Monday, May 6, 2013

GMO: Why should you care?

This is a topic I have debated discussing for a while now. I've gone back and forth because it isn't the usual running or family related issues I enjoy writing about. It's more serious. It's a little scary. It's very controversial. It's something that I am getting more and more passionate about. Now it's come to my back yard. This is MY OPINION based on the research that I have done.

What is GMO?

If you don't know what GMO stands for, it is Genetically Modified Organism. In other words, it is not something that would naturally occur in nature but is produced by scientists. Why should you care about that? Because you and your family are probably eating them. Every day. You won't find them listed on the label though. In the United States there are no labeling laws to force manufacturers to label GMO products.

Is that a big deal? Well, if you want to know what you are really eating or feeding your children, then yes, it is. There have been studies done, not just here but in countries all over the world, that link GMO's to an increase in allergies, illnesses such as cancer, organ failure, birth defects, and even infertility. For instance, in one study where rats were fed Monsanto's GM corn, they ended up with organ damage and developed large tumors all over. You can read more about it HERE.

Monsanto Company is a leading producer of GMO seed. Most common GMO crops are corn and soybeans but those are not the only GMO's by any means. Monsanto Company also produced such excellent products as DDT, PCB's, and AGENT ORANGE. Yes, you read that correctly. This company is now making our food. In a lab. When you stop and think about how many products contain soybeans or corn in one form or another, you will begin to grasp the vast reach of GMO's. Soybean oil alone is in thousands of products. And, again, even though soybean oil may be listed under the ingredients, it will not say that it's from GMO soybeans. Thankfully, more and more brands are labeling with the NON GMO Project label. Click HERE to find out more about the NON GMO Project.

If there really is nothing wrong with GMO's then why did Monsanto Company alone spend MILLIONS of dollars to keep GMO labeling from becoming law? Monsanto spent 8.1 million dollars in opposing the passage of Proposition 37 in California. Why did a bill, HR 933, which recently passed through Congress and was signed by the president, have a rider (Section 735) now being referred to as the 'Monsanto Protection Act', anonymously added? Why would Monsanto even need protection?

Here's how explains the rider. You can click on the link for the full article:

Included in the bill is a rider, Section 735, which says federal courts cannot intervene and halt biotech companies from planting and selling GMO goods to the public, even if testing proves them to be potentially hazardous to the greater public. Because the legislation largely shields agriculture giants Monsanto from litigation, it has been dubbed by its critics the “Monsanto Protection Act.”

This has caused quite a stir. Understandably so. Now one senator is saying she didn't know about what was going on while another senator, Roy Blunt of Missouri, which happens to be where Monsanto's headquarters are located, has been credited with working alongside Monsanto in crafting the language of HR 933.

Here's a clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart regarding the issue.

Obviously, I feel very strongly about this topic and I think it's pretty clear that my opinion of Monsanto Company is not at all good. Please, don't let my opinion sway you. I will list some facts on the matter and some resources so you can all do your own research as well. Please, please do your own research on the matter.

Fact #1

The United States does not have any labeling laws regarding GMO's. Produce in the grocery store has a sticker on it with a UPC number. If that number is four digits beginning with a 4 then it is conventionally grown with pesticides and may also be GMO, but maybe not because without labeling laws we have no way of knowing. Five digits beginning with 9 are Organic and non-GMO. If GMO labeling ever becomes law here, then GMO produce will have a five digit number beginning with an 8.

Fact #2

USDA Certified Organics do not contain GMO's.

Taken from the USDA's website:

The USDA organic regulations prohibit the use of GMOs, listing them as “excluded methods,” and defining those methods as “a variety of methods to genetically modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes…. Such prohibited methods include cell fusion, microencapsulation and macroencapsulation, and recombinant DNA technology (including gene deletion, gene doubling, introducing a foreign gene, and changing the positions of genes when achieved by recombinant DNA technology).”
To prevent GMOs from being introduced into organic production, producers do not use genetically modified seeds or other materials when planting crops.  They also work with their certifiers to implement preventative practices that effectively buffer their farms from GMO contamination.

Fact #3

Taken from Wikipedia, click here for the full article:

Former Monsanto employees currently hold positions in US government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) and the Supreme Court. These include:
  • Michael A. Friedman, MD, was Senior Vice President of Research and Development, Medical and Public Policy for Pharmacia, and later served as an FDA deputy commissioner.[289][290]
  • Linda J. Fisher was an assistant administrator at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before she was a vice president at Monsanto from 1995 to 2000. In 2001, Fisher became the deputy administrator of the EPA.[138]
  • Michael R. Taylor was an assistant to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner before working as an attorney for King & Spalding, a private-sector law firm that represented Monsanto among other clients.[291][292] He later served as deputy commissioner for policy to the FDA on food safety between 1991 and 1994 during which time the FDA approved rBST.[138] He was accused of a conflict of interest, but a federal investigation cleared him. Following his tenure at the FDA, Taylor returned to Monsanto as Vice President for Public Policy.[260][261][262] On July 7, 2009, Taylor entered government as Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration for the Obama administration.[264][293]
  • United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas worked as an attorney for Monsanto in the 1970s. Thomas wrote the majority opinion in the 2001 Supreme Court decision J. E. M. Ag Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.[294] which found that "newly developed plant breeds are patentable under the general utility patent laws of the United States."[138][294][295]
Public officials with indirect connections or who worked for Monsanto after leaving public office include:


Fact #4

Countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, and South America have put into effect bans or some form of GMO restrictions and labeling laws. Ireland has banned all growing and cultivating of GMO food.

The United States has no restrictions on GMO's, no labeling laws, nothing. See Fact #3 for possible reasons as to why.

What can you do?

Research GMO's.
Research the companies who sell food containing GMO's.
Stop buying from those companies.
Buy organic, preferably local.
Look for the 'Non-GMO Project' label on items that are not organic.
Write to your congressman, a lot.
Spread the word!!!

Eat well and stay healthy!

Peace, Love, Happiness!

1 comment:

  1. Great advice. It really is just so disturbing. I think that if more Americans cared at all about their food, this wouldn't be an issue. But alas, that's not the case so we need to be our own advocates.