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Menu Overhaulin’

I just graduated this spring from UW-Madison’s Dietetics program. For three years while I was in school, I worked for the Kids Center at the Madison Veterans Affairs Hospital. Back in February 2013, I was given the authority to completely revamp the menu at the VA Kids Center. You must understand that this decision was momentous! For the past seven years, the Kids Center had been operating with a menu inspired by the Great Depression era and pre-World War II rations. Mmmm, there’s nothing like a warm bowl of white rice for breakfast. There was an incredible amount of eggs in these meals. Egg salad, fried eggs, boiled eggs, and scrambled eggs were the pièce de résistance! Let me tell you, these kids did not enjoy all these eggs with their meals, particularly menu items like egg salad. The overwhelming majority of menu items lacked any creativity or zest. They

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How To Do GMO Food Labeling Right

A Modest Proposal Should food with ingredients from genetically engineered crops – “GMOs” – be labeled?  Many argue that consumers have a “right to know” about this.  Ok, if the real reason for labeling is to provide consumers with knowledge, then the label should read: “Contains ingredients from biotech enhanced crops approved by the USDA, FDA and EPA” That would tell people what is unique about these crops.  Humans have been genetically modifying crops for centuries using a variety of methods.  The difference for genetically engineered crops is that they must be fully characterized and tested in order to gain approval from three different regulatory agencies – the USDA, the EPA and the FDA (there is a description of this process below if you are interested).  Crops modified in other ways including those generated by conventional breeding, mutation breeding or “wide crosses” or hybrids or doubled haploids don’t have to be tested or approved at all.  The clear,

Frank wants to learn more about wheat.

Get the scoop on GMO wheat in Oregon

Most Biofortified Blog readers will have heard by now that glyphosate tolerant genetically engineered wheat has been found growing in a field in Oregon. There’s a lot of interesting details to consider, but for now we’ll start with a simple list of links to help you find reliable information as this story develops. First, let’s look at some general information about regulation of agricultural biotechnology in the US. There are three agencies that cover different aspects: FDA covers aspects that involve human or animal safety. FDA’s Role in Regulating Safety of GE Foods. EPA covers plant incorporated protectants (PIPs for short, which refers to any compound produced in plants that may act as a pesticide, such as Bt). EPA’s Regulation of Biotechnology for Use in Pest Management. USDA covers aspects that involve agriculture (including consideration of natural resources), specifically plant health. Within USDA, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Peppers produce a variety of natural pesticides, including capsaicin. Peppers by James Walsh via Flickr.

How Wrong Is The Latest “Dirty Dozen List?”

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) says that it “helps protect your family from pesticides.” The purpose of this post is to “help protect your family from dangerously misleading information from the EWG.” Each year since 1991, the USDA has been publishing the results from a large-scale pesticide residue monitoring program called the Pesticide Data Program (PDP). Each year, a different set of crops is chosen and samples are purchased from regular stores and tested. Year after year, the results of those studies confirm the safety of the food supply. Year after year the EWG misrepresents the data to say otherwise. To understand what that is like for the people who farm those crops, consider this analogy: Imagine that you are taking a college course that is critical for your graduation, but your entire grade is based on the performance of thousands of other students you don’t even know and with

Misuse Of A Vietnam Era Tragedy

Mark Twain once said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  There was a perfect example of that last month.  The Center for Food Safety (CFS) spread the term, “Agent Orange Corn” for Dow AgroSciences’ new biotech corn hybrids that are working their way through the regulatory process.   These hybrids have been modified to be more resistant to 2,4-D, an herbicide that was introduced in 1948.  This is being cast as a return to the use of Agent Orange and that is completely untrue.  There is a lot of interesting detail behind this, but the CFS moniker for the corn is a classic case of information twisting – twisting in a way that is intentionally misleading.  The reason that the term “Agent Orange Corn” is inaccurate can be discovered in a 1-minute Wikipedia search, but this did not prevent