Thank you for following along with my travels on Facebook… I’ll be back soon, but in the meantime I have a special guest post from one of the most inspirational people I met this year – 13 year old – local food and organic farming advocate – Birke Baehr. If this is the first time you are learning about Birke – you’ve got to check out his TED Talk and his new book “Birke On the Farm” – especially if you have kids. I am super proud to call him one of my friends and who knows he might just become a regular around here…so watch out, he’s a firecracker!
First of all, I’d like to thank Food Babe for inviting me to be a guest on her blog, I’m very excited! We have been talking about working together and I really like hearing about her ideas and recent adventures.
I’d like to start by sharing with you a certain line of products that have popped up in my local “healthy” supermarket. The day after Christmas I was shopping and noticed a large display in the middle of the aisle. Spectrum, a well known brand of organic oils and cooking products has introduced some new products. My family has bought Spectrum coconut oil and some of their other organic oils because they have such an extensive line of organic products. But, what caught my eye that day was this whole new line of products they have introduced. They’re canola oil blends and it seems that they have mixed non-organic canola oil with coconut, peanut, and olive oil just to name a few.
Now for those of you who don’t know canola oil is…
“It is widely recognized as the healthiest salad and cooking oil available to consumers.” (But it is not!) It was developed through hybridization of rapeseed. Rapeseed oil is toxic because it contains significant amounts of a poisonous substance called erucic acid. Although canola oil contains only trace amounts of erucic acid it is also one of the top 4 genetically modified crops. You can read more about the history of canola and how it is a big con here.
Spectrum is owned by Hain-Celestial Group; which probably has the largest conglomerate of well known organic brands such as: Arrowhead Mills, Celestial Seasonings, Rice, Soy, and Almond Dream, and the Garden of Eatin’ just to name a few. In 1999 the H.J. Heinz Corporation bought 19.5% of the company but then sold their stock in 2005.
During the Prop 37 GMO labeling campaign the Hain-Celestial Group sent out a press release stating that that, “The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., a leading natural and organic products company, today publicly announced its endorsement of the mandatory labeling of food products containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in accordance with international standards, citing its long compliance with those requirements adopted in Europe and other international markets.” They also donated $25,000 towards YES on GMO labeling. On the other hand the former owner of almost one fifth of the company H.J. Heinz Corporation gave more than $450,000 against labeling.
After learning a lot about their stance of GM foods Spectrum seems to be very supportive on labeling. In fact, I discovered that they are a part of the Non-GMO Verified project. Yet, I also find it very interesting that they haven’t done a press release on their new line of products nor are they featured on the Spectrum website. Since canola is one of the top GMO crops, something is really bothering me about these canola blends. Hopefully we will hear more on these new products and my concerns will be addressed. I don’t want to condemn this company; only shed light on these new products and their history and leave it up to you to make the decision.
Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
Also if you are wondering…you can check out Food Babe’s three favorite cooking oils here –
More About Birke Baehr –
An Internationally recognized speaker and youth advocate for sustainable food and agriculture, Birke has visited and volunteered at farms around the United States and recently published his first book, “Birke On The Farm“. Birke has spent the last four years traveling around the United States and Italy visiting organic farms and learning from the farmers who steward those farms. He has attended numerous organic agriculture seminars and workshops; including one with renowned farmer and author, Joel Salatin who Birke looks up to in his pursuit of new thinking about food and agriculture. Birke continues to educate himself in this genre and intends to be a sustainable organic agriculturist in the future. He has a passion for educating others, especially his peers, about the destructiveness of the industrialized food system and the enlightening alternatives of sustainable and organic farming, food and practices. You can follow Birke on Facebook and Twitter.