Shopping for organic food

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Shopping for organic food

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Since genetically engineered crops were introduced in 1996, they've been extremely successfully in the terms of soy and corn and canola. 70-80% of America's corn or soy or canola is now genetically engineered. There's now of course corn sweetener is in everything, so it's really in our sugar. The result of that is that most of the processed food in America now contains genetically engineered food, yet we as citizens don't know it, because it's not on the label. A citizen in Sweden or France or Russia will know it because it says it on the label, but not here. That needs to change. Now, however, we're getting into a new game, because we're starting to see whole foods actually being introduced that are genetically engineered. For example, there's an apple called arctic apple that is about to get approved. It's an apple that doesn't brown. When you cut it open it actually will not brown. Now I didn't think that was too big a problem myself, but nevertheless you've now got a solution. You've now got a salmon that grows about 20-30% larger faster. And that's also been genetically engineered. So these are two foods that are coming to us. There's now a sweet corn that will contain an insecticide that's also going to be on your shelves. So you're going to buy that corn. Unless there's a label that says, you're not going to have any way of knowing. So what's a parent to do? That's really obviously the question. Again, look for that organic symbol. Don't assume that a retailer just because they're a natural foods retailer, everything's organic. You need to see the USDA organic symbol on it. And if it's not there, and there's 3 levels. You can see 100% organic, organic which is to say 95%, or made with organic which means it's 70% organic. Either way, if that symbol isn't there, there's no guarantee. That's for certain. That said, organic, there's 1K reasons to eat organic food. I'm in the business of it. But there's really one very good reason for people not to. And that is it is more expensive. And I'm sympathetic to that. And this is where again, the next best thing to organic would be non-GMO verified or GMO-free. The chemical companies who own the GMO patents would like the law of the land to be voluntary labeling if you're not using it. In other words, the absence of GMOs. That's not bad. But what I'm saying to people is because most processed foods now contain it, all soda contains it, because again you've got corn sweeteners, it's not enough o just have the absence on the label. You've got to have the presence on the label. Most of us are driving, running, racing around. We buy something quickly at the convenience store or the gas station. You run into a restaurant. You really do need that right to know at that moment of impulse purchase. And if we only label the things that are absent and not present, what are you going to do? This is why we think we need to observe the same laws that 64 nations around the world has, that 60% of the world's population has. And that is if it's present, if it was in the supply chain, if it's in the ingredients, put it on the label.

Learn about: Shopping for organic food from Gary Hirshberg,...

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Gary Hirshberg

Gary Hirshberg is Chairman of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer, and Managing Director of Stonyfield Europe. He is also the Chairman and Founding Partner of “Just Label It, We Have the Right to Know,” the national campaign to label GE foods. Gary has received twelve honorary doctorates and numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership including a 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award by the US EPA.

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