The right to choose our food.
There are many things with GM crops that should ring some alarm bells. One that really concerns me at the moment is the threat over our right to choose our food.
Some countries have approved GMOs, after pressure from the GM crops producers and the lack of long-term third parties studies. However, there’s more than just human health that is at stake. The organizations responsible of genetically modified food evaluation should also take into account the environmental risks it causes, like the reduced biodiversity, the control of global seeds market, the threat to butterflies and other insects and more importantly, of the contamination of conventional crops.
Spain, where many GM crops are allowed since 1997, observed an alarming risk associated with GMOs. There is now way currently to separate, segregate and control the crops to avoid contamination of conventionally grown and organic crops. And this, along with labeling regulations, is the biggest threat to our right to choose what we put into our body.
An extensive investigation has shown that there’re nil or inadequate monitoring and control of the crops, leading to many cases of contamination, illegal GM varieties, experimental crops, no respect of the minimum distances between fields, machinery not cleaned between GM and conventional fields, and farmers who admitted mixing everything together in the same heap. Not to mention that GMOs forbidden to human consumption are often allowed for feeding animals and thus, entering the food chain.
In Aragon, Spain, while examining at possible contamination cases in 2004, 100% of the samples taken were contaminated. In the long run, this could lead to the spread of contaminated crops to the point where it will be no longer possible to choose an alternative, which will cause irreversible damage to our health and to the environment. If this happens, we can definitely say goodbye to our right to choose the food we eat.
The health risks potentially linked to GMOs
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Heart damage
- Increased food allergies
- Antibiotic resistance
- Fertility problems
At the moment, the only country completely forbidding GM seeds is Venezuela. Neither Canada nor the US has laws to make the labeling of GM crops obligatory. This means that once it leaves the field, no one knows if it’s GM or conventional. There’s no way to ensure that there’s no cross contamination of organic crops either. So what can we do to protect us? Unfortunately, we are limited in what we can do. The first thing is to stay informed of the situation. You can then take action whenever it’s possible. After that, growing your own food by carefully selecting heirloom seeds is the best solution. However this is not possible at a large scale for most of us. The next best thing would be to buy organic, as it is more carefully controlled, and get to know your farmer and the surrounding farms.
The common GM crops in America:
- Cottonseed oil
- Colza (canola)
- Squash (including zucchini)
- Sugar beet
Many of the big food companies are using GM ingredients without having to label it. See the list of some well-known brands using GMOs.
Are you concerned bout GMOs? If GM foods were clearly labeled, would you still buy it?