We are on the verge of winning the fight to eradicate GMOs (Genetic Modified Organisms) from the U.S. food supply. A California ballot initiative has been launched that requests a mandatory GMO labeling requirement in place. This, one would hope, would result in nearly all U.S. food producers discontinuing the use of GMOs to avoid the embarrassment (and cost) of having to print GMOs on their labels. This would be amazing!
So what is a GMO?
A general definition of a GMO is when a small piece of genetic material such as DNA from one type of organism is artificially inserted into another organism. This is not the same practice of growing hybrid plants where you cross a red flower with a white flower and get pink flowers. Genetic material is the “blueprint” for how an organism is created. For example, a person’s DNA will determine the color of their eyes and their sex. Every living organism has its own unique set of genetic material. Mother Nature has safeguards in place to prevent cross over of genetic material between species. This is why hummingbirds do not have flower petals growing from their heads.
Actually this is what has happened with some of our food crops. Monsanto has inserted the Bt gene from a bacterium into corn (two different species) to make it resistant to Round Up (an herbicide). This allows Round Up to be heavily sprayed on the corn without killing it, yet killing all other plants around it. Similar genetic modifications have also happened with soybeans, canola, cotton (think cottonseed oil), and sugar beets. These GMO foods were introduced into the American food supply in 1996. Due to heavy lobbying by the big agriculture companies, products that contain GMO ingredients do not currently have to be labeled.
So why label? There is strong evidence to suggest that GMO’s are contributing to the rise in food sensitivities and allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, certain cancers, autism, environmental allergies, and other chronic illnesses. Not only do GMO’s impact our health, but they also negatively affect crops, insects, fish, birds, and livestock. Click on the link below to Sign the Petition to President Obama for MEANINGFUL GMO labeling!
The Organic Consumers Association is trying to get 1 million people to sign their petition to help pass a Truth in Labeling Law which would require that GMO foods be labeled. For more information on this issue or to get more involved visit: http://labelgmos.org/