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Natural Food Companies under the "GMO Spotlight"
by Jim and Dorothy Oswald - from IVU News 2001

"GMOs Are Found in Morningstar Farms Products" reported The Los Angeles Times, March 8, 2001, on page C1. "New laboratory tests have found that veggie burgers and meat-free corn dogs made by natural foods brand Morningstar Farms contain genetically modified soy and the genetically altered feed corn, StarLink, that has not been approved for human consumption." Nevertheless, apparently it got sold for human foods. Oh…. Greenpeace commissioned the Morningstar product tests. Surprise! They "highlight the difficulty that even natural foods companies are having in assuring their customers that their products do not contain genetically modified ingredients." Surprise! Privately held Seventh Day Adventist food supplier Worthington Foods of Worthington, Ohio earlier merged with similarly motivated Loma Linda Foods of Loma Linda, California, and then the combine was bought by the once similarly motivated Kellogg Company of Battle Creek, Michigan in 1999. Surprise! In the United Kingdom, Greenpeace funded research which indicated that Kellogg's Worthington subsidiary produced Morningstar Harvest Burgers containing soy products 50% of which contained "Roundup Ready" soybeans; these are genetically modified soybeans "resistant to a popular weed killer" that permits farmers to spray and kill weeds while the soybean plants "survive." Hmm?

Just a "slip up" said a Kellogg executive…. What was the first mistake? Privately, Kellogg has conducted research confirming the Greenpeace claims…. Kellogg spokeswoman Chris Ervin told the Los Angeles Times "This was an isolated incident…a case of a supplier not providing ingredients to our specifications." Surprise! Genetic ID of Fairfield, Iowa, has reported that only "1% or less of the corn in Morningstar corn dogs is of the StarLink variety, which was approved [for use] in animal foods." But Kellogg-Worthington-Morningstar Farms never made any claims that their products were GMO FREE… Caveat emptor. No one asserts that false claims were made. Yet, if the tested products did not promise they were GMO FREE, what did it matter that a raw materials supplier provided non- GMO FREE materials? And where might Kellogg-Worthington-Morningstar Farms be heading? If they reformulate, might their products delete not only genetically modified ingredients, but also other non-plant based materials such as now prevail? The little white things that come out of the hind ends of chickens, for example? Maybe bovine effluent by-products too?

Alas! YVES NON-GMO SOY BASED FOODS privately tested by researchers funded by The Wall Street Journal (April 5, 2001, pages 1 and 14) were found to have traces of genetically modified organisms despite the YVES' efforts to avoid these and buy only from those guaranteeing GMO FREE ingredients. Vegan friendly YVES with all the best intentions got trapped by seemingly unscrupulous and uncaring untruthful suppliers.

On March 8, 2001, The Orange County Register reported on page 5, that "USDA will buy up tainted corn seed" and had announced the day before that "as much as $20 million worth of corn seed that was contaminated with a variety of genetically engineered grain that prompted nationwide recalls of food products." Surprise! Will none be planted in 2001? Who knows? Anyone holding out? How will these seeds be disposed of? How about Roundup Ready soybean seeds, any new being planned? Any hidden?

Golly! "Agent Orange, leukemia linked." Surprise! "A study suggests the pesticide connected with vets from Vietnam may lead to the disease in children," according to Randolph E. Schmid reporting for the Associated Press in The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 20, 2001, page A19. Who is amazed by this hot news over three decades late? Probably more such news to come, ne plus ultra. In the same paper: "Bush aims to eliminate 'dirty dozen' chemicals" on page A2. Also, "DuPont to stop selling embattled [$90 million annual sales - Benlate] fungicide" that "suits claim…ruined crops, plants and trees…costing $1.3 billion" on page E1. Maybe try veganagro for safer profits?

Jim and Dorothy Oswald are the founders of the Institute for Plant Based Nutrition (IPBN). They travel and lecture at conferences and produce a popular quarterly newsletter that goes out all over the world. For info: Tel: (610)-667-6876

Contributions to IVU News are welcomed. Material published does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or the policy of the International Vegetarian Union.