THE RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACTIVIST
RACHEL PARENT Founder, The Kids Right To Know: GMOs, Just Label It! Campaign
The Grade 8 student, who has travelled to Brazil’s Amazon to witness forest devastation by GM soy, is one of the anti-GM movement’s most serious campaigners, and gives new meaning to the term “youth activism.” The Monsanto crowd’s gotta be having a bird over a self-possessed 13-year-old raising the spectre that laboratory eats can’t be healthy for children and other living things.
Parent’s biotech takedown features costumed rallies, sassy online videos and a packed speaking schedule. She once baked a 48-inch GM-free apple pie, the Occu Pie, for street people in St. James Park. And while she likes to sport honey bee garb at protests, don’t let the fun throw you off – this animal lover/baking buff has set herself the awesome mission of freeing her whole generation from the clutches of Kellogg, Kraft, Sara Lee, McCain, Nestle and Frito-Lay. Now, that’s ambition.
Although strict regulations exist for baby food and infant formula in North America, there are still concerns that genetically modified ingredients are present and possibly a threat.
Genetically modified organisms are foods whereby the DNA has been spliced together with other organisms to change the traits, often to help express the effects of toxic pesticides. Recent evidence shows that GMOs may be responsible for serious human health problems, including the growth of tumours in rats.
The Institute of Responsible Technology lists the reasons that children are more susceptible to the health risks associated with GMOs including vulnerability to allergens, antibiotic resistant diseases and nutritional problems. As a parent, there are steps you can take to ensure your baby is safe from these risks.
What ingredients in baby foods and infant formula are most likely to be genetically modified?
According to the non-gmo shopping guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology ( a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of GMOs in our food supply), the following ingredients in baby foods are highly suspect unless certified organic:
Soy, milk (may be from cows injected with rbGH), corn syrup, corn syrup solids and soy lecithin
Other ingredients to avoid are: canola oil, maltodextrin
How can you avoid buying baby food and infant formula with genetically modified ingredients? One assurance is to buy organic baby food. Another obvious choice is to make your own baby food with safe foods.
The following baby food brands are part of the non-gmo project-verified to have no GMO ingredients:
Little Duck Organics
Oh Baby Foods
For other brands you can verify directly with the company through the non-gmo project verification process.
If you’re feeling disheartened by this issue, positive news comes in the form of legal action: House Bill 6527, “An act concerning genetically engineered baby food”, has been passed to the next stage of legislature in Connecticut in March 2013. This act would require that all genetically engineered ingredients in baby food and infant formula “include clear and conspicuous labeling”. Strong support for this initiative is obvious-150 Connecticut based organizations and businesses have endorsed the bill along with grassroots organizations like Food Democracy Now! Connecticut joins the movement of over 37 supportive coalitions as part of the movement known as www.righttoknow-gmo.org .
The best way to navigate the complex and overwhelming world of our food systems is to stay informed. Familiarize yourself with the helpful guides out there on how to avoid GMOs; start asking more questions. If you really enjoy a certain brand of products and you’d like to continue buying them, ask the company directly what is in their food products. Never underestimate the power of one person. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream committed to eliminating GMO ingredients from their products because consumers spoke up. So did Whole Foods Market. These are not small mom and pop stores, these are huge companies; these amazing results from consumers standing up for the safety of their food is unprecedented. The more we speak up the more the powers that be will listen. If they don’t, we can just fold up our wallet and walk away.
Photo credit: almoko
Eleanor Healy is a writer with a passion for holistic health. As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), Reiki Master/Teacher and former Child and Youth Care worker, her mission is to help you truly live your best life! Follow Eleanor on Facebook, where you can receive her free e-booklet “Truly Happy!”
With the growing concerns of increased use of GMOs, Herbicides and Pesticides, one of the best ways to make sure our food is safe is to have labels that fully disclose what’s in them. Labels currently have to disclose the ingredients, fat content, calories, vitamins and minerals, and even if it was made in a manufacturing plant that makes products that may contain peanuts, but nothing about whether the food was made from genetically modified (GM) ingredients.”
There have been several animal feeding trials that have raised concerns about the health risks of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Over 60 countries around the world label genetically modified food, including the European Union, Japan, Russia and China.
The biotech industry is quick to brag about how genetically modified crops are the food of tomorrow and are needed to feed the world, but would rather not mention it to us, the people who have to eat it. What I mean is, if they’re so proud of it, and GMOs are so good for us, why not put it on the label?
I believe that mandatory GMO labeling is the first step, but I feel it’s very important that Canada conducts an immediate study on Genetically Modified Organisms by an independent labs, with no connection to Monsanto. Studies like the two year study recently done by French scientists at the University of Caen, that showed rats fed GMO corn were much more likely to die and at an earlier age, in addition to other serious health problems, including organ damage and the growth of massive tumors. If further testing supports these health risks, GMOs should be removed from the shelves altogether. Until then, it should be mandatory to have labels on GMO ingredients in our foods, allowing consumers can make informed choices, and to decide whether or not to buy them.
It would be ideal if we had a government that cared more about the health of its citizens and the environment, than supporting large multi-national companies like Monsanto, and relying on them for our food safety. Unfortunately, this is making us all part of the GMO science experiment.”
Until labeling is required, the best way to avoid GMOs is to read the ingredients on labels and stay away from products that contain corn, soy, canola, and vegetable oil, as there’s a 90% chance they’ll be GMO, at the moment buying true local certified Organic foods offers the best safety option.
Some people argue that Organic food is more expensive, in my opinion, eating fresh Organic non GMO food, is very nourishing decreasing cravings and the need for costly snacking, giving us more energy , clear thinking, improving our health and decreasing the need for constant expensive prescription drugs.
To take ACTION:
- Write to the Minister of Agriculture instantly and let them know your thoughts about GMO Alfalfa here: www.cban.ca/content/view/full/997
- Visit: www.facebook.com/MillionsAgainstMonsantoToronto
- Ask Rachel to speak at your school or environmental event
- Look for and buy ‘Non-GMO project’ labeled grocery items
- Ask your supermarket if they sell GMO sweet corn and tell the supermarket manager your concerns as they report back to upper management!
- In Canada there is currently a private member’s bill C-257 introduced by the NDP (recently read at Parliament) to require mandatory GMO labeling. Click here to Demand GMO Labelling in Canada!
If you’re overwhelmed by all the news lately regarding genetically modified organisms in our food supply, take solace in the fact that all kinds of people are stepping forward. Strong voices are ringing out to protect our future and to ensure that everyone has access to safe and fresh food. One such voice is that of Rachel Parent, a 13-year-old student, activist and all-around ball of positive energy.
When asked what inspired her to get involved in the GMO movement, she said, “Many years ago I became involved because I had to do a speech for my school. After researching several important and concerning topics I decided that the problem with GMOs was the most urgent and compelling since it affects every level of our ecosystem. The speech won me a medal. Later on, when California’s Proposition 37 support was needed, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to not only offer all of our support to California, but also to alert Canadian children about the urgency of this problem here at home. This prompted me to organize a GMO Kids Right to Know rally in Toronto.”
Perhaps the most inspired message from Rachel however, is aimed towards its deliverance to young children all around the world. When asked what message kids should take away from this, she plainly stated, “They need to know the truth. It bothers me that if the truth about GMOs was expressed by the media, many of today’s children and even unborn children would be so much healthier. Children need to learn to read labels and become smart about what they eat. They need to know that GMOs can cause serious health issues and even visible problems like acne, allergies, obesity, and even autism. I know that children love to learn and that change is possible. I know it because when I go to speak at schools, they tell me how proud they feel about eating better now and how much they love teaching other kids to eat better too.”
When asked about her vision for the future with regards to GMO’s, she continued, “As long as we continue to consume GMOs the problem will become almost irreversible, affecting even organic food. I feel that it is very important now to work at informing everyone as quickly as possible. My wish is that GMOs will be labeled, creating more awareness, and leading to a reduced consumer demand for foods containing GMOs. I would like to know that our future is safe and in perfect balance with nature, with plenty of fresh, local organic farming to supply everyone. Thank you for your support and for providing me with an interview opportunity to share my views and the Just Label It! campaign with everyone.”
While they say children are our future, perhaps it would more accurate to say children make our future. Don’t you think it’s about time we start to follow their lead? If you’d like to get involved, you can check out Rachel’s website GMO News by clicking here!
Eleanor Healy is a writer with a passion for holistic health. She is also a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), Reiki Master/Teacher and former Child and Youth Care worker.
Would you feed your pet something that you knew would harm them? Would you feed your pet poison, pesticides, or even GMOS? Often people concerned about their pets ask me if GMOs affect pets. GMOs in pet foods have been linked to very serious health problems. Today my article is on how GMOs affect pets, and how to stay away from them for your pet’s safety.
After countless years of feeding my dog Chico big name brands of dog food, (which we didn’t know had GMOs in it, because it wasn’t labeled) he had some serious health problem, and complications. When he was 7 he got this rash all around his body. He scratched it so much that he would bleed. I remember seeing blood on our porch because of the scratching. We looked at the dog food ingredients and sure enough there was corn, being one of the first ingredients, which is usually GMO. It also had many other questionable ingredients. We switched the food to a natural brand, and sure enough he got better. Once GMOs are in your system though, they never completely come out. Recently we realized that he had a tumor on his leg. Discouraged and disheartened we felt guilty that we had fed him the big name brands of dog food, and that the GMOs in them were still affecting him. The tumor grew so big that it was the size of a large grapefruit. At this point there was nothing that could be done, because he was now a bit older, and if we did surgery things could turn for the worst. All we could do was wait and see. Sadly he started having seizures, lost his sight, and went deaf. We didn’t know if he had a stroke or if a tumor had grown in his brain (both can be linked to GMOs). Sadly he passed away this March.
When I met with Professor Seralini at the Toronto Canadian Organic Growers, Organic The way Forward conference I learned so much about the effects of GMOs on animals. Dr. Seralini did a 2 year study on the effects GMOs have on rats. After 2 years the rats were filled with tumors, and had many other defects. Obviously if this can happen to rats, it can happen to pets, and humans. These tumors looked almost identical to the one that my dog had on his leg.
So now you have to protect your pets and yourself from GMOs. A great way to do this is avoid products that contain corn, canola, soy, vegetable oil, and high fructose corn syrup. Also, you have to be aware that many dairy and meat products are GMOs because the animals are fed GMOs, making them Genetically Modified. Fortunately, there are now some good and healthy dog foods on the market that give you some options.
After all … as Ana Monnar would say “our pets are our family.”
Conclusive Professor Guilles-Eric Seralini two year rat study
Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. That’s the conclusion of a shocking new study that looked at the long-term effects of consuming Monsanto’s genetically modified corn.
The study has been deemed “the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats.” News of the horrifying findings is spreading like wildfire across the internet, with even the mainstream media seemingly in shock over the photos of rats with multiple grotesque tumors… tumors so large the rats even had difficulty breathing in some cases. GMOs may be the new thalidomide.
It goes on to say: “The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group.”
The study, led by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, was the first ever study to examine the long-term (lifetime) effects of eating GMOs. You may find yourself thinking it is absolutely astonishing that no such studies were ever conducted before GM corn was approved for widespread use by the USDA and FDA, but such is the power of corporate lobbying and corporate greed.
I’m sharing photos of my Bearded Collie front leg tumor, Chico sadly passed away on March 2013.
As Ghandi, one of history’s greatest heroes once said “to my mind the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.”
I’m often asked if it is difficult to be a vegetarian or for what reasons I become one ,many people assume that being vegetarian is simply avoiding meat products, being vegetarian means much more than that ,just to be clear what does it mean to be a true vegetarian, the goods, and the impacts it has globally?
As many of you may be wondering… what is a vegetarian? Well, a vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat. There are many types of vegetarians, including vegans, who do not eat meat, dairy, or eggs. Many people become vegetarian or vegan because of health reasons. Being a vegetarian has been known to prevent heart-attacks, diabetes, and many other fatal diseases. Some people are also vegetarians because of religious or cultural beliefs. For instance the people who follow the Hindu religion do not eat meat because they believe in karma, and that you will comeback as an animal in your next life, as a source of punishment. In India, most people eat very little, or no meat and as a result of this, they make up 70% of the world’s vegetarians. Another reason for vegetarianism is compassion for the animals. I’m a vegetarian, because when my grandma was 17 she became very ill. She went to a doctor, and the doctor put her on a vegetarian diet, sure enough she got better. My mom is also a vegetarian, and I am the 4th generation of vegetarians in my family. To me being a vegetarian means living life without guilt. Often when I tell people that I am vegetarian they say “oh I don’t eat that much meat” or “I eat mostly veggies” or even “I only eat fish and chicken”. Every time I hear people say this, I can tell people are slightly guilty, but yet for the practical reasons they continue to eat meat. When I see kids at the petting zoo, petting the baby lambs and chickadees, they seem so affectionate, yet at the same time they crave to eat them, it seems so opposite to me.
Many of you also might wonder what impact vegetarianism had on the environment. The fact is eating meat has some serious impacts on the environment. For instance, it takes a lot of grain to feed the cattle that will go for slaughter. To make 1 kilogram of beef it takes 50,000-100,000L of water to grow the food, yet while all that food and water is going towards the cattle, 15 million children, and millions of adults die per year of starvation. Meat isn’t as healthy as we think it is either. This is no longer the meat that our parents used to eat, because the animals are fed pesticides, growth hormones, and even GMOs making it an unsafe choice. What you may not know is that, GMOs can be dangerous to human’s health. GMOs have been linked to cancer, autism, a.d.h.d, childhood obesity, just to name a few. Another huge problem is the pollution that comes from the factory farms and slaughter houses.
So I know this is starting to sound depressing, so I brought some fun facts along. Did you know that the first ever Ronald McDonald hired was vegetarian? Also did you know that many famous celebrities and icons are vegetarians, including, Paul and Stella McCartney, Tom Cruise, Rachel McAdams, Demi Lovato, Steve Martin, Carrie Underwood, Lea Michele, Ellen DeGeneres, even Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney, and Abraham Lincoln. Did you know that every vegetarian spares the lives of 1000s of innocent animals per year, and they also spare the many lives of those who starve per year? Did you know that Michael J Fox has been following a Non GMO diet, and is now on his way to recuperation from Parkinson’s? and going back to work ?
So now it’s up to you. Will you take the challenge, and join me and many others, or will you continue to ignore the unheard voices of the tortured animals? Just think the meat you eat today was walking yesterday. Next time you go to eat meat be sure to ask if it’s really worth all the pain and suffering. I’m proud of being a vegetarian, protecting the environment, and speaking for those innocent creatures who cannot speak for themselves. After all, as George Bernard Shaw once said “Animals are my friends-and I don’t eat my friends.”