Yes, it’s true…that big Superbowl football game is on tomorrow. But today? It’s another fantabulous, once-a-year event: International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day.
Held the first Saturday in February, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day is exactly what it sounds like: a great excuse for a party! What began as a small gathering in upstate New York is now a worldwide event, but still very much under-the-radar.
And this year, it’s a rather poignant occasion. With the USDA’s decision last week to allow unrestricted planting of genetically modified alfalfa, the ability of America’s local farmers and USDA organic producers to guarantee GMO-free foods is severely compromised. Why? As surely as the wind blows, seeds and other particles from GE alfalfa will cross-contaminate neighboring farms. Of particular concern is the impact on dairy farmers, who use alfalfa as dairy feed (hence my warning about this being the last organic ice cream for breakfast day). And as Rodale.com reports, GE alfalfa could “contaminate organic honey supplies, since bees forage in alfalfa and create nectar that in turn becomes honey for human food.”
Why the concern about GMOs? Where to start? The risks – to autism, allergies, infertility and more – are so well documented that surveys going back five years or more show that most Americans would prefer to avoid GMOs if given the choice. But since GMOs are not labeled in this country, the only sure way to avoid them is to buy organic – one of the main reasons I buy organic, as I’ve blogged here here and here.
Here are a few good primers on the risks of genetically engineered foods:
About GMOs, The Non-GMO Project
Six Reasons to Avoid GMOs, The Non-GMO Project
GMO Dangers, Institute for Responsible Technology
Monsanto’s GMOs and Autism, Wellsphere
Safety of Genetically Modified Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects, National Academies Press, 2004 (Read the section about the potential for increased allergies!)
Scientists Speak: Say No to GMOs
The Dangers of Genetically Modified Foods: Autism Hope and Healing
The Trouble with Monsanto and GMOs: Dr. David Suzuki Spells It Out: Red, Green and Blue
What’s a GMO and Why Should You Care? Allergy Kids, Robyn O’Brien
What can you do? Contribute to the legal fight against this outrageous decision. Let the White House know you don’t appreciate having your kids treated like lab rats in the giant GMO science experiment. And in the meantime, cherish the remaining delicious stock of American made organic dairy, before rushing to buy European treats.
Meanwhile, enough of the politics and back to the fun of Ice Cream for Breakfast Day!
Here’s more on the story from the “official” Ice Cream for Breakfast Day website.
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Ruth and a little boy named Joe. Ruth and Joe grew up in the
back of beyond in New York state where it was very very cold. Every winter between New Year’s Eve and
Passover, life in up-state New York got extremely boring, so their parents invented a holiday to brighten
up the dreary days of winter. It was called Ice Cream For Breakfast Day. This was a wonderful holiday for
children and parents alike because to celebrate you had to eat ice cream for breakfast on the first Saturday in
Well, Ruth and Joe grew up and went away to a university. They made many friends and taught them all
about Ice Cream For Breakfast Day. After college Ruth had a roommate named Barry to whom she also told
about this tradition. Many years later, Barry met Itzah C. Kret in Washington, D.C. and converted him into an
Ice Cream For Breakfast Day observer.
Nobody has kept precise track but through word of mouth ICFBD has been celebrated in many homes, states
and countries all over the world. Some people give parties with musical instruments, others simply
celebrate with family members. There is no right or wrong so long as you follow the 3 plus 1 simple Ice
Cream for Breakfast Day Rules
(1) Eat ice cream
(2) for breakfast
(3) on the first Saturday in February
(4) spread the word
The rest is up to you!
As for me, I’m fortunate to be invited to the famous Barry’s party!
Let me know if you spring for Ice Cream for Breakfast Day! (And yes, make it organic!)
Copyright OrganicMania 2011Filed under Food, GMOS, Organics, Organics vs. Conventional Foods | Wordpress Comments (7) |
Nearly two years ago I started OrganicMania because I was going crazy trying to figure out when it made sense to go green and organic.
Once I finally understood the food labeling systems (USDA Organic, Made with Organic Ingredients, Green, Natural, etc), I felt a bit more sane.
But as I blogged here last week, the news that Organic Standards may not be all that they seem has turned my world upside down again. Two years later, and I’m still being driven crazy trying to sort out green and organic claims!
The Washington Post ‘s coverage of the controversy surrounding the National Organic Program touched off interesting reactions from organics advocates and observers. I was barely digesting that story and the reaction to it when Whole Foods announced they’ve joined the non-GMO project, and Dean Foods announced a move toward “natural” milk – two developments that will throw yet another wrinkle into the food shopping game. I don’t typically do news summaries here at OrganicMania, but I think these developments are so significant that they merit a recap.
So this is News? Samuel Fromartz, author of “Organic, Inc,” blogged that “The tension discussed in the [Post] article, between those who have always sought to expand the industry and those who seek a more purist vision…. wasn’t particularly news…As for synthetics in processed food, there will always be two camps on this — and both present risks. If synthetics are taken out ..organic processed foods would fade off the shelves. Maybe that’s not a bad thing, but the organic industry would be a lot smaller. If, on the other hand, too many synthetics are let in, and we start getting more organic junk food with a long list of unpronounceable ingredients, that will spell the end of organics too.”
It’s So Unfair! The Organic Trade Association issued this press release taking issue with the criticisms aired by The Washington Post reporters. I wish I had seen more reaction from organics advocates, but this was the best response I could find after much online searching, so I’ve included the key points below.
o “The federal organic standards have not been ’relaxed.’ Rigorously enforced standards can and do go hand-in-hand with growth… Organic agriculture and products remain the most strictly regulated, as well as the fastest growing, food system in the United States today.”
o “Organic agriculture protects the health of people and the environment by reducing the overall exposure to toxic chemicals from synthetic pesticides that can end up in the ground, air, water and food supply, and that are associated with health consequences from asthma to cancer. Extensive pesticide residue testing by the U.S.D.A. has found that conventionally produced fruits and vegetables are, on average, three to more than four times more likely to contain residues than organic produce, eight to eleven times more likely to contain multiple pesticide residues, and contain residues at levels three to ten times higher than corresponding residues in organic samples.”
o “..There is a very specific process that materials must go through before they are permitted for inclusion in organic products. In regards to fatty acids, the USDA regulators followed the recommendation of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)… Because the position of the reporters’ sources did not ‘carry the day’ in this public review by no means makes the process illegal, and to characterize it as such is a great disservice to the public.”
Also last week, Whole Foods announced it will begin certifying certain of its private label 365 brand foods through the Non-GMO Project. I believe this will be the first major non-GMO labeling effort of its kind – something we should all support. But I predict that Whole Foods’ move will drive more consumers away from organics and toward the new non-GMO label, since many people buy organics primarily to avoid GMOs.
Perhaps USDA Organic is not the “be all and end all” that its most ardent supporters claim. But it’s one of the best indicators we have of quality food, particularly in the supermarket. As consumers, we need to continue to push for strong organics standards, meaning no relaxation of the current USDA Organic standard. Check out this campaign promoted by Terressentials Organics to solicit consumer support for upholding organic standards. You have until August 31st to have your voice heard by the National Organics Program.
My bet is that the continued expansion of organics, the growth in the natural foods and green categories and the new non-GMO label will continue to make food shopping a challenge – meaning I’ll still be going crazy! (At least it will give me plenty to blog about here at OrganicMania!)
What do you think? Are you still going crazy trying to sort this all out? Leave a comment and share!
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Food, GMOS, Organics, Organics vs. Conventional Foods | Wordpress Comments (9) |