|Courtesy David Dees|
Most Americans ignore the debate surrounding genetically engineered foods, in part because they assume that they do not eat them. A 2004 study, by Rutger University, showed that 69% of Americans believe that they have never eaten genetically engineered foods. In reality, the vast majority of Americans eat G.M. foods on a daily basis.
Most civilized countries around the world require explicit labeling of genetically engineered foods, including all of the European Union nations, alongside Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand, and Australia. Throughout the world, people want to know what they are eating, especially when it comes to genetic modifications. However, the food industry has taken advantage of lax policies in the U.S., which were put in place by its friends at the F.D.A. and the U.S.D.A.. The American public does not know what it is eating, which seems to be the principle driving regulatory policies. Imagine if clear labeling of G.E. foods was required tomorrow from all American food producers, like it is for most of the world. We would expect riots at grocers.
An estimated 80% of processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients, in the form of soy, corn, canola and cottonseed. Virtually all soy, corn, and canola are genetically engineered, so be extremely wary of any company advertising 'organic' versions of these foods. You can be sure they are lying. Unfortunately the genetic engineering is just the beginning of these foods' lifecycles, which generally undergo many more chemical-industry perversions before reaching retail shelves. This is especially true for processed foods. If these foods were properly and honestly labeled as biotech experiments, would you still buy them? Would you feed them to your children?
Strolling through the isles in search of foods, which do not contain soy, can feel like a lost cause. Even canned tuna, a previously healthy item, contains soy-based vegetable broth. Soybean oil is used in the majority of processed foods, especially liquids. Vegetable oil was once corn oil, but 'vegetable oil' is now a pseudonym for soybean oil. Soy is not even a vegetable at all, as it was never meant for human consumption. Raw, unprocessed, non-G.E, soybeans are poisonous to eat in their natural state. Redefining 'vegetable oil' is simply another trick to get people into adding more soy into their diet, and is thus another reason why rates of hypothyroidism and infertility are so high.
When products are marketed to the more health-conscious, genetically modified canola oil is used as the replacement for soy. It is increasing in popularity as food producers believe that they have found a cheap way to make processed foods, and yet once again market them as being healthy. Many of the 'health foods' which are marketed as "0% Trans Fats" contain canola oil.
Corn became a staple of the American diet after the government decided to subsidize the farmers which grew it. Now, you would be hard-pressed to live without corn, which is found in the form of corn flour, corn syrup, corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, dextrose, sucrose, and sorbitol. An isotopic hair analysis revealed that corn is a huge part of the American diet. This was the basis for the enlightening documentary, King Corn, in which one of the producers found that his diet consisted of 50% corn. The movie then attempted to trace the many hidden sources of corn in his diet.
Cotton is another crop which is usually genetically engineered. Cottonseed oil is banned in many health food stores, due to the high use of pesticides, which are required for its production, but it is also genetically engineered to ensure that the plants can tolerate these poisons. While we eat genetically engineered corn, we wear genetically engineered clothing.
The time has come for people to stop pretending that governmental agencies will protect them, and that their foods play no role in the health and well being of their families. The voting process takes place on each visit to the grocery store. Those who vote for G.E. foods will always suffer the consequences in future hospital visits, when they will supposedly be suffering from one of the new genetic diseases, or even the many new chronic diseases, which have reached epidemic levels. The avoidance of genetically engineered foods requires that people make their own meals. Truly homemade meals taste far better than processed foods, and are actually cheaper oftentimes. They just require more planning, but the social experience is definitely worthwhile. You can no longer claim ignorance. Stop eating biotech experiments, and help us to put these evil people out of business. Your unborn grandchildren are depending on it.
Even fresh produce is unsafe from biotech experiments. People need to read the PLU numbers on produce to ensure that their fruits and vegetables are not genetically engineered.