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Ask EcoGirl

A syndicated eco-advice column
Written by Patricia Dines

"Encouraging the eco-hero in everyone!"

"Making it easy to be green!"

This Month's Column:
What Do We Do Now About GMOs?

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What Do We Do Now About GMOs?

By Patricia Dines
Published in the Sonoma County Gazette
December 2012
(c) Patricia Dines, 2012. All rights reserved.

Even though California Prop. 37 (GMO labeling) didn't pass, it has alerted many more people to the experimental and hazardous GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) that are putting at risk our food, health, farms, communities, and environment. (See www.earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/58 and www.responsibletechnology.org/10-Reasons-to-Avoid-GMOs.)

And I'm delighted to hear folks looking for ways to continue taking action on this vital issue.

So here are what I suggest as our priority actions (and some I advise we skip). I encourage you to share this information with your friends and allies.

1) The first question most folks ask is how to personally avoid GMOs. The easy answer is: "Eat organic," because organic forbids using GMO seeds.

Unfortunately, the U.S. has no GMO labeling, even though over 50 countries do. (See www.centerforfoodsafety.org/ge-map.) And, contrary to some online posts, there's no leading "8" being used on produce labels to indicate GMOs. (See www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/plu-codes-do-not-indicate_b_473088.html.)

So we're lucky to have the option of organic. Buying 100% organic is ideal, but even processed foods made with at least 70% organic ingredients aren't allowed to have any GMO materials.

You can also look for verified GMO-free foods (www.nongmoproject.org) and grow garden food from organic seeds.

NOTE: I think we should encourage people to buy any organic product, prioritizing companies that are local and/or supported Prop. 37. [For the latter, see http://inspirationgreen.com/assets/images/Food blog 2010/prop37-poster3.jpeg.] This keeps it simple for consumers, and rewards producers who avoid toxics and GMOs.

2) If you're going to buy or eat any non-organic food, learn what's likely to contain GMOs and act to avoid them. One important rule is to avoid processed foods that contain non-organic corn, soy, canola oil, cottonseed oil, or sugar.

Unfortunately, these crops masquerade as many other ingredients, such as corn syrup, (soy) lecithin, etc. Thus it's estimated that GMOs are in 70% of processed foods! Also non-organic meat and dairy products can come from animals that eat GMO materials. For more details, see www.truefoodnow.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/cfs-shoppers-guide.pdf.

I also recommend avoiding the major non-organic food brands that donated money to the anti-37 campaign. Doesn't that suggest hidden GMOs? The largest food donation came from PepsiCo ($2 million), followed by Kraft, Coca-Cola, Nestle, General Mills, Kellogg's, Smithfield, Del Monte, Hershey, Campbell Soup, H.J. Heinz, J.M. Smucker, Mars, Ocean Spray, Hormel, Bumble Bee, Sara Lee, Dean Foods, and Dole.

NOTE: I don't think it's fair or strategically smart to smear the organic brands that are a tiny part of these companies. Those folks are still making the positive choice of supporting non-GMO farming, and they can't control their parent corporations. It's the non-organic probably-GMO mainstream products that we need to highlight as being harmful!

3) It's also vital that we participate in community-level action to change the system. We can only do so much at the consumer level. More GMO varieties are in the pipeline, and GMO contamination of farmland will make it increasingly difficult to get non-GMO food.

So we also need lots of people power, plus smart strategy, to stand up to the financial and political power (plus dishonest bullying ways) of Monsanto and other GMO corporations.

Here are what I think our four top community-level goals should be:

a) Implement mandatory GMO labeling quickly. This allows more and more people to see how often GMOs are in our foods, become motivated to change, and find it much easier to do so. Plus it discourages food companies from using the no-longer-hidden GMOs.

b) Get much stronger testing and regulation of GMOs before their release.

c) Hold the anti-37 forces accountable for the shocking lies they told during the campaign. Citizens in a democracy require accurate information to make informed decisions for our well-being.

d) Educate others about GMOs, so that they'll join us in taking action.

For more quality resources and actions, see my online copy of this article at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6f.html [that's this article; see below!], plus www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl and www.patriciadines.info/LTEblog.

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GREENING YOUR HOLIDAYS: Another handy resource for you is my new Eco-Holidays Theme page! See www.askecogirl.info/AEThemeGreenHolidays.html.

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Ask EcoGirl is written by Patricia Dines, Author of The Organic Guides, and Editor and Lead Writer for The Next STEP newsletter. Email your questions about going green to <EcoGirl [at] AskEcoGirl.info> for possible inclusion in future columns. View past columns at <www.AskEcoGirl.info>.

You can also become a Facebook fan of "Ask EcoGirl", to show your support and stay in touch! Join at www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl.

"EcoGirl: Encouraging the eco-hero in everyone."

© Copyright Patricia Dines, 2012. All rights reserved.


I hope that you like this column. And I encourage you to forward it to others! It's an easy way to help people channel their curiosity and awakened passion into fruitful actions. Otherwise, it can easily be directed towards counter-productive actions, or dissipate as people return to their everyday lives.

Here's more useful info and resources for you!

* I have lots more key suggested actions and juicy details at
www.ecogirlslife.blogspot.com/2012/11/what-do-we-do-now-about-gmos.html and

* I cover GMOs regularly on my blog (www.patriciadines.info/LTEblog) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl).

Click on the "GMOs" link on my blog to read my ongoing posts on this topic.

* One easy action I list there is: Sign this petition to call on the U.S. Dept of Justice to prosecute the Prop. 37 opposition for fraudulently using the FDA name to bolster its claims. www.change.org/petitions/lanny-breuer-assistant-attorney-general-of-the-usdoj-criminal-division-prosecute-the-no-on-37-committee-for-violation-of-federal-law

* You also might like to check out and forward my new graphic challenging "PepsiCo = GMO?" They were the #1 food contributor to the anti-37 campaign. If we're going to boycott anyone, it needs to be these big guys first!

* Many more state labeling campaigns are getting traction. Any state victory helps us all, so it's great if you can support them anywhere. And especially support actions in your state! See

* These are some of my favorite sites for accurate and useful info:

* I also like what I see from this new group, GMO Inside www.gmoinside.org.

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* I've also gathered together lots of winter eco-holidays tips at www.healthyworld.org/ecoholidays.html.

* And I recommend the beautiful and inspiring book, Celebrate Green (www.celebrategreen.net).


I'm delighted to offer you my Ask EcoGirl booklets, "Healthier Housecleaning" and "Detoxing Your Life." These unique, handy, and cheerful resources bring together key information you need to create a healthier home for your family and the planet. They make a great gift, and quantity discounts and wholesale prices are available. Plus all sales support my eco-healing community work. Tell a friend! Find out more at www.askecogirl.info/booklets.html.


For more information on this and related eco-topics, see my other Ask EcoGirl columns.


Ask EcoGirl is written by Patricia Dines, Author of The Organic Guides, and Editor and Lead Writer for The Next STEP newsletter, which gently educates readers about toxics and alternatives. For more information about my work for the planet, see www.patriciadines.info

Sign up for my low-volume writing announcement list (1-3 emails a month), to get emails when my new print articles are published, at www.patriciadines.info/EList.

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I hope that you find this information useful. I welcome your throughts and feedback! (You can email me at info [at] askecogirl.info.)

Editors: Please contact me if you'd like to publish any of these articles in your periodical, or discuss an article that I might write for you.

This entire website is (c) Patricia Dines, 1998-2012. All rights reserved.
Page last updated 12/1/2012