Label It” is a petition to get the FDA to mandate labeling of GE/GMO food. These initiatives are responding in part, to the increase in consumer demand to know what is actually in the food they are eating. Ninety-two percent of Americans want the FDA to label GE/GMO food. If you are interested in taking part in labeling initiatives, check out http://justlabelit.org/ and sign the petition or just  learn more!


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