Being the young whippersnapper of a country America is, innovation and trailblazing are two of our favorite pastimes. The teddy bear, the French dip sandwich (a misleading name, I know!), the crash test dummy and the cryotron. Making new stuff is cool. Hey, didn’t we invent “cool,” too?
When Paul Berg genetically engineered the first organism in 1972, he opened doors in countless fields: biology, medicine, agriculture, the list goes on and on.
But what’s the deal with GM – genetically modified – foods? Is it the wave of the future, the solution to production shortages? Or could it be a decision with painful repercussions in the long term?
Just to be clear, I am straight-up biased on this subject. My instincts tend to paint a surrealist portrait of the nu-American dystopia – quadruple turkey chins, corn-textured thighs, raging rivers of carbonated blood coursing through paper-thin vessels. Something about the idea of totally man-made food feels wrong. Like nuclear energy, surgically-implanted identification chips, or Frankenstein. One day it may all be mainstream and safe, but thankfully I won’t be around to see it come to that.
All imagination (and perceived ancestral wisdom) aside, I’m also big on facts. This is a pretty new subject I’ve been considering, but seeing as I’m back in the States, where about 70% of the foods on our shelves are GM, it’s time to take a closer look (Europe reluctantly eats only about 5% GM foods, by the way).
Will New York be next? And why hasn’t the FDA required this kind of labeling for the health of our entire nation? Oh wait, that’s because it’s run by former CEOs of billion dollar food corporations that continue to feed Americans potentially poisonous foods year after year. (“How the bottom-line bottomed-out our health” – the topic of a completely different blog all together!)
Recent research from a group of French scientists hired by an anti-GMO organization found that GM corn from Monsanto (surprise!) caused tumors in rats. Massive. Nasty. Tumors.
Granted, the rats were prone to tumors, genetically. So are many humans. While this study may only translate as a warning for tumor-prone people, it still sounds like a reasonably important message to hear.
Coverage from a few major media outlets:
- The Guardian: Study linking GM maize to cancer must be taken seriously by regulators (a GREAT headline, don’t you think?)
- BBC (where I first read about the study. Their mobile app is genius, by the way!)
- Mother Jones
- The New American
Read up, eat up and live well, my friends. It may sound daunting, like everything out there is bad for you somehow, but grocery outlets like Trader Joe’s (relatively affordable), and your local farmer’s markets are great places to invest in good fuel for your body. It may not be easy to escape GM foods (and foods made with GM products) in the States, but it’s becoming more and more possible.
Question is: is it necessary?