I’m all for research to produce crops that grow faster, are more resistant to pests and disease, and more adaptable to adverse weather conditions. I see it as the only way the world’s exploding population will be fed in the future.
So when I first read about the alarm over “genetically modified” food, I figured it was just another example of uninformed people resisting beneficial change.
But the situation is a lot more complex than I figured.
And the root of the complexity is that free market we keep hearing about.
The free market is driven primarily by a desire for profit, not by such altruistic motives as providing more abundant and healthier food for mankind. So, much of the genetic engineering is designed to make products more marketable. That includes giving them longer shelf life, making them more uniform in size and color and less prone to damage when they’re being shipped, and of course making them taste better. And it seems the researchers aren’t too concerned about the side effects.
Food giants like Monsanto have billions at stake in the marketing of genetically modified products. And they’re not about to let your health stand in the way. According to some experts, these foods can even cause cancer. And I understand some can cause diseases that are immune to antibiotics.
What’s more troubling is that the agricultural giants have twisted politicians’ arms around the world to avoid having to warn consumers of the possible dangers. They’ve even bullied the US Congress into letting them slip their GMO products into the marketplace without making us aware of the dangers.
I read a Natural Society article by Elizabeth Renter, distributed by Reader Supported News today, that left me wondering what unknown effects Sandra and I might be suffering because of this surreptitious invasion of our local supermarket. Ms. Renter listed the “Top 10 Worst GMO Foods,” and I was shocked to see our dinner favorites among them.
Corn, the number one GMO threat, is an example. Is it my imagination, or is the corn prettier and tastier- and easier to chew – than it has ever been? And Ms. Renter said genetically modified corn “has been tied to numerous health issues, including weight gain and organ disruption.”
It’s enough to give me a belly ache, if I didn’t already have one (from eating all that corn?).
Surprisingly, tomatoes weren’t on the list. Nor apples. I guess the writer figures we already know about the widespread use of DNA magic in creating new and more seductive forbidden fruit.
Sugar is on the list, of course, and so is Aspertame (which doesn’t leave a diabetic like me with much of an alternative).
Dairy products also make the list – and who can avoid dairy products? It wouldn’t be summer without ice cream, would it?
Even canola oil is a threat. And we’ve been using canola oil to avoid those dreaded trans fats that mess up our cholesterol.
Perhaps the strangest (to me) items on the list were zucchini and yellow squash. Who would take the trouble to genetically modify zucchini? Or squash?
I’m amazed when Sandra eats squash, and I can’t imagine it has a large fan base.
And, the way I see it, if they’re modifying zucchinis, those scientists would stop at nothing.