Most American's believe that they have never eaten genetically modified foods, and if so, only "once or twice" in their lifetimes. However, the majority of Americans eat unlabeled genetically engineered foods on a daily basis, in the form of soy, corn, canola and sugar.
On Friday 13th, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White ruled that genetically engineered beets can not be planted, because regulators did not complete a review of how genetically modified crops effect other plants through cross-pollination. The judge instructed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue an environmental impact statement, which normally takes two to three years.
Before being approved for use, genetically modified beets were never evaluated for the impact that they would have on the environment, and the risks presented to both organic and conventional growers. This is actually contrary to the law. While organic produce is still becoming more popular, it is becoming harder to grow, because genetically engineered foods cross pollinate. There is usually no visible difference between organic and G.E. produce, so farmers can only know if their crops have been infected by spraying Monsanto's Roundup on them, and watching to see if they die.
"The genetically altered sugar beets provide about one-half of the U.S. sugar supply and some farmers have warned there aren't enough conventional seeds and herbicide to fill the void. The scientific seeds account for about 95 percent of the current sugar beet crop in the U.S.."
According to the Organic Consumers Association, half of our sugar supply comes from beets, while the rest comes from sugar cane. The effects of genetic modification might not necessarily be felt immediately, but rather we may see them in our sickly children and grandchildren. It is the price for playing God.
Under the ruling, genetically engineered sugar beets that are currently in the ground can still be harvested and used. Thus, another year will pass before the ruling has any effect. In that time, the pollen will mingle with other plants, and escape into the environment. As a result, the honey bee population will drop further (we'll write more about that later), and these G.E. crops will continue to enter our food chain. Their pollen will taint the crops at other farms, and some of those will be organic farms.
A wide range of companies has affirmed that they will not be using G.M. sugar beets, but there are few large corporations following suit. We have previously reported that Kellogg's said that they would have no qualms about using genetically engineered sugar beets, because American consumers are friendly to such produce. Conversely, Kellogg's ensures that their products sold throughout Europe do not contain any genetically engineered produce. The main reason for this is because Europe mandates clear labels on Frankenfoods. When you visit the cereal isle, remember that Kellogg's also owns Kashi, Morningstar Farms, and Natural Touch.
Hershey's has previously stated that they will not use G.E. beets, and Dole has had a long-standing non-GMO policy. As far as we are aware, these are the only large corporations avoiding genetically engineered produce. We would like to remind readers to only purchase evaporated cane juice, which can be found in the ingredients list of non-adulterated sugar. The dozens of benefits of honey as a sweetener should be remembered too.