Frankenfish and Michael Pollan on Organic Food

How’s that for a post title?  Well, I came across these two videos on Kelly’s blog, and I felt the need to share.

If you eat salmon, you really need to see this — Frankenfish. I don’t usually watch videos, but I watched this one in its entirety.  You may have heard about genetically modified grains and vegetables.  Now they are talking about genetically modified animals, specifically salmon.

Some key quotes from the interview:

“The research that they’ve recently released shows possible allergens and hormones in the fish that could have health effects.”

“At these hearings, the FDA is really is only looking at studies that have been funded by the company that’s actually creating this salmon, and there are no independent studies that have been commissioned thus far.”

“In reality they are not doing the proper safety evaluations that should be done to protect the public.”

What is really frightening to me is that they will not be required to label GMO salmon, so there is no way to be sure what you’re getting.

And here’s another interview that is worth your time, and some quotes for those who would rather skim than listen — Michael Pollan on Organic Food.

On pesticides and chemicals in foods:

“There are strong correlations between the presence of those residues in our bodies and the likelihood that we will have certain problems. <snip> As your level of residue went up, your chances of having ADD went up.”

As a parent of a child who struggles with attentiveness, this is hugely concerning to me.  No wonder we have an epidemic on our hands.

“In general if you’re going to buy organic, I think it’s important to buy domestic organic.  The longer food travels, the less nutritious it is.  Every day it loses nutrients.  In general, you want to eat food that comes from as close to you as possible and is picked as fresh as possible.”

Thus, Eat Local Philly!  (Sorry, shameless plug.)

On economizing organic food:

“The investment in organic foods makes more sense for certain foods than others.”  (Google “dirty dozen”.)

“As more farmers convert to organic, we will see the prices moderate.  They’re never going to be as cheap as conventional food.  But conventional food is artificially cheap.”

“One of the ways to economize on organic meat is to buy a lot of it.  Buy a quarter of a steer or a whole hog.”

Absolutely.  This is the ONLY way we can afford grass fed meat.

On prioritizing our organic purchases:

“I don’t think we can always say organic is better for you.  I think we can say that it is always better for the environment.”

“When it comes to beef, it is really important that beef get to eat grass.  <snip>  Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grain.  A lot of organic meat [and milk] is not grass fed.  There are organic feed lots.”

My humble advice: don’t waste your money on this meat (or milk).  Find a local source.  Grass fed is more important than Certified Organic.

“I think organic milk, if you’re feeding a child milk, is a good investment… especially if I’ve got young girls at home, keeping hormones out of their diet.”

“Common sense argues for reducing the load of those chemicals in our kids’ bodies.”

“Organic junk food is junk food.”

To sum it up:

“Eating thoughtlessly, in the long run, is really bad for your health.”

I like how he articulates “eating thoughtlessly” — that really nails it, doesn’t it?

Thanks, Kelly, for both of these links.

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10 thoughts on “Frankenfish and Michael Pollan on Organic Food

  1. i just read an article recently from the organic consumers association titled the 10 freakiest things about frankenfish. very eye-opening. almost makes me wonder how valid the USDA organic label is on foods when they don’t really care a whole lot about something like frankenfish.

    1. Yeah, I can pretty much guarantee you that any label from the USDA must be taken with a grain of salt. (Or corn. Bwahahaa!)

  2. It seems clear that the only safety evaluations the gov’t is interested in are ones that preserve the safety of the industry, not of the people. That’s why they can simultaneously neglect to do independent studies on this salmon, but over-reach in regulating/shutting down local growers.

  3. I don’t trust USDA/FDA labels or assurances anymore. I want full disclosure about what is in my food and where it comes from, and industry will fight that tooth and nail. And I do love that term “eating thoughtlessly.” Being mindful has made shopping and cooking much simpler, though not necessarily much easier (buying local when possible and buying humane no matter what, and staying on top of issues like frankenfish are more time-consuming than grabbing whatever looks convenient off the grocery shelf). Worth it, though, when you work with adolescents and wonder about the connection between their diets and their behaviors.

  4. I’ve been reading about the Frankenfish and it really makes me angry. In the last few months I’ve done a lot of reading about food in hopes of feeding my family in a more healthy and sustainable way – mostly because I have a baby who is transitioning to solids and I want to give him the very best for is little, developing body! The entire food industry makes me steaming mad, but on the other hand, I can understand why “they” can’t just one day wake up and say, okay, 99% of the food in stores isn’t good for you. Let’s just start over! It’s not practical to overhaul everything on the turn of a dime. It would have devestating results. HOWEVER, it really makes me steam when I see that not only are we stuck with a crappy food industry that “they” know isn’t healthy, but instead of trying to take steps to gradually change things and really improve the situation they’re moving in the other direction and making MORE negative changes like GM salmon! I mean, come on! We’re still hurtling in the wrong direction when we should be moving as quickly as possible back to the way things used to be done. It’s just very upsetting and frustrating that consumers have to be suspicious of the whole entire food system nowadays.

  5. I read about this whole salmon deal and I’m wondering where it ends.

    As a mom of a child (now teen) there is a LOT of guilt that comes along with an ADD diagnosis. WOW oh WOW. So anyway, when I first read your comment I almost commented, then I decided not to, now that I’ve had some time to process it, I decided to comment, so I guess the good news is you’re not forgettable? 😀

    Anyway, there is a LOT of debate of ADD being genetic vs environmental. Since my child is already diagnosed all I can do is the best I can do (same as anyone). And what I know for sure is my child was not allowed any food dyes or sugar for literally years. Now…having said that, I haven’t always done the rest “right” according to these recent studies. But I take my part in that and have applied what the recommendations are.

    I’ve noticed a huge difference in his concentration level. Because he’s nearly 14 and hormones are a factor, concentration was nearly impossible even on meds and upping the dose of meds repeatedly lead to more side effects as with most drugs. So if it makes you feel any better, your child’s concentration level should continue to improve with a no sugar / completely clean diet.

    I said all that to say this, there’s hope! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. Unfortunately, I don’t do very well keeping her off sugar and other additives. We do eat well, but there are so many places that she gets sugary stuff, and we do eat ice cream and homemade treats and such. I feel so mean denying her all treats. Maybe I need to discuss it with her and work harder at it.

  6. Yay for organic milk! We don’t eat organic everything, but we DO drink organic, whole milk. When I say “we,” I mean my husband and girls. I can’t stand milk – organic or not. 😉

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