Tuesday, July 3, 2007
There's a Lot You Don't Know About What's in Your Food
Have you ever picked up a package in your grocers and noticed a "NON-GM" label or printing on the package? You may have not heard of "genetically modified" food before but nearly three quarters of all processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients, but you'd never know it by reading package labels.
Let's discuss the risks of genetic engineering and how to avoid it.
Nearly three quarters of all processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients, but you'd never know it by reading the back of your kid's cereal box or that pint of ice cream you've been craving. Rather than being relegated to its own supermarket section, this food sits unlabeled on grocery store shelves, allowing a handful of transnational biotech companies to profit handsomely as consumers shop blindly.
So, for example what we have with genetic engineering, if you spray herbicide on crops, it kills them, it kills everything green, it doesn't just kill the weeds, it kills the crops. So, the idea would be, as weeds become resistant to herbicides, to stop using them, and find other ways of weed and pest control. But that didn't fit the needs of ... the chemical companies. That would mean less of their product. So, instead of changing their technology and economics to fit nature, they said "let's change plants so they can withstand huge amounts of our chemicals" -- herbicides -- and four out of every five acres of genetically engineered plants in this country and in the world are planted solely because they can tolerate these herbicides.
Genetically engineered food is the first really artificially lab created food that we have. Basically, you (the scientist) are putting foreign bacteria, foreign viral chains, foreign anti-biotic resistant genes into each cell of every food. So, every cell of every genetically engineered food, every one, has a novel bacteria, has novel viral promoters, has a novel genetic construct whether it be the herbicide tolerant gene or the Bt, and has an anti-biotic marker system.
-- and the risks are: it could take a nontoxic food and make it toxic. ... It can create new human allergies ... significantly reduce the vitamin content in the food, and ... there has been peer-reviewed scientific evidence that it can be harmful to the immune system.
The environmental risks are that it's biological pollution. We know now, we've seen over and over again that this is not simply a tool for the farmer, this is an evasive living pollution. It pollutes conventional, it pollutes organic, makes these farmers unable to sell these crops to the European market, to the organic market, and it creates the gene jump to create super weeds. In the case of fish, documented, peer-reviewed science out of Purdue University says that the release of these genetically modified fish, because of the unexpected changes in these fish, could create complete extinction for species like salmon and stripped bass.
We're at a real crossroads for the future of food. ... We're either going to continue down the industrial path all the way to genetically engineering our food so that it literally becomes nothing but a tool of industrial agriculture, including withstanding all these poisons. Or, we're going to go down the organic and beyond way, which says no to genetic engineering, no to irradiation, no to this massive alteration at the atomic and genetic level.