This picture is from http://gmo-freephoenix.com/
Okay, I want to preface this with the fact that I think the idea of labeling to educate the masses is wonderful.
My question, is it logical? There always seem to be loop holes (like in organic...no requirement for testing of GMO's...or the use of any chicken manure from any farm even industrial on organic farms). Loop holes like this are never going to be on labels. People aren't going to know that GMO's aren't tested for until they start talking to feed companies, organic farmers (and you have to hit the right topic), seed companies or other knowledgeable individuals. The Non-GMO Project actually covers this in their second FAQ question for verification (see below, emphasis in answer added).
"Why should I enroll if my products are already USDA certified organic?
While the National Organic Program (NOP) identifies genetic modification as an excluded method, GMOs are not a prohibited substance. This means that although GMO seeds are not supposed to be planted, and GMO ingredients are not supposed to be used, no testing is required. These rules were established at a time when GMOs were in limited production, and accidental contamination was not a significant risk. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. With the majority of key crops like soy and corn being planted with GM varieties in North America, contamination of seeds, ingredients, and products is a real risk, even for certified organic products. The good news is that the NOP has excellent guidelines for traceability and segregation, and the Non-GMO Project is designed to honor the work that certified organic companies are already doing, with the added measure of testing risk ingredients at critical control points. Many founding members of the Non-GMO Project are the leaders of organic companies. These pioneers understand that protecting the long-term integrity of organic products, starting at the seed level, requires that they be protected from GMO contamination, which can only be done with testing."
Now if our organic farmers aren't taking it upon themselves to test (it is expensive, time consuming and frankly, do you want to know that your crop that is down the road from Joe Blow the GMO Farmer is contaminated and result in premium grain prices because...well it's GMO) but are also claiming their product is GMO-free, that seems to be a breakdown in communication, knowledge or something? If labeling were to take place, would Organic farmers be required to test before labeling that their product contained no GMO ingredients or would the status quo continue? No testing and the assumption because they are buying organic seeds or saving organic seeds that their crops are uncontaminated because, it's organic. If we lived in a vacuum I may concede, but since we live on planet earth and have wind, water and transportation to move contamination from hither to dale (and might I add, corn is in the grass family, many of us have probably seen grass pollen in the wind) how can we base this assumption in reality. Most of us that took basic Biology in high school, or earth science for that matter, have a basic understanding of pollination. And I am pretty certain, although I haven't checked definitively, that the GMO farmers aren't out hand pollinating their huge mono-crop plantations.
I suspect there might be other short comings to the labeling as there are to any system and yes, it would be nice but, would it fix the problem? I have talked to several Vitamin C producers (Ascorbic Acid) which is derived from corn (and often China corn) and they say that their product is GMO free because the corn has been essentially processed out of it. Perhaps, but the protein of that product is different and I suspect there are some "anomalies" that haven't been factored in. Would they have to label their product as being produced on GMO corn if it is that processed?
How would this affect the feed industry. Will it have to be labeled? Or will organic keep on keeping on under the guise that it's organic so it's GMO free? Will conventional feed be assumed to be GMO? Would there be a percentage? If most of the grains in the feed are non-GMO grains, but a small portion of the grains are GMO, would it there be a rating like "100% GMO Free" vs. just "GMO Free" like there is in the Organic industry...let admit it, that's confusing. And there is something in the organic industry where they can still label themselves as organic if 95% of their product is organic and the other 5% is on the "National List." I'm sorry, what's the "National List?" On the USDA's National Organic Program site for Organic Labeling there is no link to what the "National List" is. Also this excludes salt and water. So you will take a side of fluoridated, chlorinated water with your organic chicken and some Morton's salt too while you are at it (which contains anti-caking agent derived from...you guessed it, corn). If you are getting confused, you aren't the only one.
Now lets jump to produce in the produce isle. Label my produce darn it! But, I want a sticker that says "Organic," "Conventional" OR "GMO." Do you think our 75 year old grandparents are going to be reading those little stickers with the digits that tell you if it's organic, conventional or gmo? Probably not most of them. How about the average Joe that has no idea this is even happening? I'm going to guess not. Did you know there are already produce sticker standards for GMO and companies just aren't using them. That's right. And for all of you new to the stickers (and trust me you aren't alone, I just learned this myself in the last 6 months regarding GMO's) a sticker that is only 4 digits and starts with a 4 is conventional (no telling if it GMO or not because GMO's aren't required to label), a sticker that's 5 digits starting with a 8 is GMO (let me know if you have ever seen one of these), and a 5 digit number starting with a 9 is organic (organic banana is 94011 for example). Are you going to remember that? I can remember the organic in the store but that's because I've trained myself. And 8 and 9 are kinda close...if I am having a brain fart day it may be all over and I may walk out of the store with GMO corn and not organic corn... if they labeled.
My head is spinning. So is more labeling really a good thing. Well heck yeah if they are going to flat out write on the products (fruits, vegetables, grain's, etc.) that they are GMO (with no middle ground because the GMO product will have contaminated the rest of the product) or GMO-free. I don't want any of this 5% hanky-panky... But also, how much do you want to pay to fight the huge corporations with billions of dollars so that you can buy non-GMO twinkies. And lastly, is it even possible to get non-GMO products anymore (the answer here is yes but oh what it would do to the grain markets if you think that certified organic is bad...supply and demand baby and I'd be willing to bet that the supply would be FAR LESS then the demand). It's like trying to undo opening Pandora's Box, or take back biting the apple in Eden...is it possible?
Ultimately, is it our responsibility as the end consumer to educate ourselves or do we need someone else to take care of us? Those stickers would cause a lot more people to wake up a lot quicker...maybe. But would they take the responsibility to make changes or would they think it was simply too hard, they didn't have time, etc? I do my darndest every day to vote with my dollars. Reason being? Well I'm pretty sure hitting someone's pocket is the only way to get them to listen. Sure, we want to hope that all people are wonderful, caring, responsible people. But at the end of the day, money talks and there are a lot of people that listen with reckless abandon to the end result because the initial benefit is a fat wallet. Eventually it all comes full circle I suppose and it would be a ton easier to just have someone label it for me, but even then...would I really want to put my faith in standards that may or may not be up to mine? Chicken feces from conventional farms being spread on organic farm fields because there is no standard...for example.
Thanks for reading my rant. This is something that has me a bit tied up in the head right now!
Well luckily it's not actually the house. Our water jet pump decided to die yesterday (or at least we think it died). So we have been out of water since yesterday around this time. Fun stuff... Thank goodness for lots of snow and our Berkey. I can't sing the praises of our Berkey enough! I actually took a truck in my snowshoes with a toddler on my back in the Ergo down to the brook with a couple pails. Well, the combination of snow shoes, a toddler, pregnancy and water wasn't the best mix and I think I brought a total of 5 gallons of water back to the house in about a half hour or so... So anyway, hopefully hubby will have the water pump situated tonight. then we just have the problem of cisterns that are absolutely foul... And I mean FOUL! Disgusting. Not covered. Bug and dust and possibly mouse poo in them. So gross...Again, thank goodness for the Berkey! So needless to say, we have pails of water sitting by our toilets and I have a pot sitting on top of the wood stove with snow melting in it.
Other then that it's been another research day. I just found out that Vermont is still pushing to get GMO's labeled even after Monsanto threatened to sue the entire state (but they don't care if they are labeled...they supported labeling in Europe). My guess is the memory of the rBGH in milk and the fiasco that followed is still fresh in their minds... ie, they will loose a lot of money and lots of it. But, based on my seed catalog from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (a company that has been testing for GM and refusing to sell it for the past 8 years - big kudos!) they were only able to find 8 strains of sweet corn (and popcorn corn) not contaminated. My feed company has had similar luck with a feed corn source but I can't remember the name now.
On another note, if anyone has either a copy of "Seeds of Deception" or "Genetic Roulette" by Jeffry M. Smith I would love to borrow it from you. I probably will want to add it to my resource library but it's not in the budget right now. SO, if I could borrow, that would be awesome!
Well it's a new year with new adventures on the horizon. I'm not going to lie, I'm real darn proud of myself for getting this website up and running...finally. It took a while to settle on a farm name. We had to marinate for a while on this name and hubby wouldn't let it go so it ended up sticking. So here we are in all our Lucky Pluck goodness.
Well, with over 2 feet of snow in the last couple weeks that's now deciding to melt because we are also seeing sun for the first time in a few weeks hubby and little man are out on the back step chipping ice. Our jet pump is running non stop and we are crossing our fingers it doesn't need to be replaced and the check engine light in our '04 Suburban keeps coming on and shutting off. Right before the holiday's our shower nozzle broke and our drier element decided to stop doing it's job. Our house was built in the 1870's so I'm grateful it's small things. Anyone know anything about Chevy's?
Currently we are trying to figure out where we can find milk Kefir grains. It's been a hunt. I have been looking locally because I want to culture coconut milk until my wonderful neighbor The North Woods Goat had a doe that freshens and she has a spare quart of soy free, corn free goat milk for us to partake in weekly. Super excited about that! For those that don't know, it's best to use kefir grains that have been cultured in milk to ferment kefir. If I were to purchase from Cultures for Health I would have to hydrate them in milk (which we don't consume) and that would add more time to me getting kefir. The coconut yogurt this morning seemed to help though! I've had an itching for fermented dairy as has little man.
Other things on our mind are our garden, livestock for the spring and fencing. Oh the fencing. Our logger will be pulling cedar out of the woods here soon so we should have plenty of posts. Then we have to drive them all in and wire them. Not quite sure of the logistics there. Also, we are trying to figure out how we are going to run our goats in the woods (where they will do the best) with a toddler, infant in June and a husband that works full time. Lots of things to figure out! So that's where we are at currently.
Hi there, Wysteria here. I will be writing as regularly as possible on behalf of my family and regarding our adventures in farming, food, health and things of the like. My interest range widely and my brain wanders far. Namaste.