The Road Less Taken
This is a fence in the woods. There is a stone wall, and sticks in the gap in the wall, that warn you not to stick your head through the electric fence. Doing so, especially without realizing the wires were there, would hurt. Most fences are visible but some might be hard to see. Livestock do best if they have a good visual marker along fence lines. Visual markers are important so that you can make informed decisions. Once you see the info you can decide for yourself if it is worth the pain to go down that path.
There is a safe proven path which has been mapped out by settlers, nature and the livestock who came before. But sometimes I’ll open up a new path that might lead to better pastures. Until the new path is proven safe, e.g., the gate opened and clearly marked, I would suggest that “you,” as livestock, not stick your head through the fence. The sign, written with sticks in the potential path, make this clear so animals don’t accidentally get a shock. Well marked fences make good neighbors to mangle an old poem.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs/GMs) are mostly unproven to my level of satisfaction and that of many other people’s. They are a path that has not yet been proven by the test of time. Studies done by the manufactures are not good enough – they have an inherent conflict of interest in promoting their product to transfer your money from your pocket to their pocket. There are many opposing studies that suggest or confirm that there are problems caused by GMO foods. Until this all gets sorted out info on GMO foods will let us make informed decisions.
In addition to the health concerns GMOs encourage the use of herbicides (e.g., RoundUp Ready) and antibiotics (e.g., rBGH/rBST). Some GMOs contain insecticides (e.g., like Bt) that might not be safe to be eating – the Bti Mosquito Bits says not to consume them. Many consumers, like myself, prefer to avoid pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics in our diet as much as feasible. Signs on product help us do this by avoiding RoundUp Ready crops, for example.
Another problem with things like the RoundUp Ready and Bt GMO crops is they are creating resistance out in nature to these herbicides and insecticides which result in more herbicides being used. The over use of Bt has resulted in insects becoming resistant to it – thus we lose an important tool Bti which is a natural, organic method of controlling certain pests. Too much of a good thing has turned bad. Part of that problem is monocropping which is a central tenant of GMOs and has all sorts of problems.
There are other non-health issues with GMOs. They have resulted in patents on natural life, DNA sequences, that nobody should own. Even the Supreme Court agrees 9-0. Patents in the GMO field have resulted in lawsuits against farmers that should never have seen the light of day in my esteemed opinion. Patents and ill gotten legislation have been used to squash research on the risks of GMOs. The big GMO companies have used their 8,000 pound gorilla tactics to crush the opposition through intimidation. They have used their enormous lobbying power to push through destructive legislation that blocks consumers from knowing what is in their food and even blocks scientists from doing research that might prove the dangers inherent in GMOs. If the GMO companies really believed their products were safe then they would be encouraging and cooperating with independent researchers to prove it.
Salt, nutrition, allergens and calorie counts must be shown by law. Mandatory for GMOs makes sense too. The GM companies argue that they shouldn’t have to declare their products:
Asgrow Seed Co. (a Monsanto subsidiary) President Norman Braksick was quoted in the Kansas City Star as saying: “If you [it] on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.”
–Sonoran News & Organic Consumers Association
Well, yes, that is the point – GMOs are considered dangerous, much like pirates, by a large portion of the public. By the GMO companies’s same logic nobody should have to show the amount of salt, calories, protein, vitamins, ingredients, allergens or anything else in products. Yet, the government says not only is it mandatory to indicate these ingredients but it is a good idea demanded by consumers and that consumers have a right to know. GMO declarations are the same.
As of the latest data I can find, 61 countries mandate info on GMOs, yet not in the USA. Many places have even banned GMOs outright. A lot more research needs to be done to prove each is safe before they should be allowed in our food supply. At the very least the GMO crops should be marked so consumers can decide for themselves.
Fortunately, GMOs will soon be indicted without any government mandate. I tend to favor market place solutions so I’m pleased to see this:
Chipotle becomes first US restaurant chain to voluntarily declared GMOs. … On its “Ingredients Statement” website, Chipotle clearly outlines which of its food products contain GMOs, and also states that it is working aggressively to source completely non-GMO ingredients for all of its products as it moves forward.
In other words, consumers are demanding to know what GMOs are in their food and retailers are responding. There is a competitive advantage to giving the buyers what they want. If you care about GMOs you’re more likely to buy from vendors who insist that their suppliers declare products.
The above article says we have one national restaurant chain that is insisting on the info. Whole Foods is another in retail. One more and we’ll have a conspiracy… Oh, wait, it gets better, there already is a conspiracy by retailers to insist vendors declare their products about GMOs as per this article:
Proponents of GMO transparency are finding unlikely allies in the companies that mandatory marking would most impact. Nearly two-thirds of retailers (64.1%) and 71.1% of manufacturers polled for SN’s 10th annual survey of Center Store performance advocate measures that would require foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be marked as such. The findings come as Whole Foods Market works toward full GMO transparency; Target, Giant Eagle and more than 50 other chains
All good news. You can affect change. Let retailers know you care and vote with your dollars.
This is not to say that research, even GM research, is evil. Genetic engineering has the potential for great good. The companies with the vested interest should not be squashing research into their products and they should have no control over the research determining safety. Even the Supreme Court agrees, unanimously, that nobody should own patents on DNA or on nature. Research in this area is very dangerous. It needs to be done more cautiously, with much more confirmation of safety, before it is allowed in our food and it must be indicated so we can see where the safe path veers into the unknown.
When leaving comments on this particular post use your real name or I may delete your comment. For the two people from the USDA office†† who used false names when leaving FUD comments on the related article about this topic: No, our pigs are not GMOed. We use good old fashion, tried and true traditional selective breeding† as has been done for the past 6,000 years by farmers and for hundreds of millions of years by Mother Nature. Evolution works.
Outdoors: 65°F/44°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/63°F
Daily Spark: There’s an old Yankee saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
†Traditional selective breeding is not Genetic Engineering, GM or GMOs, contrary to the propaganda of some GMO proponents. If these people can’t tell the difference then they need to get out of their labs, cubicles and ivory towers.
††Web logs and crumbs are highly informative.