You say “GE” (genetically engineered), I say “GMO” (genetically modified organisms), let’s call the whole thing off? Not so fast. What the heck is a GMO? We hear a lot of buzz about a movement to label GMO foods, and at least 30 nations around the world have banned or mandate labeling of all GMO ingredients on any products sold in their nations ... but no such laws exist in the United States. Why?
What exactly is a GMO? I decided to find out. Along with a slew of reports I was assigned on Sustainability Studies as a full-time student at , researching all kinds of issues such as energy, natural systems, city planning, policy and development, green architecture, civilizations and collapse, I took my lifelong interest in food, nutrition, healthy cooking and gardening, and dug in on the study of the state of our overall food system. What I learned blew my mind.
Like many people I speak with about our foods, including those who are highly educated, I was stunned to learn that GMOs are not just hybrids, the way a gardener might breed a white rose with a red rose to get a pink rose variety. GMOs that dominate the ingredients in our processed food supply are made from seeds that have been inserted with genes from pesticides (including 2,4-D an Agent Orange component), herbicides, e.coli, antibiotics, steroids, and viruses, just for starters. What??
It started in 1994, a first commercial GMO plant was the Calgene test tube creation called the Flavr-Savr tomato, bought out by Monsanto, developed by genetic insertion of fish genes into tomato seeds. The idea was that the tomatoes would have a longer shelf life, rot more slowly and keep their color when shipped long distances in trucks. The Flavr-Savr tomato was a mushy, unsatisfying product, and was discontinued by 1997.
Compared to the current array of toxic GMO cocktails bred into our food, the Flavr-Savr was a non-event. Today, a high percentage of what we find in bags, bottles, boxes and cans contains GMO ingredients. Over 84 percent of what is on our grocery store shelves contains GMOs. Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready corn, soy, canola, and this year, alfalfa and sugar beets have seeds inserted with the herbicide RoundUp, which then migrates into every cell of the plant. This is intended to be a bit of the hair of the dog that bit you, so that when RoundUp herbicide is sprayed on these crops, everything but the target plants is killed, leaving the corn, soy, canola, etc., free from predator plants, a.k.a. “weeds.” Once these crops make it into the products on our shelves, guess who is eating that RoundUp, boys and girls? That would be you and me.
Adding to this one example of the many toxic GMO cocktails in our commodity food crops today, are the thousands of unregulated chemicals added to livestock feed that include antibiotics and steroids, fed to these animals not for medicinal purposed, but rather, to get these animals fattened up and to market faster than ever. When we eat these animal products, guess who is also eating the chemicals and drugs these animals have been raised on, boys and girls? That would also be you and me.
Knowing this, are you, too, wondering why we are not labeling these GMO ingredients in our food supply? How can the thousands of chemicals used in these food technologies be unregulated? How can it be possible that these GMO crops are not regulated or safety tested for long term human health damage? Do these GMO foods have anything to do with the exponential increase we see in ADD, ADHD, autism, infertility, birth defects, obesity, myriad cancers, organ failure, and allergies? Great questions! In upcoming blogs, I will talk about the massive pesticide, herbicide and chemicals in our food supply, which are now present in our water supply and in the blood of most Americans and fetuses in pregnant mothers today.
Why won’t the USDA and FDA demand the labeling of GMO ingredients in our food? Do you think these ingredients should be labeled so we can make educated choices in the grocery store? We will look more at these questions in coming blogs, as well.
This week, a class action suit of 300,000 citizens vs. Monsanto Corporation, claiming these GMO seeds cross-contaminate neighboring organic farms from natural pollen and wind drift, and toxic chemical contamination from deadly designer sprays required by contract on these crops, was heard in a NY court. http://www.npr.org/2012/02/01/146144078/monsanto-accused-in-suit-tied-to-agent-orange
To pressure the nation’s largest supermarket chains to voluntarily adopt truth-in-labeling practices sign here, and circulate this petition widely: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22309.cfm
Together we can better understand how powerful we are and how we can effectively increase our access to healthy, clearly labeled food. Check my blog for articles and links on food issues:
cleanfoodearth.blogspot.com – Clean Food Earth Woman. Hey, we’ve all gotta eat!