Birke Reports: What’s Really In Your Local Meat?

This post is written by Birke Baehr, a 14 year-old organic farming advocate and author. I am thrilled Birke is a regular contributor here on Food Babe, inspiring other children and adults across the nation to eat local, Non-GMO and organic. 


Hey everyone! I am so thankful to Vani & the Food Babe blog for having me on as a guest blogger.

As some of you may know I am a youth advocate for sustainable food & farming. I am very concerned about the production of genetically engineered food and crops. I’m also a large supporter of getting to know your farmer. I believe everyone should buy “local” and that it is important to be able to shake hands with the person that grew your food. I’m always visiting farms and getting to see how the farmers raise their animals and/or produce.

When talking to the majority of my local “pasture” based dairy or meat farmers, I always ask if they use any type of supplemental feed usually made from corn or soy. If they do use any, I ask them if it contains any genetically engineered ingredients. I usually hear from them that it does contain genetically modified (GMO) products and this fact upsets me.

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Label GMOs In North Carolina – ACT NOW!

If you live in North Carolina or know someone who lives here or have friends, family or colleagues that follow your blog, website, and/or business from North Carolina or even if you are NOT from North Carolina – I NEED YOUR HELP.

We need to get as many signatures as possible on the following petition to -

Label Genetically Engineered Foods in North Carolina

Share this post - like it - tweet it - print it – do everything and whatever you can to get everyone you know who lives in North Carolina to sign this petition NOW.

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Why is this so important?

As many people may know, our food is missing a very important label – one that President Obama, the FDA, and the USDA have made a concerted effort to deny us from having.

This label is for foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are in 90% of our processed food. GMOs are foods biologically manufactured in laboratories – injected with new DNA, viruses, herbicides, insecticides and/or other chemicals – to be resistant to synthetic chemicals and are completely different than hybridizing techniques allowed by nature.
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The United State of GMOs – Keeping Us in the Dark

Watch: My Personal Account Of How Our Leaders In Washington Are Denying One Of Our Most Fundamental Rights:

As a delegate from North Carolina at the recent Democratic National Convention (DNC), I sought the truth about GMO-labeling from the leaders of our country and was completely appalled at what I discovered. As many people may know, our food is missing a very important label – one that President Obama, the FDA, and the USDA have made a concerted effort to deny us from having.
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How to Avoid Genetically Modified Ingredients When You Eat Out

When I told a friend recently that my next post was going to be on avoiding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) at restaurants, he responded “good f*&*ing luck!”…It’s nearly impossible to avoid GMOs if you are eating out and the reaction from my friend illustrates exactly how dire the situation has become here in America.

Considering I only found two restaurants in my hometown of Charlotte, NC that are 100% GMO free, I thought it would be prudent to share the best tips to minimize your exposure to GMOs when eating out, especially until the government listens to the overwhelming majority of us and puts labels on GMOs.

How to avoid consuming GMO’s when eating out:

  1. Unless labeled or listed organic (or from a reputable local farm the restaurant can verify doesn’t use GMO seeds or feed), I suggest avoiding these 8 genetically modified (GM) foods when dining out:
    • Corn
    • Soy
    • Sugar (beet sugar – i.e. refined sugar)
    • Papayas (from Hawaii)
    • Canola
    • Cotton (cottonseed oil)
    • Dairy (conventional American cow’s milk and cheese)
    • Zucchini/Yellow Squash
    • Conventional Meat (They are fed GM corn & soy)
  2. GM corn, soy and canola oil are the cheapest for restaurants to purchase. Ask your server about the oils they use to make your food – this is where GMOs are hidden in almost everything from salad dressings to soups to pan or deep fried items.
  3. Know the exceptions: Ask if the cheese is imported. A cheese from France means you are safe from rbGH – genetically engineered growth hormone and genetically modified ingredients, as this country has banned GMOs all together.
  4. Look out for these hidden GM ingredients: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.
  5. Unless the sugar they use to make desserts is 100% pure cane, it’s likely from GM sugar beets
  6. Consider having the Non-GMO Shopping Guide in your purse or pocket that has a list of GM ingredients that you want to avoid and give it to your waiter or even call ahead. If more people did this, maybe restaurants would start to pay more attention to the products they buy.

Since it’s a serious feat to avoid genetically modified foods, I investigated all of my favorite restaurants here in Charlotte and of course I found GMOs being used at almost every single one. There were only two eateries that were 100% clean of GMO’s – Luna’s Living Kitchen, and Viva Raw.

As I was echoed in the NY Times this week – Luna’s Living Kitchen is one of my favorite restaurants – it’s the most truly organic place in Charlotte and if you are visiting in town this week for the Democratic National Convention (DNC), having breakfast there is a must.  My favorite option is the organic coconut milk iced coffee (the ice cubes are handily made from coffee, so your caffeine buzz doesn’t get watered down) and the raw bagel with cashew cream cheese pictured below.  They also have a coconut yogurt parfait that is to die for if you are looking for something sweet to start your day.

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