GMOs, or genetically modified foods, have been making their way into our food supply since the 1990s without any indications on labels. If you think you have been eating only “natural” food to avoid this, you may be mistaken.
Labeling is a main issue, both for consumers that want the facts and the companies that want to hide the facts, and rightly so, as how do we know what we are eating if it is not clearly labeled. In the USA and around the world, consumers are wanting to know more about what foods contain GE (genetically engineered) elements but are being stone-walled by some food companies (usually the largest ones) and a lack of hard legislation.
Over the last 15 years, controversy and protests have swirled around genetically engineered foods. In 2001, in an act of frustration, citizens in 10 cities across America partook in a guerrilla action by going to the nearest large grocery store and slapping their own warning labels on foods suspected of containing genetically engineered ingredients.
But it is not the stores that are averse to labeling, it is the companies that produce or distribute the food, as they know from research that people will think twice about buying the food or reject it altogether. In general, it is the large food companies that are using the GE foods, so if you can’t remember who does and who doesn’t use them, go for the smaller companies that are certified organic.
GE Foods have been available since the 1990s, with the principal ones being derived from soybeans, corn, canola and cottonseed. From that list you will notice that the oil from those plants makes up a key ingredient in a large percentage of food, even as just a portion of that product.
The first commercially grown genetically modified food crop was the FlavrSavr tomato and was released into the market in 1994 without any special labeling. This type of infiltration has continued unchecked and unnoticed, except for perhaps by the knowledgable consumer.
It is estimated that about a third of the corn grown in the US is GE. Although most is designated for animal feed, GE corn is making its way into our food supply unannounced.
If you eat rice, watch out for a new product released in 2005 called Golden Rice. Although it it has more vitamins and minerals in it than regualr rice, it is a bio-engineered product. In 2006, a study showed supplies of long-grain rice in the US had become inadvertently contaminated with a genetically engineered variety not approved for human consumption.
Increasingly large numbers of pharmecuticals are produced using GMOs. This may not seem like an issue at first, but a study done in The UK in 2002 revealed that genetically modified DNA material was found in bacteria inside the stomach of those who had comsumed the food. Because these crops have antibiotic-restistant marker genes inserted into them, this may be the clue as to why antibiotics do not work with some people with illness — they have superbugs in their system mutated by the GE DNA that resist the treatment.
Aside from the direct impact on our bodies, there is another area that is of great concern: the environment. Cross-pollenation is a major problem. Pollen can be dispersed in areas up to 13 miles by wind, animals, and insects, causing mutated natrual flora, like “super weeds” and more reiliant insect pests. Then birds and animals feed on the plants. In addtion to this, GMO plants are customized to resist amounts of fertilizer so that they can put MORE on them. This drains off and causes more pollution, of course, as well as changing the helathy bacteria content in the soil, affecting fertiltiy.
Unfortunately, right now we the people are left to discern for ourselves what to put into our bodies as it seems that companies who are not forced to will not comply with specific labeling. To this point, I called the Hidden Valley company, makers of one of my favorite ranch dressings, and asked them if they use GMO soyben in their product. Their answer (crafted by lawyers no doubt): “Not to our knowledge.” That’s nice. I asked them to let me know when they know for sure.
Craig Howell is a New Age writer. You’ve heard only a part of the story of GMOs, now get the spiritual and energetic info about this in our book at http://www.mykwanyin.com/eyes-book-solo.html. For more about non-GMO companies go to truefoodnow.org and safe-food.org.