If I were to tell you that 60% of the food in America’s grocery stores contains hidden animal products, I’m sure you would not only be surprised, but a bit outraged. Well it may not be undisclosed animal products that have snuck their way into our food supply, but rather Genetically Engineered (GE) foods, yet we should be no less surprised or outraged. But there must be a reasonable explanation for this, right?
One of the main arguments behind the promotion of GE foods is that it will help put an end to world hunger. Even if this were the case, to promote a “solution” which puts sustainable organic agriculture at risk (via genetic contamination), is not acceptable. And to neglect to explore a much more practical and safe solution to world hunger, the switch to a plant-centered diet, points to the fact that the real motivation behind GE foods is profit, not philanthropy.
Although biotech scientists assure the public that their “creations” are completely safe, the lack of non-biased, third-party testing makes these claims difficult to trust. And with the recent launch of a 50 million dollar publicity campaign by the biotech industry to attempt to win over our trust, we should be even more skeptical. In fact, the deeper you look into this issue, the more you will find a very familiar tale. Not so long ago, the pesticide and chemical industries both touted how safe and effective their “solutions” were. Now we know otherwise. It is foolish to assume that GE proponents are any different. There are billions of dollars at stake and once again, big business is putting the entire population and environment at risk. Why? Because they can.
Until enough people learn the facts, and understand the very real threats that are now facing us, then we will continue to be subjected to one of the largest science experiments ever conducted. Bio-technology is a very unpredictable science. Already there have been many problems reported, such as: contamination of both conventional and organic crops by pollen drift from GE crops; cases of food allergies popped up around the country when an unapproved GE variety of corn accidentally entered the food supply; increased pesticide use due to plants developing tolerance; the list goes on and on, yet the madness continues. It was recently announced that researchers have found that by introducing rat genes into the genetic material of lettuce, it causes a 700 percent increase in the lettuce’s production of vitamins. No wonder they are so against labeling GE foods, who on Earth would want to eat lettuce produced using rat genes?
On the home front, it was recently reported that Hawaii has the highest number of GE test plots in the country (over 3000). Now why is it that the government won’t allow any foreign species of plants to come in at the airports and docks, yet they’ve approved thousands of genetically engineered plants to be grown on our islands, threatening the balance of our delicate ecosystems? And why is it that new vitamins or food additives must be thoroughly tested by non-biased third parties and put under great scrutiny before entering the market, yet new varieties of GE foods are only tested to the extent that the creators of these foods deem reasonable?
These are questions we must ask not only ourselves, but the USDA, the FDA, and our government representatives. The problem of GE foods is not going to just go away by itself. As concerned citizens, we must make an effort to push for mandatory testing and labeling of GE foods. We have a right to know what is in our food.