In my quest for a healthy lifestyle, I now pay more attention to what food I am putting in my body. Its not just about losing weight to me (don’t get me wrong, I want boudoir photos badly) but its about being healthy and fit in mind and body for the future. I want to be around for awhile. I have a bucket list and things to do. So, in this quest towards healthy eating I learned some seriously disturbing news. The war over GMO labeling of products continues. In fact, just recently, the USDA withdrew its GMO disclosure rule due to concerns that farmers’ confidential business information would be compromised under FOIA (Freedoms of Information Act.)
Only three states — Connecticut, Maine and Vermont have passed GMO labeling legislation. 32 states right now have pending GMO legislation. Connecticut (my state) was the first to pass GMO labeling legislation making legislative history. “But, despite it being landmark legislation, the new law includes many caveats that water down right-to-know provisions. These loopholes were introduced after an intense lobbying campaign aimed at state lawmakers by Monsanto, a major producer of GMOs, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a trade association.” (http://www.foreffectivegov.org/node/12594)
“The first caveat is a ‘trigger clause’ that prevents Connecticut’s labeling requirements from taking effect until four other states also adopt labeling legislation. In addition, the clause stipulates that at least one of these states must border Connecticut. Further, the combined population of these states must be at least 20 million in order for the law to go into effect. This means that unless several other states in the Northeast pass GMO labeling legislation, the Connecticut law will be moot.” (http://www.foreffectivegov.org/node/12594)
“Second, key food items are exempted from labeling, including food served in restaurants, alcoholic beverages, farm products sold at farmer’s markets, and animals that have been fed GMO feedstock. Even if the rest of the Northeast passed GMO labeling legislation, some of the most commonly consumed food items would continue to be unlabeled.” (http://www.foreffectivegov.org/node/12594)
So, now that I have potentially peaked your interest and you have gotten this far in the article, and are hopefully a little passed off, you may be asking what exactly is a GMO and why do I care about it. Well, let me tell you. GMO is short for “genetically modified organism.” A GMO is an is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, insects, plants, fish, and mammals. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food. (Wikipedia) These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. Glow-Fish are the first genetically modified animal to be sold as a pet. My godson has two of these, hamburger and hot dog. And I digress….
Now, don’t get me wrong I am not opposed to all GMO’s. It is a broad label. Some can be good… like the fishes, “hotdog” and “hamburger” which provide hours of neon joy to my godchildren. Or another example is mosquitos. In 2010, scientists created “malaria-resistant mosquitoes” in the laboratory. The World Health Organization estimated that Malaria killed almost one million people in 2008. Genetically modified male mosquitoes containing a lethal gene have been developed in order to combat the spread of Dengue fever.Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the single most important carrier of dengue fever, were reduced by 80% in a 2010 trial of these GMO mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands.Between 50 and 100 million people are affected by Dengue fever every year and 40,000 people die from it.
I am scared with respect to GMOs and their use in producing the food I eat. The top ten worst GMO’s found in the food that we eat is:
1. Corn — this one is a no-brainer. Everyone knows that ‘high fructose corn syrup’ is bad for us. But, be careful of corn on the cob that you buy. The seeds to grow the corn probably were genetically modified.
2. Soy — A little surprising, yes, but soy is also modified to resist herbicides. As of now, biotech giant Monsanto still has a tight grasp on the soybean market, with approximately 90 percent of soy being genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. (Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/top-10-worst-gmo-foods-list/#ixzz38aWXcXcF)
3. Sugar — Again, sugar has been modified by Monsanto to resist herbicides.
4. Aspartame — Found in Diet soft drinks and other food products is a toxic additive that is created with genetically modified bacteria.
5. Papayas — Another interesting and surprising one to me. But, GMO papayas have been grown in Hawaii since 1999.
6. Canola — Obtained from rapeseed oil and chemically altered.
8. Dairy — “Your dairy products may contain growth hormones, since as many as one-fifth of all dairy cows in America are pumped with these hormones.” In fact, Monasnto’s health-hazardous rBGH has been banned in 27 countries, but is still in most US cows. (Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/top-10-worst-gmo-foods-list/#ixzz38aY1Ftni)
9. and 10. Zucchini and Yellow Squash.
Certainly, this is not a complete list of GMO’s found in food. The full effects of GMOs on your health is not fully known, however we do know that eating a diet rich in GMOs increases food allergies, toxicity (concern that a genetically modified plant or animal could produce toxins that are harmful to humans), decreased nutritional value, increase of a propensity for cancer and the scariest to me: antibiotic resistance (Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics by creating antibiotic resistance genes through natural mutation.)
So, why all the hype? It pisses me off that our products cannot be labeled. Many countries are opposed to GMOs including, Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union. These countries have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. So, why should us Americans be the guinea pigs? We have a right to know what is in our food and what we are eating. Its scary to think otherwise.
Alas, I will not sit around while the hacks in Washington duke it out. I have become educated. Buy organic or food that does not contain GMOs. Know what food does contain GMOs. Look for labeling. The Non GMO project (http://www.nongmoproject.org/) is great. It is a third party independent not for profit organization that is determined to label non-GMO foods. Be aware. Good luck.