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Tag: genetically modified organisms

What Foods Have Been Genetically Modified (GMO)?

At the Seeds of Doubt conference outside of Boulder, CO, last weekend, I learned exactly which fruits and vegetables in our country could be grown from a genetically-modified seed and end up in your grocery cart and you would never know it.

Europe has banned GM foods for human and animal consumption for more than a decade while the American government has not acted to protect the public health from the corporate goals of the GMO industry. Even developing nations in dire need for food have recognized the risks of tinkering with our sustenance in this way. In 2002, Zambia rejected a donation of GM corn seeds even though they were on the brink of famine, saying science had not yet proven their safety. Still, GMOs have infiltrated the U.S.A. at many levels.

The GMO industry doesn’t even want us to know when we’re eating GM foods, because they fear we will reject them if we knew what we were eating, so they are fighting labeling initiatives at the state level. They have good reason to fear this as experiments have shown that even animals will reject GM feed when given the option. The more we learn about Genetically Modified foods and this experiment with the public health and its effects on our future generations and our lands, the more certain of that rejection we will become.

To start, we need to know which foods gracing our tables every day could be, if grown on non-organic farms, Genetically Modified produce. It’s a pretty short list, though most of these are ubiquitous in our cuisine:

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Canola (95% of the canola crop is “Roundup Ready”)
  • Cottonseed
  • Sugar Beets

Unless you see the word “organic” associated with these items, you can be pretty sure these days that these crops were grown from genetically modified seeds. These seeds have been genetically modified to be “Roundup Ready” (TM), or amenable to the glyphosate-based fertilizer that is used in Monsanto’s “RoundUp” (TM) fertilizer product.

Three other vegetables and fruits are Genetically Modified to be virus resistant:

  • Papaya from Hawaii (papaya from other places are not GMO)
  • Zucchini
  • Crookneck squash

In March of 2012 the FDA approved the unlabeled sale of genetically modified salmon in the U.S. The only way to ensure you are not purchasing these mutant salmon-like fish, you must choose salmon labeled “wild-caught”.

Another everyday Genetically Modified item that may surprise you: Aspartame, otherwise known as Equal, is a GM product. Yet one more reason not to drink diet sodas.

You can check if the items at your local grocery store are Genetically Modified with the ShopNoGMO chart and free mobile phone app. Also, you can support labeling initiatives, so that at the very least we can each choose to eat franken-foods or not. Knowledge is power.

Should Genetically Modified Foods be Labeled as Such?

Today, with the click of a button, I was able to lobby my congressional representatives about a topic I care deeply about: the labeling of genetically-modified foods.

In a nutshell, the biggest GMO manufacturer, Monsanto, is fighting tooth and nail against labeling laws that would require the origin of the ingredients to be listed. Monsanto claims their laboratory manipulations of our food supply are safe to consume. There are those of us who either disagree or believe the jury is still out on that claim, but regardless, the information should be made available so that you, the consumer, can make the choice to eat GMOs or not for yourself.

Right now, we do not know which foods we are eating are GMOs and which are not because there is not a labeling requirement in this country regarding GMOs. Knowledge is power, and without the knowledge we are powerless to make our own decisions. lobby against monsanto and GMO

The Organic Consumers Association made it easy for me to send off the following letter as part of their “Millions against Monsanto” campaign:

Like most consumers, I want to avoid foods that contain genetically modified organisms, but they are not labeled.

In fact, the federal government does nothing to regulate, or guarantee the safety of, agricultural crops — and now food animals — that have been altered with foreign genes. There has never been a longitudinal scientifically rigorous health study on the impacts of eating genetically altered foods.

The little science there is shows that GMOs are more likely to trigger novel allergies, are less nutritious, sprayed with more herbicides, and contain elevated levels of hormones that correlate with common cancers. And, there’s no doubt that the most common GMO foods are linked to epidemic levels of obesity and diet-related diseases. These include artery-clogging meat and milk products from animals fed GMO grains, trans fats from GMO vegetable oils, and high fructose (GMO) corn syrup.

Public health depends on labeling GMO foods so consumers can avoid them. Mandatory GMO labels are popular with consumers, consistently earning polling numbers politicians dream of.

I am hoping that you and your colleagues in the state legislature can help. Please stand up for consumers’ right to know and truth in labeling by introducing a bill to label GMO foods this year.

I look forward to hearing from you on this important topic.

Join the Millions against Monsanto campaign here and use your voice to demand transparency in our food supply so that we can make our own choices about what we want to eat when it comes to our health.

What do you think? Do you think we should have the right to know if a food is a GMO or not? Does it matter to you?

Monsanto Voted Worst Corporation of 2010 – Again!

“Beating out a host of corporate criminals, including BP and Chevron, Monsanto garnered 38% of the vote to win the 2010 spot in the Corporate Hall of Shame. From the using aggressive legal tactics to intimidate and bankrupt local farmers to its reckless promotion of genetically modified organisms, the list of Monsanto’s abuses is long, and the negative impacts to human rights and the environment are staggering.”

“Add on a 40 year track-record of defiant production of dangerous and cancer causing chemicals – from Agent Orange and PCBs to RoundUp and rBGH – and we have ourselves a ‘winner’. Electing a winner isn’t enough. Thousands upon thousands agree – Monsanto must change its practices.”

Corporate Accountability International, January 20, 2011