Archive for the ‘Guest Bloggers’ Category


Posted on July 21, 2011 - by

Smart Phones Helping Us Make Smart Seafood Decisions

Today’s guest blog post is brought to you by FishWise, a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings.

Let’s face it–choosing sustainable seafood can be difficult. The sustainability of a particular species depends not only on the inherent vulnerability of the species itself, but also on where and how it was caught.

To figure this out, there are apps that place extensive information at our fingertips and conveniently guide our responsible seafood choices. Nowadays, living in a wireless world, the Seafood Watch app for iPhone and Android has replaced the Seafood Watch card in our wallet provided by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Blue Ocean Institute also has its FishPhone app in addition to their printed guides.

For some consumers, knowing the location and method of catch is not enough! They want to be able to trace their fish back to the source. Some of you can visit local fish markets that generally work very closely with the fishermen themselves, however, most seafood buyers rely on their local grocery store for their seafood needs. Even for experts who work in the seafood industry, tracing seafood back to the source is challenging since the seafood supply chain can be extremely complex.

To go one step further, there are now companies who allow consumers to go online and trace the product back to the source by entering a code on the package in their hands.

Partnering with Trace Register™ – the global food traceability company, Kwik’pak Fisheries has developed a tool that allows consumers to trace their Yukon River Salmon back to the source. We can go to their “Trace Your Fish” web page and enter this example code: 103104. We are then presented with information about the product’s nutritional value, the name of the Yupik fishermen who caught it, how they caught and processed the fish, a map showing the catch location and even healthy recipes to try out.

Some Northern Chef farmed raised shrimp carried by Tai Foong are yellow ranked by the Monterey Bay as well as being traceable. Try this code: 877971002797 and enter it in their Dine Well Shrimp page where we can learn the details about their aquaculture practices, their shrimp quality, and their location in Thailand on the map.

These companies are at the frontier of traceability and others are guaranteed to follow suit, which is great news for consumers like you. The more information you have at your fingertips when choosing seafood, the better the choices you can make for yourself and the environment.

FishWise is a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings through environmentally responsible business practices, such as policy development, employee training, sourcing assistance and point of sale information. This approach empowers consumer to make environmentally informed choices when purchasing seafood.

To learn more about sustainable seafood, visit www.fishwise.org or sign up for their mailing list.

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Posted on July 20, 2011 - by

How to Be a Salmon Savvy Gourmet


Photo: Karen Miller/Creative Commons

Today’s guest post is courtesy of Ana Simeon from Sierra Club BC and Seachoice.

Figuring out the right salmon to eat is maybe the biggest challenge when it comes to sustainable seafood. There are Pacific and Atlantic, farmed and wild. Then there are all the individual species – sockeye, chinook, coho, chum, and pink – which further divide into “runs,” populations that spawn in the same stream. To complicate matters even further, not all farmed salmon was created equal – there is “open net” and “closed containment”, with very different ecological impacts. If all this makes your head spin, worry not! Follow our Salmon Ladder, an easy step-by-step process to help you navigate the diversity of salmon on the market and the conflicting claims of suppliers. The Salmon Ladder is based on Seachoice’s science-based ranking system developed in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Meet the Hero: Pacific Salmon

These fish are absolutely amazing and more than worth the effort to get to know, even if they weren’t such a healthy and delicious seafood treat. Salmon are a creature of contrast: they spend most of their lives in the ocean, yet they play a key role in the ecology of the coastal forest. They are delicious and full of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids which sustains bald eagle populations, allows bears to fatten up for the winter, and provides up to half the nitrogen needed by the giant trees of the coastal rainforests. Thanks to instinctual abilities that are still not fully understood, each individual fish comes back to its native stream to spawn. This means that each river and stream has its own genetically distinct population or “run.” This genetic diversity is part of what makes wild salmon such amazing survival artists.

Meet the Villain: Salmon Farms in the Ocean

If you look at a map of the West Coast from Alaska to California, you will see hundreds of sheltered bays and inlets. This is where young salmon fry like to hang out and fatten up before swimming out into the open ocean. Unfortunately, these same bays and inlets are dotted with hundreds of giant salmon feedlots.

Imagine tens of thousands of fish held in net pens in the ocean. Because of overcrowding, they are swarming with parasites and disease and require constant application of chemicals. Wild salmon fry on their migration routes have to run the gauntlet of these farms and are no match for such an assault of parasites, particularly the notorious sea louse. As has been repeatedly demonstrated by research from scientists around the world, sea lice from fish farms are a key factor in killing off young fry. This process has already wiped out the plentiful salmon runs of Scotland, Ireland, Norway and other northern European counties. It will happen in North America, too, unless we, as consumers, stand up for wild salmon by boycotting open-net farmed salmon and demanding sustainable industry practices.

Farms Belong on Land

This doesn’t mean we must abandon the idea of salmon farming altogether. Impact on wild fish can be eliminated by keeping the farms on land, like any freshwater aquaculture. This is called closed-containment technology and has been successfully pioneered in Washington State. Look for the SweetSpring brand freshwater Coho, grown and harvested at a land-based closed containment salmon farm. SweetSpring Salmon is rated a SeaChoice “Best Choice.”

Large salmon farming conglomerates don’t like the idea of closed containment because they would rather have the ocean perform the service of cleaning and aerating the pens for free. This is where you and I come in with our magic cloak: customer power. Please vote with your wallet and tell your friends – withholding your dollar is the kind of feedback that ultimately the industry will not be able to ignore.

The Salmon Ladder

Step 1: If a fish is labelled “Farmed Salmon” or “Atlantic salmon,” leave it alone. Atlantic salmon has been fished practically to extinction in the wild so any Atlantic salmon sold commercially comes from open-net feedlots. The fish raised in closed containment are Pacific coho, not Atlantic.

Step 2: Choose “Farmed Salmon – Closed Containment” if you’re in a rush and don’t have time to investigate various wild salmon options. This is an ocean-friendly, sustainable choice.

Step 3: With wild salmon, play detective. Your efforts will be amply rewarded by the unbeatably delicious taste. Ask your server where your salmon was caught, then consult your SeaChoice guide or iPhone app for the most up-to-date rankings. The rankings can be different from fishery to fishery, and from species to species, depending on how they were caught and where.

Download Additional Resources:

Wait there’s more! Our wild Alaskan salmon are under threat: To learn more about how to protect one of our most valuable sustainable fisheries, check out the FRESH campaign to halt the construction of Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. We are pressuring the EPA to protect this sensitive watershed, rather than supporting corporate interests.

Ana Simeon works as communications coordinator and grassroots organizer for Sierra Club BC and Seachoice, a coalition of five internationally respected Canadian conservation organizations working to shift the market to sustainable seafood. Ana also writes for BC print and online media on environmental topics. Providing social media and online content for Seachoice taps into her passion for local food, food security and all things culinary.

Ana enjoys hiking, bird-watching, and grows a sizeable vegetable garden with her husband Tom. On cold, rainy days, she keeps to her fireside with a book from her extensive collection of 1930 British detective fiction.

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Posted on July 6, 2011 - by

Community Supported Fisheries: Changing the Way You Buy Seafood

Today’s guest blog post is brought to you by FishWise, a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings.

Land-based farmers have been doing it for years—collecting cash up front from customers at the beginning of the season and offering a consistent supply of fresh, high quality fruits, vegetables and other goods in return. And now, at a time when over 85% of American seafood is imported, U.S. fishermen are also getting on board, so to speak, and offering seasonal seafood to the local community.

This type of arrangement, whereby fishermen sell their product direct to the consumer, is known as a “community supported fishery” (CSF) and they have blossomed on the East coast, particularly North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Now CSFs are slowly but steadily establishing themselves around the rest of the country.

With the influx of cheaper and often less sustainable seafood imports (some types of farmed shrimp, farmed Atlantic salmon and some tuna species), U.S. fisherman are working hard to establish ways to earn a maximum return for their catch. With a CSF program, fishers get a much-needed cash injection at the beginning of the season when they need it most and can increase their share of the profits by selling directly to local customers. Also, when fishermen can earn more for their catch, they fish less aggressively which can mean less impact on the local environment and safer conditions for fishermen.

Just as importantly, you as the customer get the opportunity to learn about new fish species that you may not normally purchase, come to appreciate the seasonality of seafood, and help support local fishers and families, many of whom have been fishing for generations.

If you are interested in learning more, The North Atlantic Marine Alliance has put together a list of community supported fisheries around the country from San Luis Obispo, California to Port Clyde, New England – check it out!

FishWise is a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings through environmentally responsible business practices, such as policy development, employee training, sourcing assistance and point of sale information. This approach empowers consumer to make environmentally informed choices when purchasing seafood.

To learn more about sustainable seafood, visit www.fishwise.org or sign up for their mailing list.

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Posted on June 21, 2011 - by

Farmed – Not Necessarily a Dirty Word When it Comes to Sustainable Seafood


Image: flickr/rogersmith

Today’s guest blog post is brought to you by FishWise, a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings.

Farmed vs Wild Seafood – Few issues elicit more passionate discussion amongst seafood lovers worldwide. Regardless of your views on farmed seafood – positive, negative or maybe somewhere in between, one thing is for certain: aquaculture is only going to become more important in the future as a source of protein. In the last few years, aquaculture production has greatly increased and now accounts for half of the seafood production worldwide.

Without question, some farmed seafood is unsustainable. Many of you are probably aware of the removal of mangrove forests to make space for large scale shrimp farms in Southeast Asia and the disease, waste and fish escape issues associated with farmed Atlantic salmon in places such as Canada, Chile and Norway.

While improvements are needed for some farmed shrimp and salmon practices, sustainably farmed seafood is also plentiful. The U.S. is leading the way in sustainable farming practices with many species such as channel catfish, striped bass, rainbow trout, oysters and freshwater prawns – all ranked green “Best Choice” options. These species are sustainable as they use best management practices when farming. Just as importantly, they are easy to cook and taste fantastic.

So next time you are at the seafood counter, consider sustainable farmed options. Who knows, you might just like it!

FishWise is a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings through environmentally responsible business practices, such as policy development, employee training, sourcing assistance and point of sale information. This approach empowers consumer to make environmentally informed choices when purchasing seafood.

To learn more about sustainable seafood, visit www.fishwise.org or sign up for their mailing list.

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Posted on June 16, 2011 - by

Demand for Spiny Lobster Pushes Divers to Death

Today’s guest blogger is Eric Douglas, Director of Education for the Divers Alert Network. He is an advocate for spiny lobster divers, who face decompression sickness, paralysis and death, as they are forced to dive to greater depths to meet economic demands. It’s a sobering reminder that we must always remember the safety and well-being of the faces behind our food as we work for sustainable food systems.

Spiny lobster might be sustainable, but the harvesting techniques aren’t.

Around the world, divers harvest the sea for spiny lobster, abalone and other shellfish, while they face paralysis or death without understanding the danger.

Over the past year, Eric Douglas, Director of Education and Dr. Matias Nochetto, Director of Operations and Outreach at Divers Alert Network (DAN) have traveled to Honduras, Mexico and northeast Brazil to learn about these divers and to investigate ways to help.

The Disease

Decompression sickness (DCS) commonly referred to as “the bends” is a condition caused by exposure to depth and pressure. When divers spend too much time at depth, bubbles form in the body tissues and bloodstream, restricting blood flow and causing joint pain. Or they can form in the central nervous system, causing weakness, numbness or paralysis.

Worst Case

Of the three populations of divers Douglas and Nochetto are working with, the Miskito Indians from Honduras are by far the most troubling. They make eight to 12 dives a day to more than 100 feet for 12 days in a row, while living in squalid conditions on board boats filled with 100 or more people and no sanitation. They work very hard while at depth, swimming quickly to find the lobsters or hammering the conch shells to remove the animal.

The divers are paid by the pound for their catch, encouraged to dive and ignore minor symptoms. They only raise concerns when they are too weak to keep diving or can no longer walk. When groups have attempted to teach the divers techniques to dive more safely, the divers refuse, saying they can’t make enough money to support their families if they dive within established safe diving tables.

There are more than 2000 Miskito Indians who are members of the Association of Handicapped Miskito Indian Lobster Divers, yet the directors do not believe they represent all the Miskito Indians who have dive-related disabilities.

“Harvesting is literally costing men their lives. In La Moskitia, there are an estimated 200,000 Miskito Indians. That means approximately one percent of the total population is suffering from some disability brought on by diving,” Douglas said. “That is approximately five percent of the working age male population. It is just astounding that we can maim and kill an entire population and no one notices.”

The Environment

Marine Protected Areas, such as the one near Isla Natividad in Baja California Sur, Mexico have helped shore up the depletion of fisheries and natural resources. However, each year the divers still must dive deeper to fulfill their catch, as shallower waters become depleted.

Harvesting lobster using compressed air in Northeast Brazil, in the Rio Grande do Norte region, is actually illegal, yet the divers collect more than 6,000 tons of lobster annually for sale to foreign markets. In spite of the legal embargoes on fishing for lobster, the environmental organizations lack the ability to adequately patrol the coastline to enforce the laws. Diving for lobster has the highest incidence of workplace injury of any occupation in the region.

Efforts

“The world was shocked about the number of dolphins we were killing because of our hunger for tuna, but so far nothing has been said about the number of divers we kill because of our hunger for sea produce,” Nochetto said. “Whether it’s lobster from the Caribbean, Salmon from Chile, Sea Cucumber from Zanzibar, Conch or Abalone from Mexico, the problem is quite always the same. Human ambitions for making a naturally limited product ubiquitous and inexpensive have a woefully unacceptable cost, both from an ecological point of view as well as from a public health perspective. The incidence of death and permanent disabilities as a result of an occupational hazard among commercial non-professional harvesting divers is pandemic,” he concluded.

DAN is reviewing the diving techniques and trying to find simple ways to increase the diver’s safety margins, using decompression stops or other techniques to help their bodies reduce their decompression stress. They are also working to support the hyperbaric chambers that treat these divers with training and educational programs to make sure the divers receive the best care. Lastly, the organization is working to offer training in oxygen first aid to help the divers care for themselves and each other.

But until these divers can make a living diving more safely, being paid adequately for their catch, men will continue to be paralyzed or die in search of lobster.

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Posted on June 14, 2011 - by

Choosing Sustainable Seafood: 4 to Avoid and 4 to Seek Out

Our guest post today comes from sustainable seafood expert Casson Trenor, Senior Markets Campaigner at GreenpeaceUSA, author of the book and blog Sustainable Sushi, and sustainable seafood consultant for the San Francisco restaurant Tataki. We look forward to continued collaboration with Casson in the future!

Our oceans are in a perilous state. Rampant abuse and rapacity has led us down a dangerous path; stories of overfishing, toxic contamination, and ocean acidification put consumers in a state of confusion and fear at the seafood counter. Luckily, all is not lost—by making informed choices, we can enjoy healthy, delicious seafood while supporting fishermen that are doing their utmost to work in harmony with the planet. Here are four examples of fish we just shouldn’t eat, followed by four sustainable, restorative seafood options that merit our support:

Bluefin Tuna

The fish that fed Rome’s legions now barely ekes out an existence as it is hunted relentlessly to satisfy the top echelon of the world’s sushi industry. Bluefin prices soar while stocks continue to plummet, shackled to the twin lead weights of insatiable demand and ineffectual management.

Bluefin stocks around the world are verging on utter collapse and yet fishing pressure does not abate. Politics and short-sighted economic interests are nearly always victorious over science and environmental consciousness whenever this bluefin is involved. But even if we can’t depend on political processes, we can least put the chopsticks down.

Orange Roughy

Orange roughy simply isn’t built to withstand heavy fishing pressure. First off, it reaches market size well before sexual maturity — a lamentable characteristic, since this results in many roughy being eaten before they’ve had a chance to reproduce and repopulate the fishery. Second, the animal itself can live to a tremendous age — 90-year-old roughy are not uncommon (at least, they weren’t before we started eating them all). Fish that live that long are generally not built to reproduce in great numbers; they have evolutionarily invested in longevity rather than in quantity of offspring.

To worsen matters, orange roughy is caught using wantonly destructive bottom trawl nets, and its flesh is a simple, flaky white fillet (there are other, more sustainable sources for this type of product.) It’s best to avoid this species altogether.

Shark (and Shark Fin)

Sharks are apex predators, feeding slowly from the top of the food chain and ensuring the populations of other animals in their areas are kept in check. Without sharks, we see population explosions of their prey items, which in turn devastate the organisms they prey upon, and so on. The removal of a single shark from the food system it polices is akin to hurtling a massive monkey wrench into the core gears of the ocean’s ecological stabilization machinery, and we are tossing out somewhere between 50 and 100 million of these wrenches every year.

While many sharks are killed accidentally as bycatch in longline fisheries that target other animals (longlined swordfish is particularly worrisome), the majority of annual shark casualties are perpetrated intentionally by those in the shark fin industry. Shark fins—used for soup, especially for weddings and other significant events, by certain segments of the world’s Chinese communities—can fetch astronomical prices and are often used to convey a message of status and wealth.

Chilean Sea Bass

The Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish (aka Chilean sea bass) are long-lived, slow-to-reproduce apex predators. Decade after decade, we have pushed the boundaries of our oceans in every way imaginable — geographically (ships are going further), bathymetrically (ships are fishing deeper), and temporally (ships are spending more time on the water). In our quest for seafood, we strain at the very boundaries of our food system, until we reach the ocean’s farthest-flung reaches in all three categories — by dropping hooks to the ocean floor off of Antarctica in the middle of winter.

That is how, where, and when we catch Chilean sea bass.

Sustainable fishing simply cannot occur in an area and at a depth that is so obviously a reaction to an overblown and exhausted food system that, because of its inability to balance itself, has cantilevered out into dangerous extremes.

Still, it’s not all doom-and-gloom in the seafood world. Here are four great options that merit our support – fish and fisheries that are hallmarks of a different kind of seafood industry: one that operates with the welfare of the oceans in mind.

1. Sardines

First of all, I’m not talking about the unidentifiable, semi-fossilized fish paste that you find covered in oil or mustard sauce when you open up a sardine tin — fresh sardines are a totally different animal. They are inexpensive, delectable indulgences that carry fabulous flavors, perform marvelously on a grill, and are used by top-level sushi chefs to make mouth-watering nigiri and sashimi dishes. Even better, these tiny delights are packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids while their short lifecycle keeps them relatively mercury-free. Unfortunately, we’re using them in the worst possible way.

The vast majority of our sardines are sold to foreign bluefin tuna ranches, where they are used to fatten up juveniles that have been purloined from wild stocks. This is a problem on many levels: bluefin tuna are severely endangered, have little Omega-3 content, can be extremely high in mercury, and are exorbitantly expensive. We’re using our sardines — healthy, delicious fish that most Americans can afford — to fuel a foreign industry that is harming the ocean in order to create a luxury good with dubious health benefits that is only available to the very wealthy.

Buying sardines from your local fish market helps to create a reward system for sardine fishermen. If the demand for these fish in the US marketplace continues to grow, our fishermen won’t need to sell their entire catch (at a ridiculously low price, I might add) to a foreign bluefin ranch.

2. Wild Salmon

There are four reasons to eat wild Alaskan salmon. One — it tastes fantastic. Two — it’s a high-Omega-3, low-mercury fish. Three — it’s a relatively sustainable industry that merits our support. And four — the alternative, conventional farmed salmon, sucks.

Farmed salmon tends to be raised in the open-net pens situated in sheltered bays and coves. There are no controls to mitigate the flow of ocean water in and out of these pens. As such, there are tremendous problems with the transmission of diseases, parasites, genetic material, and waste from these pens to the ecosystems around them. Links between salmon farms and the degradation of wild salmon populations in places like Canada and Norway are well-established. Also, the salmon farming industry has a real problem with antibiotic abuse.

Wild Alaskan salmon provides a delicious alternative to all this nonsense. Thanks to progressive fishery management, we have access to a domestic product that is comparatively sustainable and healthy. To make matters even better, recent marketing efforts for previously underappreciated species like keta (chum) and sockeye have helped to make wild Alaskan salmon available at price points that are competitive with farmed products.

3. Dungeness Crab

For shellfish lovers, it is difficult to find a better option than Dungeness crab. These fisheries are extremely well-managed and have been so for decades. The crabs are caught in non-lethal traps which keep bycatch at negligible levels and allow female and juvenile crabs to be returned unharmed to the seabed. This process, whereby only mature males are taken, helps to keep Dungeness crab populations resilient and robust. Additionally, the number of crabs that can be landed during a given season is carefully measured and kept to levels that will keep populations thriving.

With such precise targeting on top of strong science-based quotas, our Dungeness crab fisheries provide excellent examples of progressive resource management. And the kicker? Dungeness crab is among the best-tasting shellfish in the world. Grab a cracker and go to town.

4. Pole-caught Skipjack Tuna

Canned tuna is a hugely popular seafood item, and also a tremendous problem. The species that’s most often used for this purpose is a small, quickly growing tuna species called skipjack. Due to its physiology and life history, skipjack has the potential to be a strong sustainable seafood option; unfortunately, the tuna industry that feed our appetite for ersatz, steam-cooked tuna meat is wreaking havoc on our oceans. Skipjack boats generally fish with purse seine nets and fish aggregating devices (free-floating rafts that attract many different types of fish), also known as FADs. The use of FADs ensures that these boats take far more creatures than just mature skipjack — billfish, sharks, juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tunas, and even turtles are attracted by the FADs and subsequently ensnared by the seine nets.

Thankfully, a new industry is beginning to develop — skipjack tuna caught on a pole-and-line. It’s the same fish, but the use of a pole rather than a FAD and purse seine allows fishermen to be much more precise about what they do and do not catch. Next time you’re shopping for canned tuna, look for the words “pole caught” on the can to support companies that are trying to do right by our oceans.

Casson Trenor is Senior Markets Campaigner with Greenpeace USA, where he spearheads the organization’s efforts to hold restaurants and supermarkets accountable for their seafood sustainability practices and to help educate the public about the global fisheries crisis. He is the author of Sustainable Sushi and a founder ofTataki Sushi Bar, the world’s first sustainable sushi restaurant. The material in this post originally appeared on Alternet.org.

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Posted on June 6, 2011 - by

GMO Food Toxin Found in the Blood of Pregnant Moms

In conjunction with our petition to the FDA to label genetically-engineered foods, we’ve partnered with author Robyn O’Brien to bring you groundbreaking news on toxins that leach from these foods.

New research from Canada has found a food toxin that is produced in insect resistant crops developed in the United States in the blood of pregnant women, their unborn babies and the general population.

It is the first study to show that these toxins, which are produced in genetically modified crops widely used in the United States and patented by the agrichemical industry, have not only survived the digestive tract but also passed the placental barrier and entered the bloodstream of unborn babies.

Pesticides used on crops that have been genetically engineered to withstand increasing doses of herbicides and weed killers were also found in the bloodstreams of these women.

The food toxin found is used in a strain of corn that is widely used in the United States as livestock feed and has been genetically modified to produce an insecticidal protein. This corn has received cultivation approval by the European Union but has not been widely adopted outside of the United States and is currently banned in France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Luxemburg and Greece.  Because of the toxin that this corn contains, the corn is now regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as an insecticide.

This is the first study to dispute the claim by industry that no genetically engineered protein survives intact in the intestinal tract or can enter the bloodstream, given that this study detected this food toxin, known as Cry1Ab toxin, in the bloodstream of not only pregnant women but also their unborn babies.

The research was conducted by a team of scientists at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec and has been accepted for publication in the peer reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology. The team took blood samples from 30 pregnant women prior to delivery, 30 samples from umbilical cords immediately after birth and samples from 39 non-pregnant women who were undergoing treatment. All the women were of a similar age and body mass index, and none worked with pesticides or lived with anyone who did.

Traces of the toxin were found 93% of the pregnant mothers and in 80% of the umbilical cords. The research suggested the chemicals were entering the body through eating meat, milk and eggs from farm livestock which have been fed GM corn.

The findings appear to contradict the GM industry’s long-standing claim that any potentially harmful chemicals added to crops would pass safely through the body, according to an article in the UK Telegraph.

“To date, most of the global research which has been used to demonstrate the safety of genetically modified crops has been funded by the industry itself,” states the article.

The findings add to concerns about the toxicity and potential allergenicity of these genetically engineered proteins expressed by many scientists and reinforce the importance of exercising precaution when it comes to protecting the health of the pregnant mothers and their babies.

To avoid these genetically modified proteins and toxins in your family’s diet, you can look for food labeled “USDA Organic” as by law, these foods are not allowed to contain these insecticidal proteins or genetically engineered organisms.  You can also look for products labeled “Non-GMO”.  To learn more, please see our tips, Want to Steer Clear of GMOs? Here’s How.

The article above was originally published by Allergy Kids Foundation.

About Robyn O’Brien

Robyn authored “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It.” A former food industry analyst, Robyn brings insight, compassion and detailed analysis to her research into the impact that the global food system is having on the health of our children. She founded www.allergykidsfoundation.org and was named by Forbes as one of “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter.” The New York Times has passionately described her as “Food’s Erin Brockovich.” You can learn more at www.robynobrien.com.

Sources and Notes

Aziz A. and Leblanc S., 2010, Reproductive Toxicology, accepted 13 February 2011.

Seralini G-E., Mesnage R. Clair E., Greese S., Spiroux de Vendômois J.ann Cellier D., 2010. Environmental Sciences Europe 2011, 23:10, see www.enveurope.com/content/23/1/10.

Benachour N and Séralini G-E, 2009. Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells, Chemical Research in Toxicology Vol22 No1 pp 97-105 available from http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/tx800218n.

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