I arrived in Hartford at the Connecticut State Capitol building around 9:30 this morning with two of my children by my side. I went up there to testify at the Environmental House Committee Hearing on a Bill to require GMO labeling. Even though the hearing did not commence until 11:00, because this was my first time attending this type of hearing I did not realize I actually needed to arrive much earlier than 9:30 to sign up to testify and get ahead of all the Lobbyists and other "old timers" who knew the drill way better than I did and secured early spots for themselves. A huge thank you to Representative Tony Hwang, who acted as our host while we were there, arranging for a tour of the State Capitol and setting us up in his lovely office with Sponge Bob Square Pants to keep my children from melting down. Waiting it out all day until 4:00 for my turn to testify was a true symbol of just how important this GMO Labeling legislation is to me and quite frankly should be for you too. Today was an amazing experience, it felt empowering to feel that I actually have a voice in this country when all too often we feel helpless and silenced. I encourage all of you to learn about GMOs and let your voice be heard too. Contact your representatives, they truly do want to hear from us. There are some great opportunities to learn about GMOs coming up next week. Jeffrey Smith, the country's leading spokesperson on the dangers of GMOs, is attending an event in Fairfield next Thursday, Mar 1st at 7:00. Please contact me for more information. I am of course always happy to answer any questions you may have about GMOs. I have included my testimony from today below.
TESTIMONY FOR GMO LABELING
CT House Environmental Committee Hearing February 22, 2012
My name is Tara Cook-Littman and I
am first and foremost a mother of three young children.
I am also a former New York City
Prosecutor and most recently received my certification as a Holistic Health
Counselor from the Integrative Institute for Nutrition based in New York.
I am currently the chair elect to a PTA
Council Committee in Fairfield, CT called Fuel For Learning Partnership which,
through educational programming and policy work, is informing the public on
health issues and is working on improving the quality of food served through
the Fairfield School Lunch Program to our children.
I also currently have a blog called Tara Cook Littman Real
Food For Real Life, where I am encouraging people to get back to basics, stop
eating their food out of boxes and eat fresh, real food.
I was inspired to become a health
counselor after I overcame my own health issues through changes in my
I took personal
responsibility for my health by ensuring that I knew what I was eating.
I learned that there were certain foods
I needed to avoid to help me feel better.
At the same time I was dealing with my health issues, my son developed
an allergy to all nuts at the age of six.
Being able to read labels on the food we were eating became my most
powerful tool in protecting myself, my son and the rest of my family.
For the most part, labeling was
I avoided anything
with wheat and gluten for myself, and anything that contained nuts for my
Having clear labels on
our food literally became a lifesaver.
I am not standing before you asking
that genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, be banned. Rather, I simply ask
that you support CT HB 5117 and require that foods containing GMOs be
While there may be disagreement
as to whether GMOs are dangerous,
from my perspective, the lack of FDA testing on the effects of GMOs, the
requirement in Europe that all GMOs be labeled, the scientific evidence that
has been collected thus far and my own personal experience in feeling better
once I stopped eating GMOs was sufficient for me to decide that I did not want
my family eating GMOs.
as part of my health counseling, I am educating my clients on how to avoid GMOs
and teaching classes and workshops that include this same information.
The problem is that for those who
decide to avoid GMOs it is actually quite complicated to do so because of the
lack of labeling. The best ways to
avoid GMOs are by eating all organic foods or by not eating any processed food
because over 80% of all processed foods contain GMOs. However, neither of these options is particularly
practical when looking at the current American diet and lifestyle, nor is
organic food an option for everyone.
The next best way to avoid GMOs is to avoid any food with corn,
soybeans, canola, and sugar. I
challenge all of you to go to the supermarket and find packaged food without
any of those ingredients.
Identifying GMOs in food becomes even more difficult because GMOs hide
in our food with over 100 aliases including lecithin, glucose, corn syrup,
caramel color, starch, xanthum gum, maltodextrin, tofu, vitamin E, gluten,
protein and so on.
As you can see,
it can be extremely difficult to identify GMOs and trying to educate someone on
avoiding them can easily dominate an entire session with one of my private
clients and can take over the question and answer period at my seminars.
And, even once I have educated my
clients and audiences I speak to, it still remains very challenging for them to
successfully identify all foods that contain GMOs.
Why should we as the consumer need an advanced degree in
It should be
The only way for it to be
simple is to have the foods clearly labeled.
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