Mar 16th, 2007
Genetically Modified (GM) food is some pretty scary stuff. Recently there have been a couple of cases where these crops have turned out to be toxic for consumption. The main company responsible for dolling out GM seeds is Monsanto. They have produced a version of alfalfa that resists their own weed killer "Roundup". A judge has just ordered that the seeds be taken off the market because an environmental study has not been conducted and the pollen from this GM alfalfa may contaminate organic and conventional alfalfa and cause unknown effects.
The really bad news about GM food is that unless you live on a secluded farm and grow your own food…you (we) have been eating this stuff for years. In the United States the USDA does not require these foods to have any special labels that identify they have been genetically modified (unlike Japan and Europe). This article from Time Magazine discusses how difficult it is to ensure "organic" stays organic as farmers battle to keep this GM crap out of their crops.
By Jyoti Thottam- When you buy a gallon of organic milk, you expect to get tasty milk from happy cows who haven’t been subjected to antibiotics, hormones or pesticides. But you might also unknowingly be getting genetically modified cattle feed.
Albert Straus, owner of the Straus Family Creamery in the small northern California town of Marshall, decided to test the feed that he gives his 1,600 cows last year and was alarmed to find that nearly 6% of the organic corn feed he received from suppliers was "contaminated" by genetically modified (GM) organisms. Organic food is, by definition, supposed to be free of genetically modified material, and organic crops are required to be isolated from other crops. But as GM crops become more prevalent, there is little that an organic farmer can do to prevent a speck of GM pollen or a stray GM seed from being blown by the wind onto his land or farm equipment and, eventually, into his products. In 2006, GM crops accounted for 61% of all the corn planted in the U.S. and 89% of all the soybeans. "I feared that there weren’t enough safeguards," Straus says.
So Straus and five other natural food producers, including industry leader Whole Foods, announced last week that they would seek a new certification for their products, "non-GMO verified," in the hopes that it will become a voluntary industry standard for GM-free goods. A non-profit group called the Non-GMO Project runs the program, and the testing is conducted by an outside lab called Genetic ID. In a few weeks, Straus expects to become the first food manufacturer in the country to carry the label in addition to his "organic" one. With Whole Foods in the ring, the rest of the industry will soon be under competitive pressure to follow.
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