While I don’t always agree with Mark Bittman of the New York Times, his article on Feb 16, 2011 about the dangers of GM (genetically modified) foods and the issue of the FDA and the USDA allowing their manufacturers to NOT label them as GM, is important. This is a controversy that has become glaringly critical as Monsanto and other bio tech companies anxiously push to release their GM products into the American marketplace.
Just a few years ago, genetic modification was only a concept, but today it is a major focus for certain companies. Presently, there is the GM “four”; soy, corn, cottonseed and canola. When Jeffrey Smith, the loudest voice opposing genetic engineering, speaks, he asks his listeners to repeat the “four” over and over in order to remember what to avoid; soy, corn, cottonseed, canola; soy, corn, cottonseed, canola…
However, the USDA has just recently puts its stamp of approval on three more products. A GM alfalfa seed (which is fed to cows), a GM corn seed, for usage in manufacturing ethanol and GM sugar beets, all in spite of voluminous consumer protest. This is going to be a travesty for organic farmers, as their fields will easily get cross contaminated and the produce will no longer be eligible for organic certification.
What happens to humans who eat these GM products is another concern. Presently most of the crops of the “four” (soy, corn, cottonseed, canola) are already genetically modified unless the product is organic. These particular food items are pervasive in our food supply. For example, soybeans and canola oil are in every commercial salad dressing. But even worse, what does that mean for the consumer who wants/needs organic milk and meat from cows that are on organic pastures? What will happen to our organic farmers?
If these bio tech companies are allowed to push these products through, there will be no turning back. Eventually the entire food supply will be contaminated. Worse, we will not know what is real and what is genetically modified as the USDA and the FDA has allowed these products to be introduced into our food supply without labeling them.
Many countries in other parts of the world do not allow GM products. They respect their food traditions and are resistant to overtures by these huge American corporations. Unfortunately, in poorer parts of the world, governments have allowed Monsanto to supply Roundup Ready seeds, with the promise of prosperity. We have seen a grave increase in farmer suicides in India as a result of the failure of these crops, to provide just one example.
Next on the list is GM salmon, the implications of which are out of Jurassic Park. Remember how the dinosaurs in the movie were not supposed to be able to reproduce? And remember at the end they showed a new generation of raptors eerily sitting on the stern of the ship? Well, the FDA is considering approval of GM salmon, which are not supposed to mix with the wild salmon. These salmon grow faster and larger than wild salmon and will feed the demand for this commodity, according to proponents of this “Franken” fish. Here again, they do not have to be labeled as GM. Further, what will happen when GM salmon inevitably mixes with wild salmon? Wild salmon as we know it will be a thing of the past.
Here is the solution: avoid GM foods as much as possible. View the list of what to avoid. Become active in telling your government representatives what you think about GM foods. Please follow the links provided in this blog to get more information about this matter. We need concerned people to voice their opinions and become activists on this urgent issue.