This, remember, is a love story. This life, this time, it’s a gift. And it’s my prayer that when you are surrounded by mystery and uncertainty, your eyes look up to the bright morning star. It is my prayer that you love your neighborhoods—those not even born yet, by caring for this planet. And if you do, it will be very, very good.—Matthew Sleeth, MD, Blessed Earth
Big Pharm Country from Robbie Stauder on Vimeo.
The definition of GMO* foods is that a gene from one species is inserted into another, often unrelated, species. For example, soybeans that have been genetically modified to resist Roundup herbicide are inserted with genes from bacteria, the cauliflower virus, and petunias. This is something that does not occur in nature and is not the same as cross breeding.
After an unfavorable consumer reaction to the introduction of genetically modified foods in our grocery stores, food that contains GM ingredients has been stealthily placed on our grocery shelves for approximately twenty years now. Some of the most common GM foods are corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, and cottonseed oil as well as Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, some yellow squash and zucchini. Derivatives of these GMOs are found in most packaged foods (Fructose is often derived from GM corn; lecithin is often derived from GM soy; even citric acid and vitamin C are often derived from GM corn). The USDA states that approximately 80% of packaged food contains GMOs.
Since these GM foods have been around for about twenty years, you might think that there is nothing to worry about. However, unlike the strict tests that are required for drugs, the FDA does not require any safety or health tests on GM foods. In fact, no long-term studies have been conducted to determine the safety of these foods.
However, the concerns are many. They include health risk, damage to nature that might not be reversible, food security, farmers in peril, and lack of transparency and independent scientific study.
For more information on each of these concerns, see these posts:
*GMO stands for genetically modified organism (GMO or GM food, also genetically modified or GE foods).