Dallas chef rids the menu of genetically-modified foods

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by SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on July 9, 2013 at 10:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 9 at 11:19 PM

DALLAS — Meet the leader of the Mohawk Militia: Patrick Stark.

As executive chef of Sundown at Granada, he's one of the first to revamp his entire menu to be GMO-free. There's nothing that's been "genetically modified" here — just natural, organic products.

"It's got an opening sheet, and it will be handed out with every menu, to be completely transparent with our customers, saying we are about 97 percent GMO-free right now," Stark said.

By the fall, the restaurant's new menu will be 100 percent GMO-free. To prove it, Stark is providing the source for everything customers eat in a book.

"You have your meat tab, your dairy tab, your produce," he explained, adding that this is his purpose in life — to help people eat "clean."

"We're being played like puppets, and we're eating cancer every day," Stark said.

He maintains that the engineering behind food these days isn't natural; he worries about the health risk. So his "Mowhawk Militia" is encouraging you to vote with your fork.

"Imagine this: A dude in a suit spraying chemicals. He has to wear the suit to protect him, but at the end of the day we're opening up a batch of strawberries and putting it in our mouths and ingesting it," Stark said.

Trisha Sims, a registered dietitian with Baylor Health Care System, said there are a lot of questions in the research world. Does processed food have a relationship to cancer, allergies, and even digestive disorders?

"We don't really know the long-term effects of GMOs at this point," she said. "But the important thing is to eat as close to earth as possible. Just because something claims to be non-GMO doesn't mean it's necessarily healthier for you."

Sims said some plants have been genetically modified to help them survive. "They can take two varieties to make one," she said. "For example, the Hawaiian papaya is a genetically modified fruit."

But these hybrid plants have nutrition, too. Sims said she's less concerned with GMO-free than making sure people eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in the diet.

Stark won't risk it. He's pro-active now, hoping the more people say "no" to GMOs, the more organic groups can gain ground in restaurants.

"This has been a good partnership for both of us, because they're being able to build their business, and in turn they're able to lower their prices to help keep it more affordable for my customers," Stark said. 

Food at his restaurant is made the old fashioned way, and -- in his opinion -- the right way.

How can you tell if you are eating genetically-modified products: All organic foods sold in the U.S. must be certified to USDA National Organic Program, which prohibits the use of GMOs. Or Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified seal.

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com

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