4.17.2014 gmo's

I woke up early and decided to dive into GMO's.  Genetically modified organisms are ones that have had their genes modified by a means that wouldn't have occurred naturally.  Typically, to add or remove a trait.  

For example, many corn and soy plants are modified to resist glyphosate, the active ingredient in roundup.  Another example is papaya, most papayas that you see have been modified to resist a particular virus.  Several years ago the papaya market was nearly wiped out due to a deadly virus.  Scientists were able to modify the genes in a way that allows the plant to resist this virus.  Although it "saved" the papaya industry, there have been some negative results.  The European Union doesn't allow the importation of gmo products and therefore that market has been lost.  Also, many papaya trees that have not been modified have cross pollinated with these modified plants and produce fruit with traits of the GMO.  This is a major concern with all GMO crops.

As a chef, I’ve really tried to get as much information as I possibly can on this issue. Personally, I avoid gmo’s as much as possible and do not purchase food containing gmo ingredients for my home. I also have an environmental studies degree, so I try and come at this from several angles.  I am not totally against the possibilities of gmo products being a part of our agriculture, it just has to be for the right reasons.

There are some questions that still need to be addressed. One, is why is an organism being genetically modified? Two, how is it being modified? And three, will this be in anyway harmful to other plants, animals or humans?

Chemical companies, like Monsanto, don’t develop GMO seeds to make the lives of farmers easier. They do it to sell more chemicals, specifically roundup. They modified seeds to be able to resist glyphosate, the main ingredient in their baby, roundup. The adverse effects of glyphosate are too numerous to list here. And, the FDA relies on studies conducted by the very companies that profit off of these gmo products.  I don't want to get into politics this early on, but just Google "Monsanto politicians."   Not to mention the connection between Hilary Clinton, Clarence Thomas and Monsanto.  Anyway, the majority of farmers admit to no greater crop yields and eventually have to deal with super weeds that evolve to resist the roundup treatment. I could go on and on, but I think my point has been made.

GMO's have been in the food supply for about 15-20 years.  In that time, there has been a huge increase in the amount of food allergies and "sensitivities".  That can't be a coincidence.  I haven't always avoided GMO's but that's only because I didn't know about them.  Once I found out and did some research, I decided that I would rather avoid that type of food.  To be honest, I feel better than ever.  I'm no poster child for fitness, but I just FEEL better.  At least I am more attentive to what I eat and that is always a good thing.

We need more intelligent conversations about this issue if we want to come to any beneficial conclusion.  And mandatory labeling for products containing GMO's needs to happen.  The problem with that, I feel, is that they are in everything.  That's why the fight for labeling is so intense.  They are everywhere and unless you eat organic or GMO free, chances are, you eat them everyday.