Salba Smart Awarded ‘Non-GMO Project Verified’ Seal

DENVER—Salba Smart was awarded the ‘Non-GMO Project Verified’ seal for its Whole and Ground Salba grain. Salba Smart is also taking part in the first ever Non-GMO Month educational campaign. Running throughout October in more than 600 natural food stores, independent retailers and co-ops nationwide, the campaign will spotlight Non-GMO Day on Oct. 10, 2010.

According to the Non-GMO Project, products in Europe that contain more than 0.9 percent GMO ingredients are labeled by the government. In the United States and Canada, where it is estimated that GMOs are present in more than 75 percent of processed foods, labels are not required.

To assist consumers, The ‘Non-GMO Project Verified’ seal was created to identify manufacturers that have complied with standards set by the first third-party non-GMO verification program in the U.S. Organized by the non-profit Non-GMO Project, compliance includes ingredient testing to confirm that products have not been genetically modified to merge DNA from different species of plants, animals, viruses or bacteria. More than 900 products have been verified to date, with thousands more in the process of applying for a seal.

“Receiving the ‘Non-GMO Project Verified’ seal for our Whole and Ground Salba grain is a very important achievement for our company,” said Salba Smart’s managing partner, Rally Ralston. “We know that consumers are concerned about the issues of GMOs in the food chain, and they are looking for products that have been certified not to contain them.  The seal provides assurance to retailers and their customers of the quality of Salba Smart ingredients. We care deeply about the issue of GMOs and we’re excited to be part of the month-long awareness campaign that will run in retail stores throughout October.”

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Industry Fights Altered Salmon By ALICIA MUNDY And BILL TOMSON

The fishing industry and politicians from commercial-fishing states are mobilizing against a possible Food and Drug Administration approval of genetically modified salmon for the American dinner table.

“Putting unlabeled, genetically altered salmon in the marketplace is simply irresponsible, and the FDA needs to strongly consider what impacts this will have before they approve this Frankenfish,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, said Thursday.

Associated Press

Icy Bay crewmen remove sockeye salmon from their net in July. Commercial fisheries are fighting the introduction of genetically altered salmon.

A coalition that includes Pacific Coast trollers, Atlantic fishing companies and organic-yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm says the genetically altered salmon might threaten their livelihoods by spreading unease about salmon and other foods.

“This stuff is not healthy for people, and it’s not like our fresh fish,” said Angela Sanfilippo, president of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association of Massachusetts.

Ms. Sanfilippo’s group and others have joined with 39 lawmakers who wrote to the FDA this week asking the agency to stop its approval process for the genetically modified salmon. They cited concerns about “human health and environmental risks” from the AquAdvantage salmon.

AquaBounty’s chief executive, Ronald Stotish, said the company is disappointed by the letter. “Our elected representatives have chosen to be swayed by rhetoric while ignoring publicly available scientific review,” Mr. Stotish said.

“This is the most studied fish in history,” he added. The meat of the AquAdvantage salmon is no different from that of other North Atlantic salmon, he said.

An FDA spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the agency would respond directly to the members of Congress.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.), who is chairwoman of an appropriations panel overseeing the FDA, introduced a bill that would mandate that genetically modified salmon be labeled as such, marking it differently from farmed or wild salmon in grocery stores and restaurants.

The FDA has said there is no reason to have different labels, and that the agency may lack authority to mandate them if the product is approved as safe for people to eat. The labeling issue has become almost as divisive as the approval itself.

The traditional fishing industry wants the altered salmon to carry a label identifying its origin, said Mark Vinsel, executive director of the United Fishermen of Alaska. Unless the different salmon are labeled, “people will start to think maybe it’s not good to eat salmon at all,” he said.

The director of the Alaska Trollers Association, Dale Kelley, agreed, saying that without labels, “you’re not sure what’s on your plate.”

Alaska produced 730 million pounds of wild salmon last year, more than 90% of all wild salmon in the U.S., according to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican, slammed the idea of allowing genetically engineered salmon to be sold in supermarkets.

“We are concerned genetically engineered salmon could jeopardize the health of wild-salmon stocks,” he said in a statement last weekend, citing the risk that the AquAdvantage salmon could spread disease or cross-breed with wild salmon.

Mr. Stotish said his company’s fish are raised in contained areas that have multiple systems to “prevent escape into the wild.” He added, “We exclusively breed sterile females.”

On Sept. 20, an FDA advisory committee indicated that the salmon is generally safe, but several members raised questions about some of the research by AquaBounty.

Write to Alicia Mundy at and Bill Tomson at

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Genetically engineered protein from corn found in waterways

By Google maps

A study of streams in Indiana found that the insecticidal proteins produced by genetically modified corn ended up in 23% of tested waterways in amounts above detectible limits.

Corn genetically-modified to produce a mild insecticide has a gene added from a soil bacteria called bacillus thuringiensis. It is widely planted in the United States, making up 85% of the 2009 corn U.S. crop. The insecticidal protein the corn produces, used to ward off the European corn borer, is Cry1Ab.

In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of Notre Dame and Loyola University tested 217 streams, ditches and drains near corn fields and found 50 of them had levels of Cry1Ab above six nanograms per liter. It is unknown if levels that low are dangerous to invertebrates living in the water, but they were detectable.

The protein enters waterways through runoff and when corn leaves, stalks, and plant parts are washed into stream channels. To minimize soil erosion it’s become common in corn fields to leave discarded corn leaves, husks, stalks and cobs in the fields, a practice called ‘no-till’ agriculture. The researchers found this corn material in 86% of streams tested.

The study was conducted six months after crop harvest, which indicates that the proteins in the corn byproducts can persist in the landscape.

Bt is allowed to be used as a biological alternative to pesticides in organic agriculture.

By Elizabeth Weise

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