Wednesday, October 31, 2012

GMOs: Trust Corporations to Decide What's Best PSA

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chefs Back Measure on Labeling G.M.O.’s

By Stephanie Strom, Diner's Journal, New York Times

Alice Waters / Laura Morton for The New York Times 
More than 700 of the nation’s chefs and professional foodies, from prominent names like David Bouley to up-and-comers like the chef Bryant Terry of Oakland, have lined up to support a California ballot measure that would require food companies to label products containing genetically engineered ingredients.

“We’re talking about the provenance of food, and there’s nothing more important to chefs like me,” said Alice Waters, the founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., and legendary proponent of locally grown foods. “We need to know where our food comes from and how it’s produced, who produces it. That’s the bedrock of what we do.”

Ms. Waters said she initially thought she needed to do no more than vote “yes” for the ballot measure, Proposition 37, when she went to her polling place on Nov. 6. But a visit to Sonoma County from Carlo Petrini, the founder of the slow food movement, convinced her that she needed to become more active.

“He had come to talk about Slow Food and the change in leadership, but the first thing he started talking about was Prop 37,” Ms. Waters said, referring to the nonprofit Mr. Petrini founded in 1989 to nurture the movement. “He talked about Europe looking to the vote in California and how we needed to take this on, and I decided then that I needed to do whatever I could.  I needed to get active.”

So she sent out an e-mail late Friday night, asking chefs she knew around the country to lend their support to the campaign to get the ballot measure passed. By Monday morning, 100 chefs had signed up, and 200 more quickly signed on once word got out on Twitter and other social networks.

On Tuesday, Mr. Bouley became the 516th chef to sign onto the cause.

“Whether it’s calorie labeling in chain restaurants or chefs putting on their menus what farm they bought the lamb from, people want to know more about their food and where it comes from,” said Peter Hoffman, chef and founder of the now-closed Savoy, a farm-to-table pioneer in SoHo, and the Back 40 restaurants. “So this isn’t about whether G.M.O. is right or wrong, it’s about transparency. And when someone opposes transparency, what does it tell you?”

Mr. Hoffman noted that avoiding foods with genetically engineered ingredients is becoming harder and harder. For instance, he said he recently learned that most white vinegar sold in supermarkets comes from corn and thus is likely to be genetically modified.

Dan Barber, the executive chef and an owner of the Blue Hill restaurants, joked that he himself engages in genetic engineering, together with his partners at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, a nonprofit farm and education center in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., that supplies some of the ingredients used in the dishes he makes at his restaurants.

The current menu, for instance, features a new, proprietary variety of squash that he and his partners at the farm have grown by cross-breeding conventional squashes. “That sometimes results in some outrage from customers initially until we explain what we’re doing,” Mr. Barber said.
But he makes a distinction between what he is doing and what the food and agribusiness companies that have poured tens of millions of dollars into opposing the ballot measure are doing. “They are inserting genes at will, sometimes from completely different species, and creating things in a lab that would never occur in nature,” Mr. Barber said. “We don’t support that.”

Friday, October 26, 2012

Infograph: What Does "Organic" Really Mean?

[via Loku


There's an App for That

While we all sit on the edge of our seats awaiting the results of the upcoming proposition in California, the folks over at Fooducate released a phone app designed to tell you if there are GMO ingredients in your food. In an effort to eliminate nutrition label confusion the app provides the user with GMO information for about 200,000 products.

And while the app cannot replace individual due diligence and mainly common sense shopping, it's always nice having more options to educate the general public on the importance of GMO labeling.

iPhone screen shots

Learn more about Fooducate Apps on their website:

[via Fast Co.]

Dr. Oz Officially Endorses GMO Labeling

Arguably the most influential health expert in the US, Dr. Mehmet Oz, has officially endorsed Proposition 37 in California, which makes GMO labeling on many (not all) food products. If this imitative passes in the state of California, it will set wheels in motion for all food companies nationwide. With only two weeks until the election, the Dr. Oz endorsement is a key development for those in favor of food freedom.
According to the press release, Dr. Oz concluded his show on Wednesday, Oct. 17 about the topic of GMOs with the following quote: “”Right now we have no way of knowing which foods have been genetically modified. I believe you should have that right,” said Dr. Oz, at the conclusion of the segment, titled GMO Foods: Are They Dangerous to Your Health? “I prefer to be cautious.”

Now that Dr. Oz is on board, the pendulum should swing back in the direction of common sense, and in favor of GMO labeling. Companies change labels all the time, so adding a small “May contain genetically modified ingredients” tag to their products shouldn’t be too taxing. Thankfully, the truth is coming out about GMOs, and the revolution is underway. [via The Natural Independent]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Have a 'Greener' Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner and before you know it, you'll be getting handfuls of little four-foot monsters, ghosts, and ghouls knocking on your door. And that means a lot of candy with questionable ingredients and excessive waste.

This year, look for natural candy and when possible Fair Trade certified sweets. A great resource for this is Natural Candy Store, a family-run business located in California and THE online place to go to find vegan and organic candy. All of the items are clearly marked with symbols to identify what categories they fall into, including those made in the US. Additionally, every piece they sell contains NO artificial colors or dyes, NO artificial flavors, NO artificial sweeteners, NO preservatives, NO hydrogenated oils. Check them out, you still have a several days to place your order just in time for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Health Benefits and Drawbacks of Coffee

One of the reasons we love Care2 so much is their consistency in producing informative, balanced content that focuses just as much on the benefits as it does the drawbacks. That being said, we were very interested to learn about the health benefits and drawbacks of something that millions of us enjoy and at times depend on to get us through our day.
Coffee is the cattle prod of beverages. The very aroma is enough to coax most people out of bed in the morning, and millions of Americans rely on java’s jolt to ramp up their energy and propel them through the workday. Collectively, we drink an astounding 350 million cups of coffee a day in this country.
Coffee presents a conundrum for the body, however.
On one hand, the brew brims with free-radical-fighting antioxidants, which helps explain its protective, anti-inflammatory effect against everything from type 2 diabetes to heart disease. Caffeine itself, which is a nervous-system stimulant, leads to sharper focus and enhanced concentration, and it can brighten a bad mood.
“For some individuals, caffeine is something of a miracle drug,” says Daniel Evatt, PhD, a researcher in the department of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “These individuals report several benefits with minimal negative effects. However, other caffeine users can develop a bad relationship with it, consisting of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and other problems, such as sleep difficulties and anxiety.”
That’s the catch. Coffee came by the nickname “jitter juice” honestly. Ingest too much caffeine and a pleasant buzz can nosedive into restlessness, nervousness, insomnia and even muscle twitching. The effect is so reliable, says Laura Juliano, PhD, a caffeine researcher at American University in Washington, D.C., that researchers who study anxiety use caffeinated coffee to incite feelings of anxiousness in study participants.
But not everyone responds the same. A small cup of coffee leaves some people feeling twitchy while others can down a pot without batting an eye. Body weight, age, gender and even genetics may factor in to how the body metabolizes caffeine, says Evatt. Which is why coffee’s vice-and-virtue story is comparable with red wine and chocolate — satisfying substances that are healthy and that attract enthusiasts, but require sensible consumption.
Here’s what the experts say about squeezing the health benefits from the bean without getting burned:

Antioxidant Elixir
Coffee is the single greatest source of antioxidants in the American diet. Ounce-for-ounce, other foods, such as blueberries, pecans and even cinnamon, pack more antioxidants than coffee, but they aren’t nearly as popular.
On average, coffee drinkers down 3.4 cups a day, gleaning 40 percent of their daily antioxidants from the brew. (In comparison, fruits and vegetables account for just 23 percent.) The number is high partly because people drink so much coffee, but it’s also because the beverage is brimming with polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in many vegetables and berries.
Polyphenols confer some serious health benefits. In particular, they destroy free radicals, which are rogue molecules that create inflammation. Unchecked inflammation underlies many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The more antioxidants in the diet, the less inflammation in the body, says John Hibbs, ND, a senior clinician at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash. “A cell that can control intracellular inflammatory processes is going to survive better under the duress of daily living.” (For people who prefer “unleaded” java, the good news is that decaf coffee has just as many antioxidants as the “leaded” version.)
Deter Diabetes
New data reveals that one of coffee’s unexpected benefits may be helping to prevent type 2 diabetes, a disease predicted to affect one in three Americans by 2050, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rob van Dam, PhD, a nutritionist at the Harvard School of Public Health, led one of the largest research projects to date — a meta-analysis of nine cohort studies with nearly 200,000 participants — and found that subjects who drank six or more cups of coffee a day lowered their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 35 percent. Granted, that’s a lot of coffee, potentially enough to trigger negative side effects in some. But those who drank between four and six cups daily still had a 28 percent risk reduction, and other studies have shown a significant benefit with just one cup a day. “The important point is that when all the evidence is weighed, the benefit isn’t restricted to those who drink the most,” van Dam says.
It’s worth noting that caffeine is not the magic ingredient here, since decaf drinkers enjoy the same diabetes-thwarting benefit. At this point, the mechanism of that benefit isn’t clear. Some think a substance in coffee called chlorogenic acid slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Others hypothesize that it’s the beverage’s antioxidants that help regulate the body’s sensitivity to insulin. “It’s all a bit speculative at this point,” says van Dam.
Keep in mind, too, that studies showing health benefits for type 2 diabetes and beyond are based on coffee that’s black or with only a little milk or sugar — a far cry from the frothy, milky, super-sweet concoctions sold in many cafés today. “People may not realize that having a beverage like that could lead to weight gain,” says van Dam, “which could in turn increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, and that’s a major concern.”
Rustproof Your Heart
Like wine, coffee confers heart benefits. When researchers looked at more than 27,000 women in the Iowa Women’s Health Study, they found that coffee drinkers (one to three cups a day) lowered their risk of heart disease by 24 percent compared with their non-coffee-drinking peers. Women who drank four to five cups a day were 33 percent less likely to die from any inflammatory disease.

Again, the beneficial ingredient is most likely the antioxidants. The foundation of heart disease is inflammation of the blood vessels, which is instigated and propagated by free radicals. And nothing combats free radicals better than antioxidants.
“Coffee delivers a whole host of antioxidants that essentially prevent you from rusting from the inside out,” says James O’Keefe, MD, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.
For people with high cholesterol, however, there is a caveat. Coffee contains two oily substances — cafestol and kahweol — that can raise blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the “bad” cholesterol). The oils are released when beans are brewed, and they easily pass through the metal filters used in French press and stovetop espresso pots. Paper filters, on the other hand, which are used in drip coffee machines, trap the substances before they hit the cup, virtually eliminating any risk of an uptick in cholesterol.
Buffer Your Brain
The caffeine in coffee could also safeguard your noggin. Consider coffee’s impact on depression — a scourge that affects millions of Americans. Data from the Nurses’ Health Study shows that rates of depression lower in lockstep with the amount of coffee consumed. Compared with those who drank no more than one cup of coffee a week, women who drank four or more daily cups experienced depression 20 percent less often.
Since drinkers of decaf suffered from the blues just as often as people who didn’t drink coffee at all, scientists suspect caffeine is the blues buster.
Exactly how the substance fights depression is not well understood, but it is known that when it enters the brain, caffeine changes levels of chemical messengers such as serotonin and dopamine, which are linked to feelings of joy and enthusiasm, says Michel Lucas, PhD, RD, a research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health. “Caffeine increases your energy levels and feelings of wellness, two things that can have an impact on depression.”
Studies also show a 30 percent reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s disease among coffee drinkers, for similar reasons. That’s because Parkinson’s is caused by the loss of brain cells that make dopamine, a chemical instrumental in movement and fine motor control.

Caffeine Overload
Regardless of the benefits, of course, you can drink too much of a good thing. Caffeine, like nicotine and amphetamines, can be highly addictive. Regularly drinking 100 milligrams (the amount in 6 ounces of drip coffee) is enough to create a physical dependence. “It acts on the motivational brain mechanisms that make you want to use more, regardless of how it makes you feel,” says Evatt.
If you’ve ever overindulged in caffeine, you know that it can make you feel pretty crummy. That’s because excess caffeine goads the adrenal glands into releasing stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, that can put the brain and body into a panic-like state.
That’s not just unpleasant, it’s unhealthy. “The more caffeine you have onboard, the more often you trigger the body’s emergency response system,” says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, a board-certified internist and author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now! (Fairwinds Press, 2010). “And, if I keep setting off the siren every 10 minutes, I’m going to burn out.”
Caffeine’s artificial energy boost can also distance people from their natural energy rhythms, says Elson Haas, MD, founder and director of the Preventive Medical Center Marin in San Rafael, Calif., and coauthor of The Detox Diet, Third Edition (Ten Speed Press, 2012). Caffeine’s false-energy effect can encourage people to overdo, and dissuade them from taking recovery breaks when they should. “Pretty soon you’re both wired and tired,” he says.
Over time, the adrenal glands may not make enough cortisol to maintain a baseline of energy, a condition referred to as adrenal fatigue. “You are pushing on an organ that doesn’t have the reserves to respond to the stimulant anymore,” Haas says. (For more on adrenal fatigue, see
Decaf seems like an obvious way to deal with jitters, but the safety of the standard decaffeination process worries some health-conscious consumers. To strip the caffeine from the bean, most coffee companies use chemical solvents, such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. The solvents are rinsed away at the end of the process, but if you are concerned about chemical residue, look for companies selling coffee decaffeinated via the Swiss Water Process, which uses water instead of chemicals. (For more on decaf, see “Pass the Decaf,” below.)
The best way to avoid long-term complications is to experiment with how you can enjoy caffeine without overdoing it. People metabolize caffeine differently, notes Hibbs. “Constitutionally, we are all different,” he says, “and certain people are more susceptible to the negative effects than others.”
So, if you’re not a fan of the brew, don’t feel compelled to join the coffee club. Although their exact compounds vary, green and black teas also have high levels of antioxidants.
If you really enjoy your java, though, don’t fret. In tandem with healthy sources of energy, such as nutritious food, regular exercise and restful sleep, you can enjoy that caffeine boost.
“Feed your body, use your body, rest your body and do things you love” is Teitelbaum’s mantra. “And, if you need a little boost,” he adds, “a cup of coffee is perfectly reasonable.”
One Hot Energy Drink
In athletes, caffeine is one of the few legal drugs scientifically proven to boost performance. It mobilizes fat stores, freeing up energy for hard-working muscles. It also draws more calcium into muscles, thereby strengthening their contraction. And it triggers the brain to release endorphins, which raises a person’s pain threshold. If you’re worried about dehydration, don’t be. The notion that caffeine causes the body to lose precious water stores has been widely refuted by studies showing caffeine has no negative impact on hydration.
Coffee Bean Primer
Coffee drinkers used to have one decision to make: regular or decaf. But the rise in gourmet and specialty coffees demands that we all become coffee connoisseurs. When faced with a choice of beans, here are a few basics to keep in mind:
  • Bean: The two most commonly used coffee-plant varieties are arabica and robusta. Arabica beans are considered by many to be more flavorful; hence they are more expensive and often used in gourmet coffees. The less expensive robusta beans are used primarily to make instant coffee and have roughly twice the caffeine as arabica.
  • Roast: Darker roasts, like French, contain less caffeine than lighter roasts because some of the caffeine burns off during the roasting process. Roasting also degrades the polyphenol antioxidants. So, if you are looking for a bigger kick, choose a lighter roast.
  • Grind: Generally, the finer the grind, the more caffeine you will extract. Whether you want a fine or coarse grind, though, depends on how long the water will be in contact with the beans. If it’s just a few seconds, like espresso, a finer grind maximizes contact between water and the surface area of the beans. If it’s a few minutes, like a French press, a coarser grind ensures a smooth, mellow cup. Espresso packs less caffeine per serving than drip coffee, but espresso will give you a quicker buzz if you drink it in one or two gulps, like many do.
  • Aroma: Coffee’s aroma is both distinctive and alluring. In one study, just the smell of coffee was enough to increase people’s typing speed. Roasted coffee beans contain roughly 800 aromatic compounds. As with wine, coffee’s aromatic compounds — and, therefore, its flavor — are heavily influenced by geography. Elevation, moisture and temperature are just three examples of what makes coffee grown in Central America taste different from coffee grown in East Africa.

Pass the Decaf
Not everyone can tolerate caffeine. The jolt to the central nervous system can exacerbate stress, anxiety and insomnia. Caffeine also amps up the stomach’s production of gastric juices, so coffee can cause heartburn or worsen symptoms of irritable bowel disease. Babies lack an enzyme needed to metabolize caffeine, so lactating women are advised to nix the habit.
Some research even links caffeine to an increased risk of miscarriage, so pregnant women are also advised to take a pass. The good news is that decaf coffee contains most of the same health properties as regular. The bad news is that it’s not completely caffeine-free. In the United States, 97 percent of the caffeine must be eliminated for coffee beans to be labeled decaffeinated. Drink enough decaf, and you’ll still get a little buzz. If you do choose decaf, be sure to opt for one that has been decaffeinated without chemical solvents.
One Cup at a Time 
Health benefits notwithstanding, it’s important to remember that coffee can be addictive. Most coffee drinkers ingest an average of 300 to 400 mg. of caffeine a day. “For many people, the daily use of caffeine is fueled by a desire to avoid withdrawal,” says Laura Juliano, PhD, a caffeine expert at American University in Washington, D.C. “Once you are dependent on it, you may be in pretty bad shape without it.”
The most common complaint of caffeine withdrawal is headaches. Inside the brain, caffeine plugs into receptors meant for the neurotransmitter adenosine. When adenosine is unfettered, the body relaxes, as widening blood vessels up the flow of oxygen to cells. When caffeine elbows adenosine out of the way, blood vessels constrict and you feel wired. Worse, once you are addicted, if you deprive your brain of caffeine, the blood vessels in your head will dilate and the rush of blood to the brain causes a pounding headache. The misery can last anywhere from 24 hours to nine days.
Other signs of caffeine withdrawal include fatigue, irritability, trouble concentrating and flulike symptoms. To lower the likelihood and severity of withdrawal symptoms, cut back gradually by curbing your intake 10 to 25 percent every few days.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Whole Foods and GMO Labeling

A couple weeks ago, we reported on Whole Foods' new program that ensures any "organic" personal care products sold in their stores live up to the claims made by manufacturers. The positive sentiment following this news did not last long however, as Whole Foods has come under scrutiny from the organic community and its customers following what many are viewing as a much delayed and insincere endorsement of Prop 37. 

Whole Foods and GMO Labeling: The Whole Truth

Ronnie Cummings, Director Organic Consumers Association
After months of pressure from the organic community, including thousands of its customers, the leadership of Whole Foods Market on September 11 endorsed Proposition 37, the California Ballot Initiative to require mandatory labels on genetically engineered foods. But the endorsement came with “reservations” and inaccuracies. It also included the false claim that company policy precludes Whole Foods and its executives from providing much-needed financial support to Prop 37, a campaign that consumers – the very people who have made WFM and its executives wildly profitable – overwhelmingly support.
Is it possible that Whole Foods wants to ride the GMO labeling popularity wave while it quietly works behind the scenes to prevent Prop 37, or any other GMO labeling law, from passing? Could it be that a GMO labeling law – especially one like Prop 37 that prohibits the use of the word “natural” on any food containing GMOs – would cut too deeply into the company’s $9.8 billion in sales and almost $246 million in profits?
Right up until the company announced its lukewarm endorsement, Vice President of Global Communications and Quality Standards Margaret Wittenberg and other WFM top brass repeatedly stated that they would not endorse Prop 37. CEO John Mackey has reportedly claimed that “the jury is still out” on whether genetically engineered crops and foods are unhealthy for people or the environment. (Mackey also has stated that “no scientific consensus exists” to support global warming or climate change).
And while the company website states that WFM is “committed to foods that are fresh, wholesome and safe to eat”, nowhere on its list of unacceptable ingredients is there any mention of GMOs.
So why come out with a public endorsement of Prop 37? With national polls showing 90% support for GMO labeling, and voter support for Prop 37 running 67% for and 24% against, it was just common-sense marketing strategy to get behind the initiative. But was it really an endorsement?
When it first came out, WFM’s official endorsement contained misleading information that read straight from the opposition’s playbook. It also contained one glaring error.  Initially, the company listed among its “reservations” about Prop 37 this incorrect statement: The use of 0.5% of the total weight as the upper limit for processed foods that contain one or more genetically engineered ingredients to be exempted from labeling is inconsistent with the long-established international labeling standard of 0.9%.
Not true. The OCA contacted the authors of the official press release and offered this correction, taken straight from the ballot initiative itself: The 0.5% exemption is for one ingredient and a food can have up to ten such ingredients, meaning a 5.0% exemption (until 2019).
It took them several days, but WFM public relations team did finally issue a correction. But the correction did little to strengthen the company’s endorsement, which continues to perpetuate the exact same myths that the NO on 37 campaign is now airing in its $35-million TV advertising blitz. The endorsement echoes biotech industry claims that Prop 37 is “too complicated.” That GMO food labeling is best left up to the pro-biotech federal government and the FDA (don’t hold your breath for this), rather than the states. That if passed, Prop 37 will result in greedy trial lawyers suing innocent grocery stores, farmers, and food processors for not labeling or mislabeling GMO foods.
None of this is true – as has been repeatedly outlined by the YES on Prop 37 campaign.

Go to the full article

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

FTC Issues Revised "Green Guides"

Expect to see fewer products pitched as "environmentally friendly" if the government has its way.
Hoping to limit the number of deceptive claims, the Federal Trade Commission on Monday released an updated version of its green marketing guidelines that hold companies to truthful standards in marketing their products.
The revision to the Green Guides is the first since 1998, when phrases like "carbon offset" and "renewable energy" were not widely used.
The revisions include some changes to the proposed guidelines that the FTC circulated in October 2010 and reflect input from consumers and industry groups. New sections address the use of carbon offsets, "green" certifications and seals, and renewable energy and renewable materials claims.
Among the updates, the guides warn marketers not to make broad, unqualified claims that their products are environmentally friendly or eco-friendly.
The FTC said "very few products, if any" deliver the far-reaching environmental benefits that consumers associate with such claims, which it says are nearly impossible to substantiate anyway.
The guides also:
  • Advise marketers not to make an unqualified degradable claim for a solid waste product unless they can prove that the entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature within a year after customary disposal.
  • Caution that items destined for landfills, incinerators, or recycling facilities will not degrade within a year, so marketers should not make unqualified degradable claims for these items.
  • Clarify guidance on compostable, ozone, recyclable, recycled content, and source reduction claims.
The revised guidelines also outline how marketers can qualify their claims to avoid deceiving consumers.
  • They do not address use of the terms "sustainable," "natural" and "organic." The FTC said that's because it may lack a basis to provide meaningful guidance, or it wants to avoid proposing guidance that duplicates or contradicts that of other agencies.
According to study by TerraChoice
The Green Guides are not rules or regulations but general principles that describe the types of environmental claims the agency may find deceptive. The FTC has imposed fines and taken other actions in recent years involving deceptive recyclability, biodegradable and environmental certification claims.
FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said the changes will level the field for honest business people.
"The introduction of environmentally friendly products into the marketplace is a win for consumers who want to purchase greener products and for producers who want to sell them," he said. "But this win-win can only occur if marketers' claims are truthful and substantiated."
Consumer advocates hope the revisions will help reduce "greenwashing," in which a company promotes a single green aspect of the product but doesn't give the full picture of other ingredients.
Green Seal Inc., a nonprofit environmental certification organization based in Washington, applauded the changes.
"With this new guidance, we hope that there will be enforcement to help rid the marketplace of the many less-than-credible seals and greenwashing that exists," said Arthur Weissman, the group's president and CEO.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Essential Guide to a Non-GMO Halloween

It’s that time of year when Halloween costumes are being conjured up and the kids are making their Halloween plans. Begin your planning now to help ensure that your children have a Halloween that is both fun and healthy. Kids love Halloween because it is full of wonderful sweet treats and surprises. Unfortunately, these treats are often loaded with unsafe ingredients that would make even the most frightful ghoul scream. Green Halloween and the Non-GMO Project have teamed up to help you sort through the junk food and source fun treats that are free of Halloween horrors!

10 GMO Ingredients in Halloween Candy:
1. Sugar (GMO sugar beets)
2. High fructose corn syrup (GMO corn)
3. Corn starch (GMO corn)
4. Soy lecithin (GMO soy)
5. Soybean oil (GMO soy)
6. Modified food starch (GMO corn)
7. Fructose, dextrose, glucose (GMO corn)
8. Cottonseed oil (GMO cotton)
9. Canola oil (GMO canola)
10. “Other” ingredients: isolates, isoflavones, food  starch, vegetable oil

Choose Non-GMO Project Verified Treats for the Trick-or-Treat Basket:
Clif Bars
Nature’s Path Crispy Treats
Endangered Species chocolates
Bakery on Main granola bars
Funky Monkey snacks
Garden of Eatin’ chip snack bags
HomeFree cookies
Yogavive snacks
Licious Organics snacks
Pro Bar snack bars
Pure Organics snacks
Righteously Raw bars
Tasty Brand snacks
Theo Chocolates

Other Fun Alternatives: 
You may want to consider giving away goodies or serving foods that are peanut-free, gluten-free, dairy free and/or egg free. These are some of the most common food allergens with 1 in 13 kids suffering from food allergies. Limiting highly allergic foods is one way to ensure that Halloween is safe and fun for everyone. 

Does your child want to go door-to-door, but you don't want them to consume ALL the candy they receive? Consider establishing a points system and letting your child trade their candy in to earn points toward a special gift or activity. Dentists across the country also take part in the Halloween Candy Buy Back Program in which uneaten candy is collected (usually at $1/lb) and sent overseas to American Troops. 

About Green Halloween: A national initiative to create a healthier and more “EEK-O-friendly” Halloween. Launched by a motherdaughter team in Seattle of 2006, the program has sparked a green holidays revolution by inspiring families, communities, product brands and retailers to do their part to make child and Earth-healthy traditions easy, accessible, affordable and fun.

The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices. The Non-GMO Project offers North America’s ONLY third party verification for products produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance.

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Happy October 1st! 
As summer gives way to the harvest season, I notice many surprises, especially when shopping. As I walk into the grocery store I quickly notice, they have pumpkins! I get really excited cause really, this is the only time my family and I make my favorite pumpkin pie...and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share it all with you! I hope you all will enjoy this as much as I do!

For the Crust, You will Need:
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
1 1/4 Cups Crushed Gingersnap Cookies

Mix those together and press into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 10 minutes at 325º.

For the Filling, You will Need:
Blend 1 Tablespoon Gelatin with 1/4 Cup Cold Water and set aside.

Mix Together in a Saucepan:
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1 1/3 Cups Mashed Cooked Pumpkin
3 Large Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup Milk

3 Large Egg Whites
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
6 Tablespoons Sugar

Cook over low heat stirring until the mixture boils. Boil 1 minute. remove from heat. Stir in the gelatin. Cool. When partially set, beat until smooth. Carefully fold in the meringue. Pile into the ginger cookie crust. Chill until set, about 2 hours. Garnish with fresh whipped cream.

Looking for more great pumpkin recipes?! Check out Taste Of Home's 'Top 10 Pumpkin Dessert Recipes'