Informed Consumption
Monday, 05 December 2011

Recently an initiative was introduced to the California State’s Attorney General’s office: the California Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. This initiative, which will most likely be sent to voters in 2012, would require all genetically modified food to be clearly labeled so consumers can make informed choices.

Numerous other laws requiring better food labels have been introduced to legislatures around the country and in D.C.; unfortunately, big agriculture and chemical companies have great lobbies and have gotten each bill shot down. The California measure’s the first one that will be taken directly to voters, and polls right now show that 93% of Americans believe genetically-modified foods, or GMOs, should be labeled.

What’s the big deal, though? So they’ve cross-bred two tomatoes to get a superior, juicier, redder tomato? Where’s the cause for alarm, huh? That’s not what GMOs are, though. A genetically-modified vegetable or animal – and yes, cloned animals have been permitted in our food supply (unlabeled, of course) by the FDA since early 2008 – is something that has been altered at its molecular level: we’re talking introducing foreign DNA from another substance, not another strain of the same plant. So instead of cross-breeding a tomato with another tomato, we’re talking about a tomato cross-bred with a scorpion (true story, by the way). THAT kind of modification.

GMOs have been permitted in the USA since the mid-1990’s, which is when, coincidentally, food allergies – specifically, peanut allergies – skyrocketed. Many GMOs have their DNA filled in with soy DNA, for example (think Jurassic Park-type manipulation), which happens to be a legume like the peanut. So people are unwittingly consuming soy DNA, which over time could cross-trigger a latent peanut allergy.

Still with me?

How much of our food is really genetically modified, though? Most estimates – just estimates, since they’re not labeled – put the number at right around 70% of all food sold in grocery stores. ALL food. Of crops grown in the US, 85% of corn is GMO, 91% of soybeans, and 95% of sugar beets. Tell me a processed product that doesn’t contain glucose (corn), lecithin (soy), high-fructose corn syrup (corn), or maltodextrin (corn). Not many out there.

Right now, over fifty countries in the world – including the European Union, Japan, and Australia – require GMOs to be labeled. The US does not, and the only way you can be guaranteed that you’re not eating GMOs in your food is to buy something labeled Certified Organic: there can be no GMOs in something the government certifies organic. But even if you buy all your grains organic, you’ll need to buy grass-finished beef and milk from pasture-fed cows, since all other cows most likely eat genetically modified corn.

Yes, our food supply really is this bad. Allergies and immune disorders are on the rise, and for some reason we seem to be literally the last country on earth concerned about what we’re eating – and feeding to our kids.

I know, this is one of my soapboxes. And I’m ranting today because I read a good little article recently that reminded me all about it. But also because I’m tired of having to give my kids – who eat a pretty healthy diet, I think – supplements and probiotics because their body can’t digest its food. And I’m tired from being from one of the wealthiest countries in the world who has one of the worst food supplies in the world.

Want to know more? Go to Healthy Child, Healthy World and sign up for their weekly updates. Go to Environmental Working Group and read through a few of their pages. But do something – and start by asking your congressmen and women to give you the right to make more informed choices when you hit the grocery store.

Written by Rayane on 2012-07-22 20:54:30 IP:
05 Dec 20, 2011 10:24 am This is eye opening. I am aawlys amazed at how these companies can justify their reasoning behind manufacturing these goods and literally poisoning people. The ones who suffer most are the ones who can't afford the good food , which is organically grown fruits and vegetables.
Written by Gucci Handtaschen Online on 2013-08-23 18:24:31 IP:
nice articles
Yes, thank goodness
Written by Art on 2014-02-09 06:38:50 IP:
Yes, thank goodness that the EU is more cautuois with holding back on biotechnology that hasn't been tested. But there is a groundswell of awareness and questioning here in the states, especially after the CA labeling initiative failed. Now Washington will be voting on labeling too, and I'm hoping people are better prepared and educated for this next vote. Thanks for stopping by and weighing in on the GMO issue, Amy. It inspires me to see how many people are concerned about the safety of food and the environment.
Written by Aubrey on 2014-02-21 12:30:34 IP:
Some genuinely fantastic facts , Gladiola I bare this. "If a child can't discover the way we teach, possibly we should teach the way they learn." by Ignacio Estrada.
Written by Serenity on 2014-02-22 19:06:03 IP:
I like this post, enjoyed this one appreciate it for posting. "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." by M. Kathleen Casey.
Written by Genesis on 2014-04-08 15:57:28 IP:
Looking forward to reading more. Great blog. Awesome.

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