April 30, 2013

Butter, Salt & a Side of Poison: How to Protect your Family from Monsanto & Genetically Modified Foods. ~ Marylee Fairbanks

“Who wants popcorn?” My husband enters the room with two, blue bowls.

My son and I cheer. We lift up the blanket, pat the open spot on the cushion in between us and turn the movie on.

“Did you add some butter and salt?” Our son asks as he dips his hand in the bowl and stuffs it. Little white puffs poke out from in between his fingers.

“I sure did.”

But, we had no idea that we were serving him a side of poison.

I didn’t know my “Simply Salted” Orville Redenbacher popcorn was genetically modified. The packaging seemed so straight forward, with earthy colors and the word “Naturals” in big, brown capitals. I have been buying this tainted food for years and feeding it to my child.

I make an effort to be a responsible shopper. I read my bread labels and pass on anything enriched, I never buy products with fake sweeteners and I try to stick to organic fruits and vegetables. My son is a picky eater so I purchased products that are lower in sugar. I thought a graham cracker or Wheat Thin was a decent snack because these were treats my mother gave me.

I assumed, as most of us do, that the government is looking out for us. I was wrong.Our government protects the big, wealthy corporations, at the expense of our children’s health. Grocery stores across America are stocked with food that can make us ill.

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Apparently, nature has gotten it all wrong because crops are  now grown with the objective of adding or eliminating certain characteristics.

For example, Monsanto developed a corn that is genetically modified with Bt Protein. When the insect feeds on this plant, their stomachs rupture.

Monsanto claims that by the time the food gets to our tables it is safe. But, an article published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences, in 2009, reported studies proving that when rats ate the GM corn, they suffered from organ failure.

GMOs were introduced in 1996. Since then chronic illnesses have jumped from 7 percent to 13 percent. Food allergies, autism, reproductive disorders, and digestive problems are all on the rise as well.

President Obama signed a bill, in April 2013, often referred to as The Monsanto Protection Act, granting Monsanto immunity from federal courts. It means that no one can stop them from planting GM crops even if they are deemed to be a danger to health or the environment.

Bayer created a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids. These and other harmful Monsanto insecticides, are not properly monitored by our protection agencies and have been linked to cancer and the honeybee death rates.

The label Colony Collapse Disorder implies somehow that it is a flaw in the bees themselves but this is as deceiving as Orville’s packaging. This year the honeybee death rate ranged from 40-90 percent across the United States.

Luckily for Monsanto, Harvard Microrobotics Lab has been working on its Micro Air Vehicles Project since 2009. They are making robotic bees to replace the real ones and it is said that Monsanto is using them to pollinate their crops.

The use of both Neonicotiniods and GM crops are banned in Europe, but in the United States they are not even monitored.

Monsanto has also formed a partnership with a drug company called Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc.to create biopesticides. Alnylam also has advanced drugs for treatment of liver cancers and tumors. Monsanto produces the food that gives causes illness then partners up with the companies that cure it.

Last week, I emptied out my kitchen cabinets. I was shocked to see how many things in my cabinets were Genetically Modified.

We may feel powerless against the big corporations that run our government. But, we can take control of what we bring into our homes.

Here are a few things to do that will keep you and your family safer. Bring this list of GMO products when you are shopping and share it with everyone you can.  Stop supporting the companies that put profits ahead of the consumer’s well being.

Buy Organic

Certified organics are not allowed to contain any GMO. Fruits and vegetables have a number code on them organic always starts with the number nine.

Keep GMOs out of your home garden. There are lots of places online that you can order organic seeds and ask at your local nursery where they got their seeds.

Don’t be fooled by the deceiving catch phrases: whole grain, all natural, select harvest and real fruit.


Soy Lecithin is considered GMO, and sweeteners like aspartame, NutraSweet and Equal are derived from GM microorganisms. These ingredients are found in over 6000 products.

Eat less meat and make sure dairy products are free from antibiotics.

Never Buy:

Aunt Jemima

Aurora Foods

Balance Bar


Best Foods

Betty Crocker

Birds Eye


Boca Burger


Calumet Baking Powder


Capri Sun




Chef Boyardee




Con Agra

Country Time


Crystal Light


Del Monte

Dinty Moore



Duncan Hines

Eggo Waffles

Famous Amos



Frito Lay


Gardenburger (unless organic)


General Mills

Ghirardelli Chocolate

Graham Crackers

Green Giant

Hansen Beverage Company

Hawaiian Punch

Healthy Choice

Healthy Request






Honey  Maid



Hungry Jack


Interstate Bakeries


Kc Masterpiece



Kids Cuisine


Kraft: ALL condiments and dressings


Land O’ Lakes

Lay’s Ruffles

Lean Cuisine


Life Saver


Loma Lindia

Marie Callender’s


Minute Maid

Morningstar Farms (unless organic line)

Ms. Butterworths


Nature Valley

Near East



Nilla Wafers

Nutter Butter

Ocean Spray

Old El Paso



Orville Redenbacher




Pepperidge Farm


Peter Pan

Phillip Morris


Pinnacle Foods

Pop Secret


Power Bar




Procter and Gamble

Progresso Soups





Rosetto Frozen Pasta

Simply Home


Smart Ones

Smucker’s: unless labeled “Simply 100% Fruit”

Snack Wells





Sunny Delight



Teddy Grahams

The Country’s Best Yoghurt


Tombstone Pizza





Uncle Ben’s




Wheat Thins

Baby foods: Beech-nut, Enfamil, Good start, Nestle, Similac, Isomil

Bonus: Non-GMO Shopping Guide.
Read more: Why don’t we like GMOs?
And more: 5 Myths about Genetically Engineered Foods. {Infographic}

And a bonus app for your phone called Buycott.


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Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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Wanda Patsche Jul 13, 2014 7:08am

I am just sadly amazed at this article. Buy antibiotic free meat? ALL meat is antibiotic free. I am a farmer and we cannot sell our pigs if they have any antibiotic residue. Illegal. BT protein derives from a natural bacteria found in our soils. In fact, organic farmers use it to protect their crops. It is only a pesticide when it is ingested by targeted larvae. Please get your facts straight. This article just plain scary with all the misinformation.

MV Coffman Jun 24, 2014 12:37pm

All the research I have done points to 2 things: 1) 90% of the corn in the U.S. is genetically modified, 2) corn grown to be popcorn is a different strain of corn and has not at this point been genetically modified. One reason is that there is no money in genetically modifying popcorn, unlike corn grown for other purposes. Here are some sources:

So, you might want to avoid Orville Redenbacher for other reasons (e.g. the chemical laden "butter flavor" and linings of the microwave bags). You also will want to be careful about what oils are used to pop the popcorn (e.g. canola, corn, or soybean oil), which are often GM. But avoiding popcorn itself to avoid GMO's isn't necessary. In this fight against GMO's, it's so very important to get the facts right, otherwise we are branded as uninformed sensationalists. Also, be relieved that you haven't been feeding your child a GM snack every time you give him popcorn!

Shauna Apr 16, 2014 7:35am

You might want to read this article too – this is a well documented factual article…..

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Marylee Fairbanks

Marylee Fairbanks is a columnist for Gaiam, elephant journal, My Life Yoga, and Bliss.com, Her essays explore Motherhood and yoga, but mainly focus on her experiences with her young son and the many ways he helps her grow.

She is a registered yoga teacher and founder of Chakras Yoga and The 24 Things. She teaches Chakras Balancing workshops and yoga classes. Prior to having her son, she performed in Broadway musicals across the country.

Marylee lives in Massachusetts with her husband, son, and dogs.

Find her on her website and follow her on twitter.