There’s been a lot of uproar lately about the “pink slime” mixture that was used in fast food restaurants and is now being approved for school lunches. While I understand the furor (I’m disgusted, too, and will probably keep this in mind when my boys reach school age), there are other areas of food production that are harmful and frequently overlooked. Take, for instance, genetically modified foods.
There have been a lot of issues raised about genetically engineered foods, and with good reason. When foods are genetically engineered, DNA from one species is forced into another, unrelated species, creating combinations of plants and animals that are unstable and do not occur naturally. According to Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, these foods are unsafe for human consumption.
In lab trials, the offspring of rats fed genetically modified soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality rates. Not only that, but these rats had lower birth weights than their predecessors and some were unable to reproduce. The effects of GM food also extended to cows and pigs who were fed GM corn—farmers in the United States have reported sterility and fertility issues in these animals.
Thee use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) is becoming more and more common. For instance, 90% of corn grown in the United States is genetically modified. So chances are, if you have consumed corn this year at all, it’s been genetically engineered (GE). Something even more frightening? Apparently scientists have recently found GE insecticide in corn showing up in the umbilical cords of pregnant women. There is no telling to what extent this is affecting unborn fetuses.
The fact is, we as consumers have a right to know what we are putting into our bodies. Genetically engineered foods should be labeled as such. As environmental activist Gary Hirshberg has noted, “Labels tell us the fat, calories, and colors in our food, but not if it’s genetically engineered … labels help us make informed decisions about the food we eat and feed our families.”
So, how can we get these foods labeled? There’s an easy way to tell the FDA: go to the Just Label It website, and with one click you can let them know that you want to know what you’re consuming.