The following is a letter I wrote to the editor of the L’Anse Sentinel.  My friend Karen Jacobson (the most awesome art teacher ever) encouraged Bob and I to submit one.  I was glad she did.  I hope you will take the time to read it and think about the foods you and your family consume on a daily basis.

 

Do you know that you are part of one of the biggest experiments ever conducted on the American people?  Everyday the majority of foods that we consume are genetically modified.  You might not think that this issue has any impact other then providing you with a cheap meal, but several studies say otherwise.  It is time to gain some knowledge and ask a few questions of our political representatives and food industry leaders.

GMO’s (genetically modified organisms)  are created by a process from which genetic information from one species is forced into the genetic information of another species.  The two naturally would never combine and as much as industry and science would like us to believe, it is much different then selective breeding or hybridization.  What is created in the lab is an organism with  genetically coded information that is new to our food chain.  Today most of all processed food contains one or more of these modified foods.  Corn, soy, sugar beets, canola, and cotton are leaders among a growing list of genetically modified foods.

Why should we care?  In 1996 we began consuming GMO foods with the approval of the FDA despite internal memos that showed that the FDA scientists were concerned with their safety.  Why would the FDA approve something that their own scientists were questioning?

 

What we are finding is that there is a revolving door between industry and the government.  Lawyers and other “experts” from the food and pesticide industry are appointed to government policy making positions, rehired back into the industry, and then back again to appointed positions.  How can a corporate representative be unbiased and write policies regarding the safety of food for our government?  Even more troubling,  as in the case of GMO’s, these appointed industry representatives craft their own policy where the industry itself is responsible for insuring the safety of their product and provide industry studies as proof.

Here are some of the things we are told in regards to GMO foods:

*They are no different then non-gmo foods.

*They will be the solution to world hunger.

*They will have less of an impact on the environment because they use less herbicides.

The truth is GMO food is different and may be impacting our health in ways that are hard to detect.  There are questions regarding the allergenic impact and the potential for new diseases.  The allergy issue alone should raise a few eyebrows as we are witnessing ever increasing numbers of food allergies and food sensitivities.

GMO’s have not solved world hunger nor will they ever be the sole answer.  In fact there is evidence that GMO crops are having a devastating affect on small farming communities throughout the world.  Sole central ownership and distribution of seeds and herbicides controlled by only a handful of  companies is an absurd way to solve world hunger.  The only entities this “feed the world” fable benefits are a few multi-billion dollar companies and their investors.

GMO herbicide use has increased and we are confronted with super weeds, and herbicide resistant bugs, and worms.   Industries answer to this is to develop a new gmo-crop with linkage to the Vietnam era’s herbicide Agent Orange. There is also environmental contamination of non-gmo crops via cross pollination and spillage of gmo plants or seeds.

Questioning the ethics of how they are made, how they are approved, and what the potential long term impact on health and environment should be an American right, don’t you think?  We do. Corporations seem to think differently.

Numerous health statistics tell a devastating story and unless something changes the health of our children and grandchildren will continue to be compromised.  Corporations have spent millions of dollars fighting labeling laws for GMO foods despite the fact that 40 countries around the world have labeling laws or some form of restrictions.  States, like Conneticut that have attempted to pass legislation for labeling have been threatened with law suits from the billion dollar corporations that own the rights to this patented life form.  Why are they so opposed to labeling?  They change labels and packaging all the time so the threat of it costing more to consumers is a mute argument.

What can you do?

*Follow The Institute for Responsible Technology http://www.responsibletechnology.org/ .  They have a vast amount of  articles and information available from shoppers guides to documented studies and statistics regarding GMO food.

*Educate yourself and your family.  Research companies like Monsanto and government policy makers that rotate between company and government positions.

* Learn to read the ingredient list on food packages and avoid high risk foods. *Support labeling laws regarding GMO’s.

*Buy locally grown foods and support local farmers who care about how they are growing the food you consume.

*Grow your own food from seeds that are not genetically modified.  If you have a garden, share your bounties!

*Join a local CSA (community supported agriculture) or volunteer at one and buy your meat from local pasture raised sources.

Allowing dependency for our nutritional health to a few powerful and self-regulated seed and pesticide companies does not make any sense.  The experiment of GMO’S needs to be disclosed and local communities need to take back the leadership and responsibility of providing healthy food alternatives to their people. The world will be healthier for it.

Respectfully, Bob and Tanya Selden