10 places GMOs may be lurking in your kitchenWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Research shows that more than 90 percent of Americans want to know if their foods contain genetically modified ingredients. We bet you’re one of those conscious consumers. While the “right to know” movement continues to battle it out state by state, you can vote with your dollars. Do you know which foods contain GMOs? While it’s easy to identify potential GMO crops in the produce aisle, things get a little trickier in the middle of the store. GMO-corn derived ingredients, for example, can appear with more than one hundred different names. To help you out, keep this list of unexpected probable offenders on hand. When in doubt, buy USDA Certified Organic and/or look for the Non-GMO Project Verified seal which tests for GMO contamination.

Veggie burgers: This healthful alternative is often made with corn and soy.

Fresh produce: Not sure if it’s a GMO food? If it has a sticker code that begins with the number 8, it’s genetically modified.

 Supplements: It’s not just in the food aisles that you need to watch out for GMO ingredients; many supplements are also made with corn and soy ingredients.

Infant formula: If it’s not certified organic, it’s likely that your infant formula is made with milk from cows that have been injected with genetically engineered hormones.

Bread: Read the label. Even if it says whole grain, many breads include high-fructose corn syrup which makes the loaves evenly brown.

Cereal: Since the Kashi scandal,  we hope you’re checking the ingredients on your cereal. Even if it looks “healthy” and says “natural” that doesn’t mean it’s free from genetically modified soy and corn.

Honey peanuts: It’s not honey that lends those legumes their sweet flavor. Corn syrup often appears higher on the ingredient list.

 Honey: We were surprised by this one. Bees can collect pollen from GM plants, and it’s virtually impossible to tell from an ingredient label. Buy local and ask questions.

Applesauce: If it’s sweetened, look for high fructose corn syrup.

Ketchup: See, above.

October is Non-GMO Project month. Celebrate by getting educated about GMO foods and double checking labels on items you regularly buy. If you don’t recognize an ingredient, do some research. If you find a GMO food has crept into your cupboards, try swapping it with something healthier. One step, one day at a time is the best way to take control of your family’s health and send manufacturers a message that you expect more.

Imagine a world with no honeybeesWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Bees

We were struck by this photo from a retailer showing what his grocery store would look like if there were no more honeybees. Shocking right? The truth though is that this reality may not be too far off. In China, due to dwindling numbers of bees they already hand pollinate some crops. In the States, the situation is not much butter.

The official term is called, “Colony Collapse,” and though its been happening over the last decade the situation appears to be getting worse. Just last year, we lost 43 percent of wild bee colonies, according to Time magazine. As you know, bees pollinate a number of fruits and vegetables including many of our organically grown Made In Nature fruits. We’re concerned, we hope you are as well.

Scientists aren’t exactly sure why our bees our dying, but they do have a few likely guesses. Here’s a closer look at what’s going on and how you can help.

It’s hard out there for a bee

What’s killing our bees? Scientists have pinpointed these three most likely causes: 
Pesticides: A new type of pesticide called neonicotinoids (say  that three times fast) have negative impacts on bees’ nervous systems. Exposure results in navigation and flying problems and ultimately death.

Parasites and mites: 

The vampiric Varroa mite may be considered the leading cause of Colony Collapse. Scientists suspect an infestation of these parasites may suppress bee immune systems and open the door for viruses and bacteria.

Flower Deserts:

Bees depend on wilderness and wild spaces to gather pollen for their hives. But due to the increasing prices for corn and soybeans, many of these open spaces are being replaced with these monocrops–essentially food deserts for bees.

What you can do
You can help save the bees with a few easy choices

Buy organic:  

Organic crops, like all of our Made In Nature Fruits, aren’t sprayed with harmful pesticides that kill bees. Safer for the bees, safer for your family.

Plant bee-friendly flowers: 

We love watching bees pollinate the flowers in the gardens around our office. Not only are the fascinating to watch, but they naturally flock to more pleasing environments. YOu can make your yard a bee haven by planting flower they love like: lilacs, lavender, sage, wisteria,  mint, squash, tomatoes, pumpkins, honeysuckle and more. Find a complete list here.

Don’t use chemicals and pesticides. 

These chemicals are particularly damaging when sprayed on flowering plants. Don’t do it! Your plants and your friendly bee neighbors will thank you.

5 Things To Know About GMOsWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

You’ve likely heard a lot about GMOs, but what are they really? Where do they come from and why should you be concerned? Here are five things you should know.

What is a GMO?
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. A GM food is created when scientists remove a gene from one organism and transfer that gene to a different organism. Unlike traditional methods, where farmers might breed plants from the same species to make a stronger plant, GM technology makes it possible to transfer any gene from any organism into a different one. There are essentially two types of GM crops—those engineered to produce their own pesticide in the form of Bacillus thurengiensis (Bt) and those engineered to be resistant to Roundup weed killer.

Why are these foods harmful?
The negative environmental impact of these crops is profound. Roundup tolerant weeds also known as “superweeds” began to emerge only 4 years after these crops were first introduced. Fighting these weeds means incrementally upping herbicide use which is devastating the soil. Access herbicides in the land are making it more difficult for plants to take in crucial micronutrients like zinc, chromium and manganese. This not only results in sick crops but also foods that do not taste as vibrant and full of flavor as they should.

Bt crops are not any better. New York University microbiologists found that the natural pesticides these plants produce is leaking from their roots into the soil. The Bt that remains (sometime for as long as 7 months) is killing natural organisms that foster plant health.

Are GMOs bad for our health?
The truth is, we just don’t know. Because GM foods are so pervasive it’s impossible to isolate their impact.  The Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates that nearly 75 percent to 80 percent of conventional processed foods now contain GMOs.

Most recently, a study published in the scientific journal Entropy suggests that long-term exposure to glyphosate residues could be linked to a suite of human health issues, including gastrointestinal disorders, Alzheimer’s and certain cancers.

What crops should I look out for?
The top 7 GM crops are: corn, soy, cottonseed, alfalfa, papaya, canola and sugar beets.

Just because you don’t see one of these ingredients on the label doesn’t mean it’s GM free, though. The top 7 hide in a bevy of processed food ingredients including: lecithin, xanthum gum, cellulose, dextrose, and more. You can find a complete list here.

How can I avoid eating these foods?
Buy organic. Genetically modified crops are exempt from certification. You can also look for the Non-GMO Project Verification Label which tests products to guarantee that they’re GMO free. In addition to being 100 percent organic, Made In Nature’s fruit is also Non-GMO Project Verified so feel free to snack with impunity!