There is an impostor in my kitchen: GMO’s

Is it a basic human right to know what is in your food?  How it is made?  It is in the European Union, Japan, Malaysia and Australia, but sorry not in the United States or Canada- these governments are not required to label foods that are genetically modified.


Image by C. G. P. Grey via Flickr

When I think I am feeding my children a wholesome meal, it is actually genetically altered.   Now, I clearly see a difference when I voluntarily take my children occasionally to a fast food place and allow them to eat an unhealthy amount of calories and sodium- this is a conscious choice.  I see the difference when I allow them to eat too much sugar.  But when I am ignorant that my milk is injected with growth hormones, my meat source is fed meat, the strawberries are covered in pesticides, the “healthy” packed full of vitamins cereals are altered- I feel like I am being lied to.  Led astray.

I have immense respect for chef John Bishop.  After customers started asking about the quality of food he was serving, he realized he was ignorant of genetically modified foods, pesticides, and chemicals.  After John visited other countries untouched by GMO’s, chemicals, and other harmful additives, he made a conscious change to his restaurant.  He now serves 100% organic food.  But is this an option for every professional chef and at home cook?

This documentary proves once again how illogical the food industry is.  Does it make sense that 60% of North America’s fruits and vegetables are grown in one valley in California?  Or that a worker walking through these fields needs to wear a face mask to protect himself from harmful synthetics?

Michael Ableman of Saltspring Island says it perfectly:  “People who thought they were buying cheap food, were actually paying for it many times after they left the check out stand, in their personal health and the health of the land.”

GM foods were introduced in the early 90’s.   Genetic modification involves the insertion or deletion of genes.  Is it possible for this manipulation of genes to affect our genes?  To affect the natural ground?  I am nervous about the long term affects that we are blinded from.  Why are other countries like France banning these alterations but not the US?

Let’s lay aside our personal politics and ideas about nutrition and food production.  Let’s look at it from this perspective: What does corn have to do with animals or fish or insects?  Are these organisms appropriate to be in a corn plant?  In traditional breeding, genes are combined of the same or closely related species, but in genetic engineering- genes are moved and transplanted from other sources- like other plants, animals, insects, fish, bacteria, and viruses are literally inserted into plants that would never naturally breed.  Another example, cows- does it make sense that a cow would be fed meat?  Or that cows are given shots to satisfy our need to have two gallons at a time?

The Grocery Manufacturers of America estimate that 75% of all processed foods in the U.S. contain a GM ingredient.[32] In particular, Bt corn, which produces the pesticide within the plant itself, is widely grown, as are soybeans genetically designed to tolerate glyphosate herbicides. These constitute “input-traits” are aimed to financially benefit the producers, may have indirect environmental benefits and marginal cost benefits to consumers.

It is clear that there is a problem.  But the question is- can GM foods be the solution to world hunger?  Some scientists argue that in order to meet the demand for food, GM food production must increase.  Opposing sides are saying there is enough food, the issue is politics and food distribution.  Supporters of altered food suggest that this food creates more yield but according to Vandana Shiva, the founder of Navdanya, the movement of 500,000 seed keepers and organic farmers in India, argues that GMFs have not increased yields.  Her solution is, ” “We need biodiversity intensification that works with nature’s nutrient and water cycles, not against them.”

What impact does a little person like me have on food production?  Is my voice being heard?  As citizens, where is our decision included in this matter?  Can we even win this battle against monopolies like Monsanto?  Is it all just being paranoid?  We all have to start somewhere.  Little steps by many people can bring change.  Saying NO to illogical practices, saying NO to big companies money and power hungry.  Saying YES to healthy choices.  Saying YES to educating myself.



One thought on “There is an impostor in my kitchen: GMO’s

  1. This scares me too, but it seems like such a big thing to tackle. I wish companies were less worried about the dollar in their pocket and more worried about the quality of product they are putting out there for consumers.

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