Monday, March 23, 2009

Major food safety reforms would be would be gr-r-reat

ACHS Master Herbalist Christina Suarez, owner of The Good Herb Company, led a talk at ACHS Saturday, March 21, about Organic Standards. While outlining the extensive requirements for organic certification, Suarez emphasized the importance of reading food labels to evaluate the health benefits of ingredients. As part of her presentation, Suarez talked about a recent news article in which the CEO of Kellogg calls for a food safety reform program. On principle, it just sounds like a good idea. But, on a practical level, it’s essential because, as Suarez pointed out, many of the foods we have been eating for years are GMO (a genetically modified organism), which many people don’t know.

Here is an excerpt of the article “Kellogg’s CEO calls for major food safety reforms” from the Associated Press, March 18.

“Tony the Tiger's boss says a food safety overhaul would be Gr-r-reat!
The Kellogg Co.’s top official is urging U.S. legislators to revamp the food safety system. The world's biggest cereal maker—its brands include Frosted Flakes—lost $70 million in the recent salmonella outbreak, after recalling seven million cases of peanut butter crackers and cookies.

CEO David Mackay will tell Congress on Thursday [March 19] the company wants food safety placed under a new leader in the Health and Human Services department. He also calls for new requirements that all food companies have written safety plans, annual federal inspections of facilities that make high-risk foods and other reforms.

Mackay’s strong endorsement of major changes could boost President Barack Obama's efforts to overhaul the system. Last week, Obama launched a special review of food safety programs, which are split among several departments and agencies and rely in some cases on decades-old laws. Critics say more funding is needed for inspections and basic research.

"The recent outbreak illustrated that the U.S. food safety system must be strengthened," Mackay said.

"We believe the key is to focus on prevention, so that potential sources of contamination are identified and properly addressed before they become actual food safety problems."

In addition to health prevention and safety, there are several reasons to avoid GMO-grown foods, however used to eating them we are. Here are a few:

1. Sustainability agriculture supports local food growing (like your favorite farmer’s market)
2. Environmental preservation
3. Taste. Non-GMO foods have it!

Click here to read more about Christina Suarez and The Good Herb Company.

To learn more about David Mackay’s presentation to Congress March 19, click here.

What do you know about GMO? Tell us below. Label-reading tips? We want to know those too.

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