Why You Should Care About GMO Labels

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism and it’s getting into just about everything these days.  Back in the day, I remember when Dolly, the sheep, incurred a huge public debate about the ethics of genetic testing and what it really meant.  When McDonald’s tried to use GMO potatoes in their french fries, people became unglued and McDonald’s had to rescind the potato orders (also known as Frankenfries).  Now, because there’s no labelling to warn people, Monsanto is targeting 10 million acres of GMO foods for 2012.

As a Mom, I am the individual who determines what goes into my child’s mouth.  Maybe not everything, especially with an nine month old who finds everything I’ve ever dropped on the kitchen floor.  Anyways, I’ve made a conscious effort to make my baby’s food using organic food (It’s easier than I thought!  Check it out here and here) to watch what I put in her mouth (and subsequently my own because I’m breastfeeding).  While I’m certainly no expert, I wanted to inform myself so I began to read up on GMO’s and Monsanto, the company that produces the seeds.

You probably think I’m some wacky tree hugger, but that’s not the case.   I’m just a Mom who cares about what kind of food goes into my families mouth.  In addition, I want to make sure that as a consumer, I have a choice as to what I feed my family.  How can I live Caveat Emptor if I don’t even have a fighting chance?

Here’s why I want the option to choose:

1.  GMO foods are not scientifically proven
The real answer is no one knows what GMO will do to your body.  Without proper labelling, we haven’t been able to track if there is a link between GMO and health impacts (from PBS link)  The FDA has considered GMO foods in the category of GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe).  However preliminary testing is coming back that shows a significant issues with kidneys & livers.  There are some test results indicating that glucose and nut allergies in your body are a result of GMO foods. 
Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe To Eat?
PBS: Harvest of Fear
Spilling the Beans:  GMO Health Risks

2.  The companies (who produce GMO) don’t care, really.
If they really proud of their product, wouldn’t they slap it all over their products?  You bet they would, but they don’t label their products accordingly.  “They” say it would be too expensive, which it would be, but keep in mind how much agricultural industries spend a year to get you to drink Milk or eat Beef.  Come on, if they were really proud of GMO, you know that word would be plastered over every single product that was GMO. 
3.  It promotes poverty
I have been making conscious and economic decisions to purchase food that is supported by the Fair Trade which gives better rates to farmers.  Monsanto seeds don’t reproduce, that’s how they make a profit and get farmers to come back for more seeds.  As a result, many farmers in India and around the world are actually having to spend more money to keep purchasing Monsanto seeds and pay the dividend they require.  So what are these poor farmers doing?  They are committing suicide because the financial loss is so devastating.

4.  Europe is already there
The European Union is very strict and requires labeling on all GMO foods.  Why? Because they already know the negative impacts GMO foods have on farmers and on your bodd.  Many countries from Europe won’t accept any GMO farming or any GMO foods to be exported in. 

What Can I do?
An old monk was asked once, “What can I do to change the world?”  He replied, “Pick up the trash on your own street.”

1.  Support Organic, Local farmers
This is so good on so many levels.  It promotes local economy, supports your local farmer who cares about biodiversity, and you get good, healthy food.  It’s not as expensive as you think to purchase from a  farmer’s market. 

2. Grow Your Own Garden
If you think buying organic is expensive, then grow your own garden because its way cheaper.  New at Gardens or Don’t have the space … I’ll bet you’ll be great!

It can get expensive, I know, so try a few organic things in your cart instead of going all out. 

3.  Find out what your state is doing and Take Action.

4.  Tell your Grocer
Whole Foods is one grocer that is beginning to label products with a GMO label (check the 365 label), but even they have fallen to the giant that is GMO.

5.  Eat Healthy
Almost all High Fructose Corn Syrup is made from genetically modified corn.  This is a tough one for me too.  It’s getting harder and harder to just avoid certain foods and certain companies.  They are now feeding GMO alfalfa to many cows, chickens, and pigs which ends up in your chicken, eggs, beef, and pork products.

I am making a pledge to purchase from a local butcher for all our meat (who buy cows from local ranchers not corporations and to buy what I can from Farmer’s Market.  I get my meat from Bill the Butcher in Redmond and I get all my produce from Full Circle, a local company that delivers organic fruits and vegetables.

But does doing any of this stuff really work?  You bet it does.  Your money and your voice count.  These companies don’t want you to know about the genetic engineering with proper labeling because its a marketing nightmare (see McDonalds and FrankenFries) Sending an email is so easy, it’s ridiculous.  Don’t be apathetic, the big honchos are counting on you to sit back and eat whatever they put in front of you. 

Support GMO labeling, give us all a chance to make our own choices and live the true value of Caveat Emptor!  Do you think we should label GMO’s or not?  I would love to hear from you. 

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  1. Very informative post!! I have to say it scares to read about this…we really DON'T know what is going in our food!!

  2. Very informative post!! I have to say it scares to read about this…we really DON'T know what is going in our food!!

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