Seeds of Deception

Seeds of Deception

Does anyone remember the ruckus that was raised back in the 1990’s when genetically modified foods were introduced to the consumer? I remember. I remember signing petitions and getting really worked up about the fact that big corporations thought they should be able to use me as a guinea pig by placing foods into supermarkets that weren’t labeled and hadn’t been well-tested on humans.  I also remember a big newspaper article discussing the possible problems of GMO’s (genetically Modified organisms) and that these same corporations had agreed to pull back on the distribution of these foods until further testing had been done to show they were safe for human consumption.

It is now the year 2009. How many of you have ever eaten a GM food? If you live in the United States, you have. Some of the tactics that Monsanto and other large agri-business companies have used to push these foods onto an unsuspecting public are horrifying. A month ago I read the book “Seeds of  Deception” by Jeffrey Smith. In this easily readable book, Mr. Smith outlines many of the lies told to an unsuspecting public. He interviews scientists and journalists who were fired for trying to expose the problems they were finding. In the first case discussed, this was a scientist who was behind GMO food science…until he started testing it for safety.  Eyewitness report after eyewitness report demonstrates that wildlife will leave a GM crop alone while eating the non-GM crop beside it. What do the cows know that we don’t? For anyone who is remotely interested in the safety of the food we are eating, I highly recommend this book.

I originally intended for this post to be nothing more than a book review. However; on May 19, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called for an immediate moratorium on GM food stating that “GM foods pose a serious health risk”. How many of you read about this in the paper? I’m betting that none of you did. The position paper is fairly technical. If you want a good overview of the problem, why genetic modification causes problems, specific examples of studies that have shown those problems AND you want to be able to read it using common english words – try “Seeds of Deception“.
Press Release: http://www.aaemonline.org/pressrelease.html
Position Paper: http://www.aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

If you want to start avoiding GM foods now, here are some basics on how to do so.
The primary commercialized GM crops are:

  • Soy
  • Cotton
  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Hawaiian papaya
  • Some squash and zucchini

The obvious way to avoid the GM versions of these foods is to buy organic versions. Organic crops must be non-GMO.
It gets harder when you realize that almost every processed food includes some additive derived from corn. So – minimize processed foods.
For me – this also includes many of the previous soy-based frozen grill treats that I used to keep stashed in the freezer. You know – fake burgers and hot dogs and the like. There are certainly not as many choices now that I require any processed foods I buy to be 100% organic or state on the label that no GM ingredients were used.

Another thing to watch for is dairy products from cows treated with rbGH. Again, I now buy only organic dairy products (including cheese) or products that are labeled that they do not contain rbGH. Kraft has recently started labeling some of their cheeses as coming from cows not treated with rbGH which means you may not even have to go to a specialty store to buy cheese. By the way – labeling is something the big agri-business companies are against.  They do not want us to be able to choose what we eat.

Here’s a link to a shopping guide that you can use to educate yourself on where GM ingredients are likely to lurk.

Educate yourself. Educate yourself on all sides of this issue. In the 90’s, I stopped worrying. I assumed that since consumers had spoken and said they didn’t want these foods and big business had agreed to pull back for further testing that I didn’t need to stay up-to-date anymore. I was wrong. I might also be wrong to be getting so worked up about this again. I’ll admit that I am not a scientist. I do have a very curious, analytical mind though and I’ve been reading a lot about both sides of this issue.  Most corporate studies find that GM food is substantially equivalent to non-GM food and is safe for human consumption.  Most independant studies disagree.  Somebody isn’t telling the truth.  Anyone remember the tobacco companies claiming that smoking is not harmful to your health?  I see some big parallels with potentially far more serious consequences for our health, our environment, and the ultimate safety of our food supply.  I’m personally convinced that GM food has more negatives than positives and I do not want to be forced to eat it, nor do I want it grown in open fields where natural pollination can cause GM crops to cross-breed and contaminate non-GM crops.   You may not agree…but at the very least educate yourself and then stand up for the right to be able to choose what you and your families eat.NoGMO

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