By: Dr. Samadhi Keever
To contact Samadhi visit: www.injoyhealthcare.com
Genetically Modified Organisms were first introduced into our food supply in the 1980’s. They appeared without consumers knowing what was happening…until recently. Currently there is a GMO scare circulating through the social media. GMO crops look, smell, and taste like normal food, so how can we protect ourselves?
A GMO By Many Names Is The Same:
GMOs are referred to by several acronyms and proper names: Genetically Modified Organism, GMO, Genetically Modified, GM, Transgenic, Transgene, and Bt (which is the name for a bacterium used during the genetic modification process). Plant seeds are often referred to as Bt or Round Up Ready, implying they are ‘safe’ to spray with the glyphosate herbicide called Round Up, which is manufactured by Monsanto.
There are hundreds of crops being experimented with using bacteria, viruses, antibiotics, plant, animal, and insect DNA and this is cause for alarm. Although there is much experimentation, not all of these science projects make it to the grocery shelves. Some that have made it to the shelves have been rejected. Years ago, the DNA from cold water fish was added to a tomato seed, producing a GM tomato plant that was cold-hearty. This failed in the market place because consumers didn’t like the flavor. Crossing a fish gene with a vegetable gene is suspect and the side-effects to human health are yet to be determined.
Current List of GM Foods:
The following Genetically Modified foods are being sold in our stores right now: corn, wheat, soy, canola, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, zucchini, and yellow crookneck squash. Buy organic! USDA Certified Organic guidelines (currently) do not allow GM foods to carry an organic label.
Sources of GM Foods in the Food Supply:
GM wheat, corn, and soy show up in most boxed or packaged ‘foods’ and this is what the scary statistics in the social media are pointing to. Wheat, corn, and soy are farmed in massive quantities. These crops are used by manufacturers to make things such as ketchup, vitamin supplements, eco-friendly, non-plastic corn utensils, veggie burgers and other vegan and vegetarian meat-substitutes, tofu, soy milk, corn syrup, energy bars, protein powders, cereals, breads, candies, snack ‘foods’, pastries, food additives, rennet, artificial sweeteners, enzymes, and the list goes on.
GM crops are used as feed for livestock and poultry, which translates into meat, eggs, and dairy containing GM constituents. Buy meat, poultry, and dairy from local farmers who you can talk with about what they are feeding their animals. Farm raised fish are also fed genetically modified grains. Get your fish labeled wild-caught and locally sourced if available.
Other sources of GM contamination are dairy products from cows injected with rbGH. This is a Genetically Modified hormone (created by Monsanto) to increase the production of milk. Organic milk does not contain rbGH.
Grass Roots…Taking Action, Get Involved!
There are many resources that we can utilize to stay aware and educated of what is actually in the food supply here in the United States. It is important to clarify ‘in the United States” because GM seeds and food are being exported to other countries.
There is now a voluntary Non-GMO seal that companies can receive to distinguish their product from GMO competitors. If you see a product labeled with a Non-GMO seal, support this company by purchasing their product. Getting this seal is a costly process that is not mandatory. Many of these companies are small, independent businesses, which have elected to put their product through this expensive, voluntary testing regime to earn this seal.
Our shopping dollars influence what is being sold in the stores. GMOs are not allowed in USDA Certified Organic Foods. Buy ORGANIC! There is a Non-GMO Shopping Guide which lists companies that guarantee there are no GM ingredients in their food. Download the Non-GMO Shopping Guide online for free (see Resources).
The Institute for Responsible Technology is working diligently with groups such as The Organic Consumers Association and The Center for Food Safety. These organizations are the leaders taking large corporations such as Monsanto to court in a monumental effort to keep GM crops from entering into our food supply. They are working to create a mandatory label on foods that have GM ingredients. Support these organizations and sign up for their email newsletters. The Organic Consumers Association fuels the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign; join this effort on their website (see Resources).
Shopping for locally produced items is beneficial for our local economy and gives us a chance to meet the folks involved in growing, raising, packaging, and selling the food we eat. Farmer’s Markets and local food stores such as the Florida Homegrown Co-op in Orlando and Essential Health in Altamonte Springs provide locally sourced foods.
Make your own grass roots movement…grow your own! GM seeds do not make it into the home garden. Having your own garden is a wonderful way to keep your green thumb on the pulse of your own food supply.
Institute for Responsible Technology (http://www.ResponsibleTechnology.org)
Center for Food Safety (http://www.CenterForFoodSafety.org)
Non-GMO shopping guide (free download) ( http://www.NonGmoShoppingGuide.com)
Organic Consumers Association (http://www.OrganicConsumers.org)
Millions Against Monsanto Campaign (http://www.OrganicConsumers.org/monsanto/index.cfm)
Uncertain Peril (book) by Claire Hope Cummings
The Future of Food (movie)
Food Inc. (movie)
Florida Homegrown Co-op (http://www.homegrowncoop.org)
Essential Health Market (http://www.hooversmarket.com)
Community Supported Agriculture
Local farms and local farmers
Your own garden