8 Oct 2012
We get asked a lot here at Attune Foods about our stance on GMOs. A few years ago, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) weren’t on the radar of most people in this country. But it was something that we cared a lot about – in fact, it’s something we have always cared about.
Our Erewhon and Uncle Sam foods have been non-GMO since they were created. Our philosophy at Attune Foods is to make food that is Simply Made with Simple Ingredients. We like to honor the beauty and greatness of the earth, by using what is true and real from the ground, and doing very little to it while making our food. Our Uncle Sam Cereal takes whole red winter wheat berries that are steamed, flattened and toasted. We flavor the flakes with a tiny bit of barley malt and salt to bring out the natural flavor of the whole grain. And we add whole heart-healthy flax seeds. And that’s it. Erewhon is made in the same way. We take whole organic California grown brown rice and puff it to its crispy best. We flavor it with a bit of organic brown rice syrup and sea salt to bring out the natural flavor of the whole grain.
We think what is purest and truest to the earth, is what tastes best, and is healthiest. The idea of altering what comes from the planet naturally is something that seems very strange and foreign to us.
When the Non-GMO project was started in 2010, it was a no brainer for us. We quickly enrolled in August of 2010 and had the vast majority of our products verified by the end of the year. The only challenge we had was with our two corn products. Both use certified organic corn, which is by definition non-GMO, but because of the rampant use of genetically modified corn in this country, there is high risk of cross contamination. Although our corn was non-GMO, we had to find a supplier that was willing to verify and certify that the corn that they were supplying us was going to be free of any cross contamination, and would certify it through testing. Because of the liability involved in growing corn that might be cross contaminated, it was a challenge to find corn that would meet the strict standards. Eventually we did, and these last two holdouts now proudly bear the verified by the non-GMO Project logo.
The month of October is non-GMO awareness month. And on November 6th, the state of California will have Proposition 37 around consumers’ right to know what is in their food. We strongly support the ballot initiative. In fact, it’s something that we have always supported. The idea of wanting to know what’s in the food we eat is central and core to the human way of life. We proudly tell our consumers what’s in our food, where we get it, and how we make it. The idea of having a “secret recipe” seems odd to us. Why companies would want to limit the information that they share to their consumers is confusing and strange to us. When we buy our food from the grocery store and farmers’ market, we like to understand who grows it, what goes into it, and how it’s made. That doesn’t take away from the magic – it adds to it. We are proudly transparent here, and encourage all companies to be. While we don’t happen to go out of our way to choose genetically modified food, we recognize that some people don’t have a preference. Letting them know that it is genetically modified shouldn’t be a secret for only the companies to know.
With the referendum on the way, we are excited for the marketplace to continue to embrace these ideas behind understanding food. It’s something we have always believed and ascribed to, but something that we recognize is even more important now.
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