Cooking camp and rogue GE wheat

Another fun summer camp; plus, GM wheat sneaks onto Oregon farm

Fun in the sun!

Fun in the sun!

Cooking (and swimming!) camp
Kim Weir, who works at Chico State’s Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion (CNAP), sent me a press release announcing the upcoming LEAP into Kids Cooking Camp, a five-day cooking- and swimming-focused day-camp for children ages 7 to 13. (“LEAP” stands for “Lifelong Eating and Activity Patterns.”)

Each afternoon of the half-day (1 to 5 p.m.) camp “starts with supervised swimming at the Shapiro Pool [on Oleander Avenue], followed by a walk over to the OPT for Healthy Living office [1311 Mangrove Ave.]. Activities there cover food-education topics, including balanced meals; soda and sweetened beverages; the importance of water; fat and fast food; fiber and whole grains; portion sizes; and ways to increase physical activity,” says the press release.

Camp-goers will learn how to make “everything from Southwestern black-eyed-pea-and-corn salad and meatless meatballs, to orange-oatmeal pancakes during hands-on cooking instruction.”

Two camp sessions are offered—one runs June 17 to 21 and the other goes from July 15 to 19. Cost is $40 per child ($20 each for additional siblings), and scholarships are available. Campers are asked to bring a healthful snack, water, a bathing suit and a towel, and walking shoes. For more information and to make a reservation, call OPT for Healthy Living at 345-0678.

Genetically engineered wheat is not approved for commercial production or sale anywhere in the world, and yet it was recently found growing on a farm in Oregon.

Sneaky wheat
On May 29, the USDA announced that unapproved, genetically engineered wheat was recently found growing in the field of a farmer in Oregon. “The GE wheat, known as Roundup Ready, was developed by the Monsanto Company to withstand direct application of Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide,” the Center for Food Safety wrote in a press release. The farmer discovered the surprise crop after he sprayed his (non-GE) wheat field with glyphosate and the rogue Monsanto wheat survived.

The strain of GE wheat that somehow sneaked onto the Oregon farm is the same variety “that was field-tested by Monsanto from 1998 to 2005 but was rejected,” according to the Food Poisoning Bulletin. There currently are no GE varieties of wheat approved for commercial production or sale anywhere in the world.

According to The New York Times, “Japan and South Korea suspended some imports of American wheat, and the European Union urged its 27 nations to increase testing” in response to the Oregon incident.

Center for Food Safety Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell was quoted as saying that the USDA “has once again failed to protect the food supply from GE crop contamination.

“This incident underscores why stronger regulation is long overdue,” said Kimbrell. “Congress needs to investigate how this occurred and the prevalence of contamination. Until then, USDA, at a minimum, should immediately place a moratorium on open-air field testing of genetically engineered crops.”

I see worries in the fact that we have the power to manipulate genes inways that would be improbable or impossible through conventional evolution. We shouldn’t be complacent in thinking that we can predict the results. —British neurobiologist Colin Blakemore

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. —Confucius