GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms, or Genetic Engineering, or even Genetically Altered, may or may not be terms you’re familiar with. But maybe you should be. Is it just me, or was that first part confusing? Well, confused is exactly what the bio-tech companies would like you to be. In fact, the term, GMO, is an underhanded PR trick to make consumers feel less threatened. Who in their right mind would actually choose, on their own free will, to consume a genetically engineered vegetable, fruit, or even fish?!? It’s not natural for a tomato to contain part of a fish’s DNA code, enabling it to resist freezing. Nor is it natural for a salmon to have artificially combined growth hormone genes from another unrelated type of salmon, spliced together with DNA from the anti-freeze genes of an eelpout, causing the fish to grow at twice the normal rate. Yikes!!! I certainly don’t want to be the guinea pig in these behemoth bio-tech companies’ games. If you want to hold a science experiment, keep it on the lab table, and not on my dinner table!
I am not a scientist and, therefore, am not going to try and accurately describe the process of Genetic Engineering. However, I will try to give you somewhat of an understanding of the process on a cellular level. Genetic Engineering is done by inserting a new code into an existing cell so that it will act differently and become more resistant to herbicides. Of course, this is no easy task to accomplish, considering how delicate nature is. The cell will try to resist. Thus, scientists must have a carrier, or a way in which, to override the cell’s natural code. This is accomplished through the use of viral or bacterial carriers. We all know how quickly a virus will spread through a child’s classroom! Viruses and bacteria are programed to “get the job done” quickly, so to speak. Unfortunately, though, there’s no stopping a virus or bacteria once they have infected your body. The same holds true for GE foods. Scientists don’t fully understand how the GE organism will react. And they certainly do not know the full health repercussions of consuming these organisms.
(This video is of a lecture by Jeffrey Smith, expert and advocate against GE organisms. There about 10 videos in the series on YouTube, and it will give you a much better understanding of the health consequences associated with GMOs.)
And now, I come to the somewhat exhaustive list of GE foods that can be found on the market today. Of course, in theory, we would avoid GMOs, but many times the very products we are attempting to avoid are unknown to us. Truly the only way we can now for sure that we are not consuming a GE animal, produce, or by-product, is to strictly buy organic. Here we go…..!
Soy and all its derivatives, including: soy flour and soy oil, which are commonly used in bakery products and pet food, as well as soy protein, soy lecithin, soy sauce, and soy isolates. Even infant formula, unless organic, has a high risk of containing GE soy! Soy is also fed to almost all animals raised on factory farms, so unless you know for sure where your meat is coming from, it probably contains these GMO genes within the meat, simply due to its past diet. (Another YIKES!)
Corn, another common GE food, is found in corn meal, corn syrup, Corn Flakes, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, popcorn, frozen corn, and many other breakfast cereals on the market today. Corn is also used in animal feed, just like soy. Canola, or rapeseed, is widely used as cooking oil, and is yet another GMO. Since 2005, the following GE foods were also approved for consumption by the U.S. Government: alfalfa, potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupe, papaya, rice, sugar beets (which are used in numerous products as a sweetener), radicchio, squash, flax seed, and wheat.
Currently there is no legislation mandating the labeling of GE foods in the United States. Consumers are left in total darkness about the products they are buying and consuming. Unless enough of us demand labeling, it’s not going to happen, either. Corporations, such as Monsanto, would like consumers to be kept in the dark regarding this issue. Hey, if the consumer doesn’t actually know for sure whether or not they are consuming a GE food, they probably will keep buying it, and Monsanto will be able to continue selling its GE seeds and pesticides, despite the numerable health and environmental consequences.
There is a small grass-roots momentum, which I hope won’t be so small soon, against Monsanto, called “Millions Against Monsanto.” This campaign is calling for truth-in-labeling legislation. You can read more info here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/Monsanto/ten-things-monsanto.pdf
If companies, like Monsanto, want to continue producing GE food, then we consumers want a big, fat warning label on the product. Think of it like the warning label on the side of a bottle of bleach: Lethal If Ingested! I urge you, after doing a little of your own research, to sign the petition, if you so choose. You may do so here: http://www.capwiz.com/grassrootsnetroots/issues/alert/?alertid=21526516&type=CU
I’ve only begun to scratch the surface on this topic, so let’s keep the discussion open. Talk to your friends and family to get their points of view. Maybe they, too, need to be informed. The more we talk, the more we learn. So get the buzz out! GMOs: keep them on the lab table, and NOT on my dinner table!!