Saturday, July 23, 2016
You Are What You Eat
I was walking through the stacks at the library the other day ... just strolling down the aisles ... when a book title jumped out at me. Genetically Engineered Food was what I saw out of the corner of my eye, and I had to stop, back-up and look a little more closely.
Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers by Ronnie Cummins and Ben Lilliston is the complete title.
I decided to check it out. Given the huge controversy around GE foods and foods grown from GMOs, I thought it was a new book, and I just wanted a closer look.
It was published in 2000 (!!!).
I remember the huge scare when Bt corn was "accidentally" leaked into the human food stream through some tainted taco shells. Those companies that had the contaminated taco shells (and yes, contaminated is exactly the right word, because that's how everyone felt at the time - that our food had been contaminated) voluntarily recalled them, refunding money and releasing a statement about the taco shells and apologizing for the egregious error.
Fast forward many years, and suddenly, more than 90% of the soy in this country is from genetically engineered seed. More than 80% of the corn grown in this country is from GE seed (and was originally only grown for animal feed, but is now in all corn-based products that aren't specifically labeled "organic" or "GMO-free"). And sugar? If it's not labeled "cane sugar", it's from GMO beets. Everything that has added sweetener in this country contains GMOs.
Chew on that for a second.
Or, just chew on the fact that in 2000, there was a book written and published about how to protect oneself from genetically engineered foods, and sixteen years later, we are still FIGHTING, uselessly, to get companies (the very same ones listed in the book as either openly and proudly admitting that they use GMOs or excusing themselves by saying everyone else is, too) to label their products that are GMO - since we know they aren't going to not use them.
Back in 2000, FritoLay stated: We have no plans to market or advertise any claim of "Genetically Modifed-Free" products ... Since we are also a large buyer of agricultural commodities, and more than a quarter of the North Amiercan crop is derived from biotechnology, just like other food companies, we could have biotechnology ingredients in our products. Translation: Yeah, we use them, because everyone does.
Coca-Cola company stated that *if* there are genetically modified ingredients in their products they "are destroyed in the processing." What? That makes no sense to me. If the ingredient is destroyed in the process, why bother using it at all?
Nestle, who also believes that water is a commodity that should be bought, sold, and controlled, stated, in effect, in places where consumers don't want GMO foods, they won't use GMOs, but as long as GMOs are legal to use and consumers don't care, they will include them. I have a friend who likes Haagen Daaz, because she has severe food sensitivities. Nestle owns Haagen Daaz. I wonder how safe that ice cream really is.
Kellogg company just flipped off the entire American public, stating, in effect, that their grain is American grown and all of the farmers are growing GMOs. So, they're using the GMOs, and we can just suck it.
General Mills says that "some of their products may contain ingredients that have been improved through biotechnology." Of course, we are now learning that GMO crops are not better than organic crops, not for the environment, not for farmer productivity, not for those who eat them ... although this knowledge does not, yet, seem to be common.
Quaker Oats says that they can't be bothered to worry about whether or not their products contain GE foods, because "there is no system in place to separate these foods."
Hormel says that "... developments in plant genetics ... have significantly improved crop productivity and food quality," and therefore, they will "continue to support the crop and vegetable industries' efforts to provide the safest and highest quality products available." Translation: GMOs are good. The science is sound. Scientists are GODS! Anyone who disagrees is an idiot luddite.
These are but a few of the companies that use GMOs without apology. Many of them, however, will not use GMO products in Europe, where the feeling about GMOs is a bit different. European farmers haven't been brainwashed into using these patented seeds only to become dependent on them, even though they are not better or more productive than conventional seeds.
Since 2000, there has been a marked increase in the number of cases of Type II diabetes in young people (Type II diabetes used to be an old person disease), a sudden outbreak of food sensitivities (especially to gluten), and an epidemic of childhood obesity. While correlation is not causation, it's also true that no one is seriously looking at whether or not these GMO foods might be a cause. Not in this country. Not in our part of the world where companies that are responsible for some of the most poisonous chemicals known to man are now making our food.
Vermont tried, unsuccessfully it seems, to get companies to label products which they knew to contain GMO ingredients, but it appears that our Federal Government is, once again, bowing to corporate pressure. A new resolution is going through Congress now to disallow States from passing bills that will require labeling of GMO-ingredients.
In short, our corporate controlled Federal government won't force these companies to state, exactly, what's in that package of cookies. No one wants us to know ... and apparently, given how prolific GMO ingredients now are in our food supply, and that fact that many companies have willingly bowed to consumer pressure in other countries, too few of us who eat really care enough to have demanded it.