GMO: The Genetically Modified Onslaught

GMO. What is it? Why should  we worry about it? Genetically Modified Organisms are plants and animals we, i.e. scientists, have altered for a number of reasons. I don’t feel that I can confidently address this with tons of research and facts and not just because research is lacking, though it is, along with lots of contradicting information.

At first, the big selling point was that GMO’s could save the world from starvation by improving crop yields or creating a new facet in foods like added proteins or growing medicines as in PHARMING vs. FARMING. Yellow or golden rice  with vitamin A was pushed pretty hard initially, although now I don’t hear much on it. Oh, how well-meaning and awesome. At least that’s how it was presented.

I think the idea is great if it works perfectly! But what if there’s a mistake—what if we fry our food supply or the insects that pollenate our food—then what. Human beings control all of this—whether we program a computer to do it or we do it ourselves, it settles out that people will be responsible. People make mistakes all the time. You know, we’re HUMAN. Like, sometimes I have trouble getting my order correct from a fast food drive through yet this same species, is tampering with our food. I know, those scientists are perhaps smarter than a drive-thru peon, but people are people and people are HUMAN.

Now, when I say GMO, I’m not talking about cultivating a hardy root ball to graft some roses or other vegetation to make a hardier plant. I’m talking about getting together two completely different species and mixing their DNA to create something that could never happen. Ever. Or mixing some drug or toxin into our food’s DNA to make it resistant to certain bugs or certain toxins like– with glyphosate in Roundup.

Is it truly possible to know the outcomes? How will this food affect me? How will it affect the ecosystem? I don’t know the answers and I’ve looked around researching to find we don’t emphatically have the answers. We need to remember, a world without food is, well, unsurvivable. I find some comfort in knowing that if we truly mess everything up and the human race disappears, the earth will finally heal.

There is so much info, both pro and con for GMOs that it is not something I feel we can “figure out” today. For every pro there seems to be a con. GMO is in almost every food you eat. Don’t take my word. . .Google away!

Allow me to shift gears with an analogy: When I was pregnant, I asked my doctor if I could still take any OTC meds. The doctor said sure, BUT, if there are ANY problems during the pregnancy or birthing, that variable, the drug that I took, could not be discounted. And so it is with GMO.

I want to list a few of the GMO issues I have questions and concerns about:

  • Terminator seeds from Monsanto. They grow and produce food but the seeds have trademarks and may not be used without consent from Monsanto. In places like India, farmers using said seeds are committing suicide in staggering numbers. In the last decade, approximately 250,000 farmers have committed suicide. Why? Is correlation causation?
  • BT ready corn: bugs eat the corn and their stomach burst killing them. Did you know that corn is in almost everything? Look at labels: corn starch, corn syrup, dextrose, dextrin, maltodextrin and so on. Is it odd that people are having so many issues with digestion, like leaky gut where nutrients find their way into our blood undigested. Coincidence?
  • Promoters. That’s something that GMO uses to turn on dormant or recessive traits in a plant. But will those promoters affect those eating that food? Will dormant, i.e. cancer cells, be turned on?
  • And what about other “allergies”? This food we are consuming today is not the same foods we ate 100 years ago. These are new features to our food that are new to our environment. Some of these newly acquired characteristics, like engineering tolerances to certain pesticides might not be what we want in our life-sustaining FOOD.
  • BT Roundup® ready corn. It’s immune to Roundup® . That’s good, right. We won’t need as much. No. Actually, the weeds and bugs are becoming resistant as with any poison. More Roundup®  can be used without harming the corn or soy because these plants have been genetically altered to be glyphosate-tolerant plants. What happens to all that poison? Some of it is being excreted in mother’s milk to their babies. Could that be influencing childhood issues like cancers and autism?
  • Yields have not significantly increased with the advent of GMO. Why are we now using GMO for zucchini/squash and other veggies?
  • Did you know that we, Americans, throw out up to 40% of our food. I’m talking sheer waste, like we apparently don’t do leftovers. If we could learn how not to waste so much food, would we really have a need to increase supply via GMO?
  • And my biggest question, if GMO is safe, why is the FDA so scared to label GMO as such? Are they afraid that informed people won’t buy those products? And if informed people don’t want those products, why are we not showing up in droves to vote against GMO and for labeling? Why, at the very least, can we not get the truth about all this? Who is in charge? The Government? Or WE the people?

I’m including this link: as it asks questions and poses concerns that I could hardly believe I was reading. But don’t be afraid to read it. Acquiring this information is going to be each of our responsibility. We can’t wait. We don’t have time. One rogue spliced gene could be our demise. Once out into the environment, we might not be able to wrangle it back.

Think about some of the mistakes we’ve made like the cane toad in Australia. This creature was not native to Australia but was deliberately introduced so it could rid Aussies of another pesky creature, the grey-backed cane beetle. Well, as it turns out, meddling with Mother Nature, however well-meaning, resulted in native creatures dying from the Cane Toads’ toxin; a new toxin to their environment–and this prolific breeding toad is still wreaking havoc as they have very few predators. This has been ongoing since 1935. Oops.

I wish I had the answers, but I don’t. Opinions from scientists, doctors, consumers, activists are all differing. But the one thing we keep asking for and not receiving is just the courtesy of being informed if a product we are consuming is GMO. We should be able to convince the government WE put in office to abide by this concern for labeling and if we can’t, let’s get some other people in office that is not affiliated in any way shape or form with Monsanto as they have a very vested interest.

It’s okay not to be a victim. It’s okay to take control one bite of food at a time. And just like you were told as a baby, don’t play with your food (or your food supply).


Mangiare Cibo

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Namaste, Azodicarbonimide.

Let’s talk about azodicarbonamide. Yes, it is in yoga mats. Thank you, Food Babe, because now it is not in Subway sammies. Great, one down and how many more to go?
I have my own experience with this ingredient. A few years ago, my ex brought home some bread by a brand I don’t buy. It contained azodicarbonamide so, when I read that, I already hated it and knew, therefore, that my kids would also hate it. If an ingredient has that many syllables, it should be questioned. All the ingredients—except for that one—seemed pure and clean, wheat flour, yeast, etc. Azodicarbonamide was the last ingredient listed. Since ingredients are listed in order of weight, how much could it affect the bread?
But I always look up stuff—even before Google. Azodicarbonamide was not anything I have ever seen in a recipe and I have cooked a LOT of food—like restaurant-like. Yep. I Wiki’d that long before Food Babe spread the word—good spreading, btw. In the US, azodicarbonamide is GRAS or Generally Regarded As Safe (because “they” hate us and want to reduce the population). But, in other parts of the world like Australia, for instance, it is not authorized for use. The WHO linked this crystalline powder to “respiratory issues” and “asthma”. The European Union has banned that ingredient since August 2005. But, HERE, it’s cool, no worries, eat up.
So, back to the bread my ex bought. It set on the counter for days, then weeks and then, yes, it became a science project, stuffed in a drawer. And, at about month 5, mold finally appeared. Hallelujah! I vote with my depreciating dollar and have never purchased that product again. Now, I’m a food geek. But we all should be! How much more intimate can you get than actually ingesting, digesting, assimilating another organism! Pretty intimate, yet we just put stuff in our mouths without regard for the rest of our bodies. And we don’t research what’s in our food. Or we didn’t. But now we can.
Back to Subway, among many of your favorite chains (cough cough, like almost all of them) that sell products containing the same yoga mat ingredient. (Hey, is water also a yoga mat ingredient? Another topic like ‘who needs a ‘script when you have tap water?’) So let’s not slam the ingredient or Subway or any other group that was duped into believing this is Generally Regarded As Safe. GENERALLY regarded—that sounds vague because it is.
But there is a group that knew it was banned in various parts of the world and why that was so. Azodicarbonamide aside, I’d like to say, thank you, FDA, for not informing the public and lying by way of omission. And, thank you, creators of these chemicals that are in our food. Our food still tastes like food. But molecularly? Nutritionally?
Another of my food experiments entailed a fast-food apple hand-pie. After a FULL YEAR of it setting in my desk, open to whatever — whatever didn’t happen. No mold. No bugs, either, because those little bastards know that, nutritionally, it was sawdust. However, after that length of time, critters did make a dwelling in that hand pie so, in the end: home sweet home. Hello? It’s not real food, folks. It has mold inhibitors and aluminum and flavor enhancers and pretty colors (also avoided by those across the pond).
So we need to learn. It’s never too late. Watch Dr. Doug Lisle’s TexEx talk <>*. You will understand why you are so confused about what foods to eat, why you are overweight and why you are constipated. Seriously. Food is what we need to eat: the best quality food you and I can find, as that is what this organism needs to thrive. Let’s start simply—with our own bodies.
Eat unprocessed foods—recognizable foods from nature and organic if possible but always strive for GMO free (I’ll save that Bitch Fest for another day). These ingredients will be unavoidable until they are unavailable… until we refuse to support them.
Do you realize that 1 decision to avoid just ONE ingredient could result in its removal? Why bother with petitions! Simply, don’t buy those products that fail to meet YOUR approval and what YOU regard as safe. That’s a lot of power we hold—power that could be used to positively change 1 tiny ingredient at a time. And don’t be fooled by marketing—there’s nothing ‘artisan’ about azodicarbonamide.
Nancy Montuoro, author at Ordinary Vegan, wrote last year that azodicarbonamide is in over 500 different products. You know we’re all eating this crap unless we:
• Find out where it’s hiding and
• Avoid buying/eating it.
Don’t ingest ingredients that are not food. Question who is in charge of our food and why we aren’t informed and protected against such products that are potentially harmful, either in the raw state (as is azodicarbonamide) or some other chemical newly created and introduced into our environment and our food supply. We need to get some checks and balances with our food instead of the revolving door we all heard about in movies like Food Inc. and Food Matters.
We need to avoid chemicals that were not meant to be consumed as food… that are, indeed, being consumed as food. And do it as if your life depends on it. Because it does.

Love Mangiare Cibo

* Why does the great male shrike kill bugs and poke them on thorns? Why is it so hard for humans to make the right choices? Douglas Lisle shows us how the answers are related. One of psychology’s most innovative and curious minds, Lisle is the Director of Research for TrueNorth Health Center and co-author of The Pleasure Trap.

Posted in FOOD, Foodsafety, GMO, ingredients | Leave a comment