Well there’s good news and bad news on the GMO front. Vermont passed an epic GMO Labeling Law recently…..and….. I was really sad to hear this…I’ve been drinking Celestial Seasonings Tea for over 30 years (Sleepytime….used to love it)…….but just finding out today their teas contain pesticides and GMOS !!!!! Say it isn’t so !!! Well I guess I really liked their artwork the most 😉 But they do have a nice combination of teas. Extremely disappointing!!! From now on, it’s only Certified Organic tea for me. I’m so upset, I’m going to write a letter to Celestial Seasonings expressing my concern. In my humble opinion, all food should be Certified Organic and GMO-free.
Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news? We’ll get the bad news out of the way:
Are Pesticides Lurking in Your Favorite Cup of Tea?
Tea can be amazingly beneficial for your health -and I love it! In fact, I’m such a tea lover that my friends sometimes impersonate me by holding a glass of iced tea and sipping on the beverage through a straw. It’s a classic, spot-on parody of someone who should probably drink more pure water than so much of her favorite beverage. Nonetheless, in a recent investigation after hearing about how many pesticides are used in farming, I had to assume they were being used in tea fields as well. I’ve since switched to all organic teas, shunning some of my favorite brands due to high levels of carcinogenic chemicals found in their products.
Here’s what I found:
- Celestial Seasoning Teas have dangerously high pesticide residues in their tea bags. High pesticide levels were found in over 91% of samples tested, and it didn’t matter which flavor. These nasty chemicals were found in Antioxidant Max Blood Orange to Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape, and others. While a spokesperson from the company ensures the public that they utilize ‘a rigorous testing protocol,’ it might be time to find a new lab, and stop sourcing tea from farmers who rely heavily on pesticides. This brand also contains GMOs.
- Lipton, Tetly, Twinings and other popular tea brands were full of pesticides, too. They contained bifenthrin, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, chlorfenapyr, pyridaben, acephate, dicofol and monocrotophos pesticides. And while the Health Canada Review who originally conducted this testing on different teas says you would have to drink a whole lot of it to be affected, we now know that pesticide and herbicide combinations are truly deadly. Canada’s Food Inspection Authority (CFIA) tested in 2009 and again in 2011, and still found high levels of pesticide residues in numerous tea brands.
- Bigelow, Tea Forte, and Mighty Leaf all contain deceptive “natural flavors” labeling, and also contained both pesticides and GMOs.
- The Republic of Tea, Teavana, Tazo, and even Yogi Tea contained pesticide residues. What would the gurus say?!
Furthermore, the tea you’re drinking may contain concerning levels of fluoride. One study which analyzed inexpensive tea bags from supermarkets including Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, found that drinking the tea could push a person’s fluoride intake over the ‘daily recommended level’ and put them at a higher risk of bone and dental disease. The teas provided anywhere from 75-120% of the recommended daily intake.
Lastly, many tea companies do not source their products from responsible growers. As Davidson’s Organics, a non-pesticide using tea grower says, “the pressures have mounted as we introduced industrialized agricultural practices, added chemical fertilizers or engaged GMO practices to make the land yield more and used pesticides in the name of protection.” The results of these practices have been frightening – environmental pollution, soil erosion, and loss of biological diversity.
Since the tea I drink can either minimize or contribute to this problem, I’m only drinking 100% organic, non-GMO tea from now on. You can source Non-GMO Project Verified teas, and organic by reading labels, or buying in bulk. Numi tea is one safe brand to purchase.
‘Dangerously high pesticide levels’ found in Celestial Seasonings teas
WITH UPDATES JULY 20, 2013 – Celestial Seasonings refuses to release pesticide report.
A scathing report on Celestial Seasonings teas and parent company Hain Celestial, shows 91% of the samples of Celestial Seasonings teas tested contained pesticides in levels that exceed U.S Federal limits.
Celestial Seasonings has denied the report and claims it has done its own testing, but refuses to release the results citing “proprietary information.”
High pesticides in 91% of samples
10 out of 11 varieties of Celestial Seasonings teas, one of the largest specialty tea manufacturers in North America, were found by an independent lab to contain excess pesticides in tea varieties from Antioxidant Max Blood Orange to Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape among other varieties.
READ THE FULL PESTICIDE REPORT
The tests, conducted by EuroFins, a worldwide analytic testing company, determined that many varieties of Celestial Seasonings teas contained potentially dangerous levels of multiple pesticides.
Hain Celestial responds, sort of
Celestial Seasonings through a spokesperson originally responded with a mostly cut and paste from the “values” page of their website about how they employ a “rigorous testing protocol.” Later, when their facebook page lit up with concerned consumers, CS added more.
Celestial Seasonings has responded to customer inquiries based on this article on their Facebook page by saying the story “is based on a report issued by a “short seller,” an investment firm which stands to gain financially if our parent company’s stock declines.”
In my opinion this is a red herring as it distorts the fact that the report was actually created by an international independent testing lab, Eurofins, and that the short seller says they never touched the samples at any time and encourages others to test samples as well.
Celestial Seasonings, Pants on Fire?
CS further says they had their own samples tested by “the National Food Lab (NFL), an industry-leading third-party lab…NFL’s independent testing reaffirmed that Celestial Seasonings teas are safe…”
We continue to reassure you now that Celestial Seasonings teas are still…safe…quality products.”
But the National Food Lab (NFL) proudly lists Celestial Seasonings as one of its clients on its website. Saying, “somewhere along the line, we have had a hand in their success.”
The NFL declined to comment on its report, citing “confidentiality.”
Celestial Seasonings refuses to release the lab reports either, calling it “proprietary information.”
A spokesperson at the Eurofins lab where the original testing took place says, “we stand behind the results we report to our tea clients.
A poor track record for Celestial Seasonings teas
Started in 1969, Celestial Seasonings was “founded on the belief that all-natural herbal teas could help people live healthier lives.”
In 2009 Kay Wright, a botanicals purchaser for the company for over 30 years, was interviewed by TLC Cooking and claimed, “we do pride ourselves all the time on being very natural. It’s company standards—not industry standards. We test absolutely everything, and not very many companies do that extensive testing.”
Can short sellers be trusted?
Glaucus Research commissioned the original report, but says it ordered the products online and never touched the samples. The tests were part of a larger report by investment company Glaucus Research, which is highly critical of Celestial Seasonings parent company Hain Celestial.
Glaucus is an investment firm that specializes in short selling. Short selling is betting money that a stock price will go down.
Glaucus would benefit from bad news about the company, but they can be sued for fraud if they knowingly put out a false report. Hain has filed no such lawsuit so far.
Untainted tainted samples of Celestial Seasonings teas
In the report, released February 21, 2013, Glaucus says, “it is important to note that at no time did we take custody of, touch or handle any of the tea samples. Rather, we had the products shipped directly to Eurofins from the Company’s website and other online retailers.”
Glaucus said it encourages others to repeat their tests. Glaucus further said, “the only way for consumers to make good food choices is if food producers are held accountable for the marketing and labeling of their products.”
So, who can you trust for actually good sustainable tea? Twinings.
Incidentally, Celestial Seasonings got an ‘E,’ the lowest sustainability ranking.
The list of the Celestial Seasonings teas tested
The following were the teas that were tested by Eurofins. Only the Rooibos Safari Spice turned up zero pesticides, the rest exceeded Federal safety and/or California safety limits:
-Green Tea Peach Blossom
-Green Tea Raspberry Gardens
-Authentic Green Tea
-Antioxidant Max Dragon Fruit
-Green Tea Honey Lemon Ginger
-Antioxidant Max Blackberry Pomegranate
-Antioxidant Max Blood Orange
-Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape
-Sleepytime Herb Teas
-English Breakfast Black K-Cup
-Rooibos Safari Spice
A better way to solve this?
Perhaps the best way to settle this, is to have a Consumer Reports or Environmental Working Group type of organization buy samples off the shelves and send them to a lab.
DISCLOSURE: I have no investment position in HAIN.
And Now onto the Good News:
Victory in Vermont: Senate Passes Bill 28-2 to Label GMOs
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Breaking News: Vermont’s Senate has passed H.112, a bill to require mandatory labeling of foods sold in Vermont that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Food manufacturers will also no longer be able to call things ‘natural’ or ‘all natural’ when they are an amalgamation of toxic chemicals, otherwise known as non-food. H.112 sets new precedence since other GMO labeling bills passed last year in Maine and Connecticut required five other states in their vicinity to pass labeling laws before theirs would go into effect.
Vermont’s labeling bill requires no ‘trigger’ for it to be enacted – a clever way that legislators and Monsanto’s lackeys were able to stall labeling in other states previously. All that is left to do to make Vermont the first state to require labeling of GMOs is for the House to agree to the Senate’s amendments and for Gov. Peter Shumlin to sign it into action.
The director of Organic Consumer’s Association commented on this huge success:
“Today’s victory in Vermont has been 20 years in the making. Ever since genetically modified crops and foods entered the U.S. food supply in the early 1990s, without adequate independent pre-market safety testing and without labels, U.S. consumers have fought to require the labeling of foods containing GMOs.
Consumer demand for mandatory labeling of GMOs spawned a national grassroots movement that has persevered despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the biotech and food industries to lobby state lawmakers in Vermont, and to fund anti-labeling campaigns in California (2012) and Washington State (2013).”
“Applying sustainable solutions in all areas of our work while continuing to deliver products that enhance consumers’ lives is a top priority for GMA and its members.”
Please. Coca-cola uses aspartame, a GMO bacteria poison. A UK label on Kraft’s Mac n Cheese admits it can cause ADHD, and often uses GMO wheat. Kellogg’s, the makers of Kashi, a supposedly healthful, ‘natural’ cereal, is full of GMOs. No wonder Kellogg’s was a big donor to the No on 37 campaign and spent $46 million fighting Proposition 37, the California ballot initiative for GMO labeling. What about another GMA member, General Mills? In an article presented by Food Business News, General Mills defends their use of GMOs, stating the World Health Organization’s talking points as if they were read straight out of a WHO propaganda notebook:
“…biotechnology shows promise to address such issues as strengthening crops against drought and extreme temperature, and delivering more nutritious food, even in poor soil conditions,” the report said. “We agree with the U.N. World Health Organization (W.H.O.) that the development of genetically modified organisms (G.M.O.s) offers the potential for increased agricultural productivity or improved nutritional value that can contribute directly to enhancing human health and development.”
United State’s citizens will not back down. We won’t be fed toxic food at will. Even if Vermont were to be sued over H.112, millions of dollars would be wasted. The law goes into effect July 1, 2016 – and you will lose, Monsanto.
Vermont Introduces Monumental GMO Labeling Legislation
Vermont has taken the initiative against Monsanto and other biotechnology corporations in launching new legislation that would require the labeling of products containing genetically modified ingredients. The bill, known as the ‘VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act’, was introduced to the Vermont House of Representatives by Representative Kate Webb of Shelburne on February 1st, 2012. The bill would require the labeling of not only products filled entirely with GMOs, but also for those partially created using GM ingredients.
Perhaps most monumental is the fact that the legislation would prohibit GMO food manufacturers from using promotional labels like “natural,” “naturally made,” “naturally grown,” “all natural,” or any words of similar import. The bill, which can be read for free online, would require strict and clear labeling on GMO-containing food items. The wording states that in the case of a raw agricultural commodity, the label ‘genetically modified’ would be clearly visible. As for processed food products, the words ‘partially produced with genetic engineering’ or ‘may be partially produced with genetic engineering’ would appear prominently on the front or back of the package.
Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture , testimony is to begin on the topic later this month.
The introduction of the legislation highlights the growing grassroots opposition against Monsanto and GMOs alike. In addition, the legislation would end phony ‘all natural’ product claims when in actuality they contain very unnatural genetically modified organisms. Just recently one consumer took legal action against major snack-maker Frito-Lay, claiming that the labeling of GMO-filled snack products as ‘all natural’ is deceptive and misleading.
VPIRG Consumer Protection Advocate Falko Schilling spoke in support of the act saying “This is a consumer right to know issue, just as we require nutritional labels on food so that shoppers can make informed choices, consumers should have the same access to information about whether their food has been genetically engineered.”
In the event this bill passes, a political awakening could occur across the nation regarding the true labeling of products filled with genetically modified ingredients.