Your right to know
I don’t usually get involved in politics. At least not in this setting. But, I really have to tell you about something happening in California as we speak. They have managed to get a groundbreaking new initiative on the ballot for election day this year. It’s called the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.
You might be thinking to yourself… “Surely the government, the FDA, the USDA–the agencies meant to keep us healthy and out of harm’s way–must be already be doing this?”
But think again. You might be munching on genetically engineered snacks right now and not even know it. In fact, it’s been 20 years since the FDA decided to deny consumers the right to know whether their food has been genetically engineered or not.
And no wonder nothing has changed since then… The current FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Michael Taylor, used to be on Monsanto’s payroll–literally. (Taylor worked for the law firm that represented the genetic-engineering giant for a decade in the 80s).
And one of the first things he did when he took the Deputy Commissioner job was to declare genetically modified food “substantially equivalent” to naturally grown food. And therefore, he proclaimed, it is not subject to any additional regulations.
Not surprisingly, genetically modified and engineered crops have all but taken over our food supply since then.
In fact, 60% of all soybeans grown in the United States are genetically engineered. Corn ranks almost as high. And here’s a disturbing tidbit: The butterflies that pollenate genetically engineered corn die. So what might it be doing to the people actually eating it?
The fact is, we know frighteningly little about what genetically modified foods do to us. The long-term health risks of genetically modified foods have not been adequately investigated. All we’ve got are a bunch of small-scale animal studies. And even those don’t offer any consolation. Many of them have connected consumption of GMOs to a host of health problems, ranging from allergies and malnutrition to liver disease and infertility.
But despite the utter lack of understanding about the potential effects these foods might have on human health, most foods–not just soybeans and corn–have been genetically altered from their original state.
That’s why every tomato looks the same. And the same holds true for most fruits, vegetables–and animals, for that matter. They have all been changed from what they originally were.
Now, one could argue that if this has been going on for so long and we aren’t any sicker from it–what’s the problem? The problem is, we ARE sicker. And fatter. (Which are really synonymous terms.)
And if there’s even a slight chance that GE foods are contributing to it, you deserve to know. Or, at the very least, to have the option not to buy them. Which is impossible to do in most supermarkets because there’s no clear labeling, hence no way to know which foods have been genetically manipulated.
But now, finally, people are starting to wake up and smell the genetically modified coffee. At least in California. If voters pass this initiative, the GE Food Act will require mandatory labels on genetically engineered food.
Of course, Monsanto and its “evil empire” have already begun tapping into their multi-million dollar war chest to spread lies and propaganda to defeat the GE Food Act.
But regardless of whether good triumphs over evil this time around, you do have some control over this issue and how it affects you and your family.
The very best thing you can do to make sure you’re not a guinea pig for the genetically engineered food movement is to find a good, trustworthy source of locally grown, organic produce and meat. Whether it’s a farmer’s market, a nearby farm, or a natural food shop. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. About how their crops and animals are raised. About their take on Monsanto and genetic engineering.
Good farmers and business owners will be happy to share these details with you. And if they’re not forthcoming with this critical information…Well, consider it a sign that their products probably aren’t all that they seem.