Forget Farm to Fork. Most Food Comes from the Lab to Your Plate.

Image Courtesy of wholesoyco.com

Want to bite into a transgenic tomato?  Chances are that the side salad you just ordered for lunch or the non-organic tomato you bought at the grocery store is actually a watery mutation of tomato and fish cells.   If that doesn’t sound very appetizing, don’t reach for your favorite processed snack quite yet – most of the ingredients in those types of food products have been injected with viral, bacterial and animal genes.

Starting to sound like a sci-fi movie gone wrong?  No matter how you slice it, genetically engineered (GE) food that is grown or produced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs, for short) has flooded the American food market, and consumers are largely unaware of what they are putting in their mouths.  After all, GMOs have only been around since 1996 – not long enough to even come close to understanding their long-term impact on human or environmental health, which many scientists say may damage DNA and cause a host of diseases and cancer in the coming decades.

That’s why I’m a big advocate of the Just Label It campaign.  The premise of the movement is simple: fruits, vegetables and food products made from or produced with GMOs have to be labeled.  You would think this is a no-brainer, since in America we should we have the right to know what our food is made from.  But, alas, big companies like Monsanto are fighting against this labeling act.

Why, you might ask?  I’m no expert, but I have a hunch even those companies know that abnormal food-like products aren’t really what people want to be eating.  And once Americans realize that their unlabeled, GMO-made grocery purchases are just masquerading as ‘normal’ food, we might actually begin to demand that food corporations and the government care about our health as a nation.

As it stands, our food regulation system is backwards.  We require labeling for organic food – food that is produced consciously and without harmful pesticides, GMO seeds or toxins – but allow food that is sprayed with neurotoxins (i.e. pesticides and herbicides) and made with GMO seeds to remain under the radar of consumer awareness.  Heck, we don’t even allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to recall contaminated food products.  What kind of consumer protection is that?  Well, it isn’t.

I personally don’t want to be a test rat for Big Food’s science experiment.  But even if you feel food companies should be able to produce and market whatever they please, fighting against the transparent labeling of GMOs doesn’t make sense.  Americans should be able to make informed decisions about the food they purchase and eat.  It’s on the same level as an ingredient list or a calorie count.  No one makes a fuss about those.  Unless, of course, it can turn into a liability and there is something to hide…

Get involved by visiting Just Label It.org and signing the petition.  To safeguard your health, read product labels and shop at grocery stores or farmers’ markets that offer a selection of certified organic products.  For more information on the dangers of GE foods and GMO seeds, read the Environmental Working Group’s Policy Plate series.

 

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