How To Be Vegan by Elizabeth Castoria

how to be vegan

 

Jane and I just had the opportunity to read How To Be Vegan by Elizabeth Castoria.  This is a great book for people considering a vegan lifestyle. It touches on what to eat, what to wear, things to consider when furnishing your home, and travel. But perhaps, my favorite chapter is the section on manners. Ms. Castoria promotes the idea that it "makes more sense to encourage people in what they are doing to make the world better than to hound them for what they are not doing," a philosophy we can soundly endorse.

This book is also a great reference for people who are not vegan, but have vegans in their lives. It provides enough of an overview in an easy to read and understand format, that the reader will gain an understanding of what vegan means in all its iterations. It illustrates that being vegan isn't something difficult and bizarre, but rather a compassionate way of life. The book also contains 50 recipes, a sampling of things to make from breakfast to dessert.

We've been vegan for over 7 years now, so we really didn't learn anything new reading this book, but this was a good refresher. We especially enjoyed the travel section. Ms. Castoria recommends Shojin, our favorite vegan restaurant, as one of the restaurants you should visit when in Los Angeles. We heartily concur!

 

 

 

fresh from the garden

Vegan Cheese: Biohackers Are Growing Real Cheese In A Lab, No Cow Needed

If you're a vegan, cheese options are limited. There are high-quality vegan cheeses out there, but they just don't taste the same, and they're mostly soft-- it's difficult to make any sort of hard vegan cheese, like gouda or cheddar. A team of Bay Area biohackers is trying to create a new option: real vegan cheese. That is, cheese derived from baker's yeast that has been modified to produce real milk proteins. It's the same as cow cheese, but made without the cow. Think of it as the cheese equivalent of lab-grown meat.

The journey towards vegan cheese began a few years ago, when synthetic biologist Marc Juul started thinking about the genetic engineering possibilities. Now, Juul and a group of people from two Bay Area biohacker spaces, Counter Culture Labs and BioCurious, are trying to create a finished product in time for the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition--a global synthetic biology competition--in October. So far, they've raised over $16,000 on Indiegogo to do it.

The vegan cheese team does have a number of vegan and vegetarian members, as well as others passionate about the challenge and the prospect of having cheese that doesn't require the mistreatment of cows. "We're blessed in the Bay Area. There are lots of great cheeses produced north of San Francisco--small scale, organic, free-range, small cheese manufacturers. But that doesn’t hold for most cheese currently being made," says Patrik D'haeseleer, a computational biologist on the team.

In order to get baker's yeast to produce milk proteins, the team scoured animal genomes to come up with milk-protein genetic sequences. Those sequences are then inserted into yeast, where they can produce milk protein. Once the protein is purified, it needs to be mixed with a vegan milk-fat replacement, sugar (not lactose, so that the cheese will be edible by the lactose intolerant among us), and water to create vegan milk. Then the normal cheese-making process can commence. The team wants to start with a cheddar or gouda to satisfy vegan cravings for hard cheese.

"There are lots of naturally occurring cheese proteins that have naturally occurring [positive] health effects. We can pick and choose variants we want to use," says D'haeseleer. He stresses that the end product is GMO free. While the yeast is genetically modified, the purified proteins secreted by the yeast are not. Rennet used in traditional cheese is produced in a similar manner, using GMO E.coli bacteria.

Research is still in the early stages. By October, the team hopes to have four of the casein (milk) proteins produced and verified, along with the enzyme that attaches phosphate groups to these proteins. Ideally, the team would also like to demonstrate that it can coagulate the ingredients into cheese.

"At that point, we might have a small amount of what we might call cheese, on the order of grams or milligrams. Then we can start talking about how to scale it up," says D'haeseleer. "When it gets into the art and science of cheesemaking, we would probably collaborate with a real cheesemaker at that point. That's a whole different skillset."

In theory, they can make vegan cheese from any mammal's DNA--including humans and other mammals. If the team reaches its stretch goal of $20,000, it plans to create Narwhal cheese, working with researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz on genetic sequencing and analysis.

All of the research is going up on a public wiki, but some of the team members may reportedly be interested in pursuing this full-time eventually. "10 years ago, this kind of science wouldn’t have been possible," says D'haeseleer. "For synthetic biology, it's gotten to the point where a team of biohackers like us can accomplish this."

source: fastcoexist.com

1200 calorie meal from a vegan weightlifter

A 1200 calorie meal with only 3 grams of fat and 50 grams of protein. He is a professional athlete. He suggests that most people only need 100 grams of protein per day. Check out this video.

Fresh From The Garden – Free Kindle Book – Today Only

fresh from the gardenFree is always good, right? Fresh from the Garden Recipes:: A Bounty of 120 Dishes Featuring Fresh Produce is available for free today only at Amazon. If you're ready to "buy" it, here's a link: http://veganbits.com/fresh-from-the-garden

I have no read it yet, but I just picked up a copy. I would normally read the entire book and then have the Mrs. make a few recipes and then submit our review of the book, but since it's free for today only, I just decided to write a quick note to let you know about it...

If you want to know more about it, here's a snippet from Amazon:

This Harvest-Filled Cookbook is the Best of the Crop!

After long hours or planting and days of water an weeding have finally paid off and your back-yard garden is ready for the picking!

But finding inspiring ways of enjoying your plentiful harvest of homegrown fruits and vegetables can sometimes be challenging. Well, you can drop the shovel and start digging into Fresh from the Garden Recipes to find a bounty of 120 dishes featuring fresh produce instead.

This cookbook has a collection of 120 recipes full of fresh ideas for soups and salads, main dishes, desserts and more, all requiring for fresh ingredients straight from your garden, fruit tree or berry patch.
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, all you need to do is visit your local farmers markets and supermarket for a supply of fresh produce throughout the year. You will then be able to turn to the pages of this cookbook regardless of the season!

But before you find you find your produce, turn to the “Guide to Vegetables” at the beginning of the book. There you will find all the tips and tricks for picking (or buying), storing, preparing, and cooking the fresh ingredients featured in this cookbook.

With Fresh from the Garden Recipes in your cookbook collection, you will soon be harvesting a bounty of compliments and praises from your family and friends.

fresh from the garden

 

 

Review: The Oh She Glows Cookbook

the oh she glows cookbook

 

Recently we were invited to review The Oh She Glows Cookbook. Jane usually likes to try three recipes before we write up a post as she thinks it isn't fair to judge a book by just one recipe.

oh she glows cookbookOur initial impression was that the cookbook was very appealing, the photography is mouthwateringly beautiful, but would the actual results live up to the photos?  YES! At least for the three recipes we tried.

First up, Jane made the Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Soup. If you don't like curry, this probably won't work for you, but we love Indian cuisine so this was right up our alley taste-wise. This recipe is a soup; we also had it on top of rice for a slightly heartier meal.

For our recent road trip up to Santa Cruz, Jane made the Perfect Roasted Chickpeas. They are a great snack and Jane has plans to try the Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas next as she loves that flavor combo.

Our final recipe for review was the Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip. We loved this one best of all.  Jane added half a package of Trader Joe's vegan ground meat to the recipe because she had some that had been recently opened and needed to be used. This was a smash hit with our friends too. Jane is planning on making this again and using it as a base for some kind of burrito or quesadilla. Yum.

It's not all that often that we find a cookbook that we are as excited about as this one.  If you get one new cookbook this year, do yourselves a favor and buy The Oh She Glows Cookbook.

oh she glows

Mayo Clinic: How to be a healthy vegetarian

healthy eating

A well-planned vegetarian diet can meet the needs of people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them.

 Types of vegetarian diets
 When people think about a vegetarian diet, they typically think about a diet that doesn't include meat, poultry or fish. But vegetarian diets vary in what foods they include and exclude:
  • Lacto-vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, poultry and eggs, as well as foods that contain them. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, are included.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs.
  • Vegan diets exclude meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products — and foods that contain these products.

Some people follow a semi-vegetarian diet — also called a flexitarian diet — which is primarily a plant-based diet but includes meat, dairy, eggs, poultry and fish on occasion or in small quantities.

Vegetarian diet pyramid

A healthy diet takes planning, and a food pyramid can be a helpful tool. The vegetarian pyramid outlines food groups and food choices that, if eaten in the right quantities, form the foundation of a healthy vegetarian diet.

Getting adequate nutrition

The key to a healthy vegetarian diet — like any diet — is to enjoy a variety of foods. No single food can provide all the nutrients your body needs. The more restrictive your diet is, the more challenging it can be to get all the nutrients you need. A vegan diet, for example, eliminates natural food sources of vitamin B-12, as well as milk products, which are good sources of calcium.

With a little planning, however, you can be sure that your diet includes everything your body needs. Pay special attention to the following nutrients:

  • Calcium helps build and maintain strong teeth and bones. Milk and dairy foods are highest in calcium. However, dark green vegetables, such as turnip and collard greens, kale and broccoli, are good plant sources when eaten in sufficient quantities. Calcium-enriched and fortified products, including juices, cereals, soy milk, soy yogurt and tofu, are other options.
  • Iodine is a component in thyroid hormones, which help regulate metabolism, growth and function of key organs. Vegans may not get enough iodine and be at risk of deficiency and possibly even a goiter. In addition, foods such as soybeans, cruciferous vegetables and sweet potatoes may promote a goiter. However, just 1/4 teaspoon of iodized salt provides a significant amount of iodine.
  • Iron is a crucial component of red blood cells. Dried beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, dark leafy green vegetables and dried fruit are good sources of iron. Because iron isn't as easily absorbed from plant sources, the recommended intake of iron for vegetarians is almost double that recommended for nonvegetarians. To help your body absorb iron, eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage and broccoli, at the same time as you're eating iron-containing foods.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids areimportant for heart health. Diets that do not include fish and eggs are generally low in active forms of omega-3 fatty acids. Canola oil, soy oil, walnuts, ground flaxseed and soybeans are good sources of essential fatty acids. However, because conversion of plant-based omega-3 to the types used by humans is inefficient, you may want to consider fortified products or supplements, or both.
  • Protein helps maintain healthy skin, bones, muscles and organs. Eggs and dairy products are good sources, and you don't need to eat large amounts to meet your protein needs. You can also get sufficient protein from plant-based foods if you eat a variety of them throughout the day. Plant sources include soy products and meat substitutes, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
  • Vitamin B-12 is necessary to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia. This vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal products, so it can be difficult to get enough B-12 on a vegan diet. Vitamin B-12 deficiency may go undetected in people who eat a vegan diet. This is because the vegan diet is rich in a vitamin called folate, which may mask deficiency in vitamin B-12 until severe problems occur. For this reason, it's important for vegans to consider vitamin supplements, vitamin-enriched cereals and fortified soy products.
  • Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health.Vitamin D is added to cow's milk, some brands of soy and rice milk, and some cereals and margarines. Be sure to check food labels. If you don't eat enough fortified foods and have limited sun exposure, you may need a vitamin D supplement (one derived from plants).
  • Zinc is an essential component of many enzymes and plays a role in cell division and in formation of proteins. Like iron, zinc is not as easily absorbed from plant sources as it is from animal products. Cheese is a good option if you eat dairy products. Plant sources of zinc include whole grains, soy products, legumes, nuts and wheat germ.

If you need help creating a vegetarian diet that's right for you, talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian.

Getting started
If you're not following a vegetarian diet but you're thinking of trying it, here are some ideas to help you get started:
  • Ramp up. Each week increase the number of meatless meals you already enjoy, such as spaghetti with tomato sauce or vegetable stir-fry.
  • Learn to substitute. Take favorite recipes and try them without meat. For example, make vegetarian chili by leaving out the ground beef and adding an extra can of black beans. Or make fajitas using extra-firm tofu rather than chicken. You may be surprised to find that many dishes require only simple substitutions.
  • Branch out. Scan the Internet for vegetarian menus. Buy or borrow vegetarian cookbooks. Check out ethnic restaurants to sample new vegetarian cuisines. The more variety you bring to your vegetarian diet, the more likely you'll be to meet all your nutritional needs.

 

source: Mayo Clinic

Is a raw food diet right for kids?

veganbits

Meals for Levi Bowland are pretty much the same every day. For breakfast, it’s melon. For lunch, a heaping bowl of coleslaw and three bananas. Dinner involves more fruit, and a salad.

Levi is 10 years old.

Since birth, he has eaten almost exclusively raw and vegan, meaning that no animal product, or any food heated over 118 degrees, passes his lips.

Before his birth, his parents, Dave and Mary Bowland, had “all these addictions to junk food, candy, pastry, fried fatty foods,” said Mr. Bowland, 47, an Internet consultant in Bobcaygeon, Ontario “We didn’t want Levi to grow up with those same addictions.”

The Bowlands are among a growing cadre of families who are raising their children on entirely uncooked fare: fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and sprouted grains. While most of these diets tend to be vegan, some do include raw meat or fish, as well as raw or unpasteurized milk, yogurt and cheese.

But many doctors are cautioning against the trend. A child’s digestive system may not be able “to pull the nutrients out of raw foods as effectively as an adult’s,” said Dr. Benjamin Kligler, a family practitioner with the Center for Health and Healing in Manhattan.

Over the last year, Dr. TJ Gold, a pediatrician in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with a strong focus on nutrition, has seen about five families who are feeding their children, including toddlers, raw diets. Some of the children were severely anemic, she said, and the parents were supplementing the diets with vitamin B12.

“If you have to supplement something for children in order to do it, is that really the right diet for them?” Dr. Gold said.

It’s hard to gauge how many families have adopted raw food diets, but websites abound, like the Raw Food Family blog, along with recipes, books, support groups, and products for purchase. The fifth annual Woodstock Fruit Festival in upstate New York this summer is expected to draw 1,000 raw-food devotees. About 20 percent are families with young children, said the founder, Michael Arnstein of thefruitarian.com.

Dr. Anupama Chawla, the director of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, points out that although fruits and vegetables are very good sources of vitamins and fiber, “they do lack protein.” Legumes, lentils, chickpeas and red beans, which have protein, she said, “can’t be eaten uncooked.”

Raw, unpasteurized animal products can also spread diseases like E. coli and Salmonella, Dr. Chawla added, one reason the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against feeding unpasteurized milk to infants, toddlers and pregnant women.

Others fear that the rigidity involved in such strict diets may border on pathology.

In many instances, a raw diet could be “an extension of the parents’ eating obsessions, and maybe even a clinical eating disorder that they have sort of packaged in this raw diet mentality,” said Dr. Margo Maine, a specialist in eating disorders in West Hartford, Conn., and author of “The Body Myth.”

Raw enthusiasts insist they are raising vibrant, energetic children who have never had a sick day in their lives.

Julia Rodrigues, 31, a mother of two in East Lyme, Conn., credits a raw diet with clearing up her eczema and acne, and helping her and her husband, Daniel, shed a combined 150 pounds. During her second pregnancy, she was almost entirely raw vegan; her toddlers, who also eat raw, are perfectly healthy, she said. She doesn’t understand the controversy: “If I were eating McDonald’s all day you wouldn’t say anything to me, but because I’m eating fruits and vegetables you would?”

Like others who eat only raw, or “live,” food, Ms. Rodrigues believes that cooking destroys immune-boosting minerals, enzymes and vitamins.

Andrea Giancoli, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, agreed that cooking may diminish some nutrients. “Enzymes are proteins, and proteins unravel when they are cooked, to a degree.” But, she said, enzymes are also naturally rendered inactive by the acidity in our stomachs. And several studies have shown that levels of some nutrients, like lycopene, are enhanced by cooking.

Some longtime raw-food evangelists are rethinking their devotion. Jinjee Talifero, who runs a raw-food education company with her husband, Storm, in Santa Barbara, Calif., was 100 percent raw for most of the last 20 years, until about a year ago, when financial and other considerations made it difficult to continue feeding their five children, ages 6 to 19, that way. “It was always like a borderline thing to keep enough weight on them,” she said, and getting proteins from cashews and almonds was proving too expensive.

Her children also ran up against social problems. “They were socially isolated, ostracized and simply left out,” said Ms. Talifero, who now incorporates cooked food in the family’s diet.

Sergei Boutenko, 29, a filmmaker in Ashland, Ore., ate only raw from 9 to 26, and for years his family preached the virtues of the diet. But, he said, “there was this constant hunger,” and the raw children he met seemed “underdeveloped and stunted.”

He now eats about 80 percent raw, with occasional meat and dairy. “When it takes 15 hours to make a raw food lasagna that wipes out two days of your life, it’s better to just make a vegan or vegetarian lasagna and move on with your day,” he said.

originally published: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/02/growing-up-on-raw-foods/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=health&_r=0

Sensitive To Gluten? A Carb In Wheat May Be The Real Culprit

wheatAre you eating a gluten free diet? Why? A report published by NPR yesterday suggests that people may be unnecessarily avoiding wheat gluten in the diet. The article states that people who have been diagnosed as have celiac disease might well want to avoid wheat gluten. But for those who haven't been diagnosed as having celiac might not need to avoid wheat gluten after all. Here's the two biggest takeaways from this article:

Gastroenterologists around the world who've been trying understand the gluten puzzle say they're increasingly convinced of two key things: One is that the number of people who are truly non-celiac gluten sensitive is probably very small. Second, they say that the people who say they feel better on a gluten-free diet are more likely sensitive to a specific kind of carbohydrate in the wheat — not the gluten protein.

So if you are not someone with celiac disease, you might want to expand your food options. Here's the entire article:

 

Uncertainty about the effects of gluten on people who don't have celiac disease, a serious autoimmune disease, but who identify as "gluten sensitive" or "gluten intolerant" is rampant among doctors, too. As more and more patients experiment on their own with a gluten-free diet, researchers are struggling to keep up with just how and why cutting out the gluten may be helping or hurting them.

But the gastroenterologists around the world who've been trying understand the gluten puzzle say they're increasingly convinced of two key things: One is that the number of people who are truly non-celiac gluten sensitive is probably very small. Second, they say that the people who say they feel better on a gluten-free diet are more likely sensitive to a specific kind of carbohydrate in the wheat — not the gluten protein.

That carbohydrate, called fructan, is a member of a group of carbs that gastroenterologists say is irritating the guts of a lot of people, causing gas, diarrhea, distention and other uncomfortable symptoms. Altogether, these carbs are called fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols, or the cumbersome acronym FODMAPs.

If you're someone with a sensitive stomach and you've never heard of FODMAPs, listen up. In addition to fructan in wheat (and garlic and artichokes), FODMAPs include fructose (found in some fruit), lactose (found in some dairy products) and galactans (found in some legumes).

While most people can digest FODMAPs with no problem, for many with chronic gut disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, they're poorly absorbed by the small intestine and then fermented by bacteria to produce gas, which leads to those unpleasant symptoms. IBS affects up to 20 percent of Americans.

After a team of scientists at Monash University in Australia led by Peter Gibson and Susan Shepherd linked FODMAPs to IBS in 1999, they designed the low-FODMAP diet. According to William Chey, a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, the diet was swiftly embraced by doctors and dieticians as a treatment for IBS because it's as effective as the drugs on the market. (In most trials, 70 percent of patients see improvement in their IBS symptoms when they go on the low-FODMAP diet.)

Yet the gluten-free diet is still way more popular and well-known than the low-FODMAP diet. And that's led researchers to want to try to separate the effects of the gluten protein from the FODMAPs in foods like wheat where both are found.

Back around 2010, Jessica Biesiekierski, who's now a post-doctoral research fellow at the Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders in Belgium, heard that a lot of people with IBS in Melbourne, Australia, were saying they experienced benefits from the gluten-free diet. That gave her the idea, while she was a grad student at Monash, to do a trial to test gluten sensitivity in these people who didn't have celiac disease.

In a study published in 2011, Biesiekierski and a team of researchers at Monash (who were also involved with the FODMAP research) showed evidence of the existence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity in a randomized controlled trial of 34 people, some of whom got gluten and some of whom got placebo.

"Everybody was jumping up and down since that was the first study to show gluten could induce symptoms in patients that did not have celiac disease," Biesiekierski tells The Salt. It also helped fuel the explosion of gluten-free food: The number of people with celiac disease is small — less than 1 percent of the population — but suddenly it seemed possible that a lot more people were sensitive to gluten and should avoid it.

The results, published in 2013 in the journal Gastroenterology, were intriguing. Only 8 percent of the participants had gluten-specific effects from the gluten diets, while all participants has significantly improved symptoms on the low-FODMAP diet. The researchers concluded that gluten had no specific or dose-dependent effects on patients who claimed to be gluten sensitive but were not diagnosed with celiac disase.

"We believe non-celiac gluten sensitivity probably does exist, but it's not very common and we have a lot more to do until we fully understand [gluten]," Biesiekierski says.

And, Biesiekierski says, for the majority of the people with IBS, FODMAPs like fructan are more likely to be the trigger than gluten. "That means we really have to understand the differences between gluten sources and FODMAP sources," she says, to help people figure out what's upsetting their stomachs and how to avoid the triggers.

What's more, in a survey published in April, Biesiekierski found that some people who put themselves on a gluten-free diet still had some symptoms, which suggests they could be sensitive to FODMAPs other than the ones in wheat.

Chey, the gastroenterologist at the University of Michigan, agrees that fructans in wheat are more likely to be triggering IBS in most patients than the gluten. "But we still need to understand which symptoms are related to gluten, and [which ones are] related to fructans," he says.

And it's exceedingly difficult for scientists to answer these questions.

"It's really hard to design and execute studies that really separate out constituent effects of food," says Chey. "We've still got a long ways to go."

Regardless, Chey says, "a number of people, including me, now feel that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a misnomer. We should be saying wheat intolerance."

Another critical determinant of gut health that scientists are scrambling to understand is the community of microbes in the digestive tract, as we've reported. Chey notes that what you eat influences your microbiome, and your microbiome influences how you ferment carbs like FODMAPs that reach your colon.

While many people say they feel better when they cut out the gluten, there's also a question as to how many of them are experiencing the nocebo effect — when believing that something makes you sick causes it to do so.

Despite the confusion — or perhaps because of itgluten-free food is spreading through the market like wildfire. According to Mintel, a market research company, sales of gluten-free products reached about $10.5 billion in 2013. And the company expects them to rise to $15 billion annually by 2016. The gluten-free diet isn't just trendy in the U.S. It's also taking off in Europe and Australia.

Originally published here: NPR.org

Silk Almondmilk Recall

WhiteWave Foods Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Almondmilk in Half Gallon Silk® Light Original Soymilk Containers!

WhiteWave announced a voluntary recall today of half gallon containers of Silk Light Original Soymilk in the states of Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming, because they may contain undeclared almond milk. People who have an allergy or sensitivity to almonds run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

While no illnesses have been reported to date, people who bought the product should return it to where it was purchased. We are deeply disappointed that we fell short of your and our own high expectations, and we've implemented measures to prevent this from happening again.

You can find more information about the affected product on their website: www.silk.com/recall.
You can also call them at 1–866–663–4349.

As an alternative, you can make your own almond milk.

 

Vermont is first state in U.S. to mandate genetically modified food labels

May 8 (Reuters) - Vermont on Thursday became the first U.S. state to mandate labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms as Governor Peter Shumlin signed a law that is expected to be challenged in court by some food and agriculture companies.

The law, set to take effect July 1, 2016, would for the first time align at least a small part of the United States with more than 60 other countries that require labeling of genetically engineered foods. And it sets the stage for more than two dozen other states that are currently considering mandatory labeling of such GMO foods.

"Vermonters will have the right to know what's in their food," Shumlin told cheering supporters in a speech on the state House steps. "We are pro-information. Vermont gets it right with this bill."

Shumlin said the state had set up a "food fight fund" to take online donations to help defend the law from litigation.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) said after the bill was signed into law that it would file suit in federal court to try to overturn the law.

Consumer groups and lawmakers supporting mandatory labeling say there are concerns about the safety and the environmental impacts of genetically engineered crops, and labels would help consumers easily distinguish products containing GMOs so they can avoid them if they wish.

The consumer sentiment has pushed a growing number of U.S. food companies to start using non-genetically modified ingredients for their products because of the consumer backlash against GMOs.

But the move away from GMOs has upset the food and agriculture industries, including the makers of genetically modified corn, soybeans, canola and other crops widely used in packaged foods. They say their products are proven safe, and that mandatory labels will imply they are unsafe, confuse consumers and increase costs.

"Scientific bodies and regulatory officials around the world recognize that foods made from genetically modified (GM) crops are as safe as their non-GM counterparts," said Cathleen Enright, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). "GM crops have enabled farmers to produce more on less land with fewer pesticide applications, less water and reduced on-farm fuel use."

BIO, a trade group whose members include Monsanto Co , Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical Co, and other biotech seed companies, said food costs for an average household would rise as $400 per year due to mandatory labeling.

BIO and the GMA are backing a proposed federal law that would nullify Vermont's labeling law and any other mandatory labeling of GMOs in the United States.

They say there is scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs. But last October, a group of 93 international scientists issued a statement saying that claim is false, and more independent research is needed. (Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Grant McCool)

source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/08/usa-gmo-labeling-idUSL2N0NU2CY20140508