Monday, November 28, 2011

do you know what's in your food?

image from:
I've been writing more about Genetically Modified (GM - also referred to as GMO or GE) foods lately.  Part of it is because the problem seems to be getting worse.  I am concerned that there is still no labeling required in this country.  According to this article from the San Francisco Chronicle 93 percent of Americans polled want their food labeled.  They want the right to know.  But it's still not happening.  Why?  Because it's bad for business.

I'm reminded of the fight over Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) when the dairy industry fought like mad to stop farmers from labeling their milk as free of this harmful additive hormone which is not healthy for cows or humans.  The farmers prevailed in that they were allowed to label their products as being rBGH-free but were forced to put a statement on their product that there was no difference between dairy from cows treated with or without rBGH.  Science has since proved them wrong and we now know that rBGH increases Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1), decreases nutrition in the milk, increases mastitis in the cows (requiring antibiotics which we ingest because they don't stop milking the cows while they are giving them antibiotics), and decreased fertility in cows.  That's obviously a problem for the cows, if they can't be bred, or "freshened" in dairy parlance, they can't be milked and therefore are no longer useful.  If  rBGH causes infertility in cows (apparently studies have showed a reduction of as much as 40%), what does it do to the people who drink the milk?

We are the only industrialized nation, to my knowledge, that still allows this harmful chemical in our food.  Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan, among others, have all banned it's use.  Purchasing dairy products labeled rBGH-free or organic is the only way to avoid this chemical.

But with GM foods it's a completely different thing.  Yes, purchasing organic is one way to avoid it, but no GM foods are labeled, not everything is available organic, and it's not financially feasible to purchase everything organic (at least not in our house).  You would be amazed at how far GM products have crept into our food supply.  We deserve the right to know what is in our food.  I believe that corporate interests and profits should not supersede the right to choose clean food.

I also wonder what it says when the employees of the company that makes most of the GM foods, Monsanto, won't eat it, demanding GM free foods in their cafeteria?  If they won't eat it why should you?

California is, potentially, about to become the first state to require mandatory GM labeling.  With 80 percent of those polled in California supporting this initiative I am hopeful that they will win.  Striking a blow against these modified foods and their manufacturers.  I'm also hopeful that this will be the first of a steamroller effect across the country.

To stay informed about this issue you can follow along on the blog as well as at Organic Consumers.

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