What’s up with genetically modified food | VailDaily.com

What’s up with genetically modified food

Dana Jurich

Last night was my 25th birthday, and my sweetheart and I dined by the beach in the small town in which we are staying. The barbecued crab I enjoyed for dinner was so fresh, it had been harvested out of the ocean that very morning before landing on my plate. It was by far the most delicious, buttery crabmeat I have ever consumed. The corn on the cob and baked potato that accompanied it were equally delicious, and as I ate them, the strangest thoughts popped into my head. I wondered to myself, and eventually aloud, if these agricultural products had come from very far away. Obviously they had been brought via long-tail boat from the next town over, which was considerably larger than our tiny village, but how far did they travel to get to my plate? This evolved into pondering the possibility of these products being genetically modified. If I were somewhere in America, anywhere for that matter, the answer would most definitely be yes. Were I enjoying this fabulous meal in the States, not only would my corn and potato be genetically altered, but it would also have been grown with the aid of pesticides, herbicides and other noxious chemicals. They also would more likely than not been the product of seeds provided by the agricultural giant in America, Monsanto. It is possible that they were grown with their seeds here, too. Monsanto, having all but monopolized the agricultural market in the states, has reached its tentacles far beyond the mighty Pacific. Boasting involvement in 46 countries around the globe, Monsanto is quite literally telling us what we should eat. The bummer part of that is we almost have no choice any more as to what goes down our gullets. We have become the human guinea pigs for growers and developers of genetically modified foods (GMF’s). If they had their way, every farmer on our small planet would be buying Monsanto’s “Terminator seeds” and reaping the benefits of these lab-created foods.You’ll read quotes and stats from various higher-ups who are involved in the food business, professing how this new-ish method of farming is saving space while increasing production with no side effects to speak of. What they aren’t telling you is that they have never even attempted to study them, and provide no answers for the public as to why we are getting sicker and sicker. They also aren’t telling us that Europe, Japan and other countries have refused to import or grow them, stating that they are untrustworthy and need further research. The United States’ reply was a lawsuit against the EU, claiming that they must take them, that they need them, and that they are causing a major loss in sales. They claimed that they should be compensated $1.8 billion dollars a year in lost revenue. Africa doesn’t even want them, but are forced to take them since the HIV drugs and the GMF’s we’re giving them is a package deal. There was a huge controversy lately involving Zambia, whose people are starving, but which refused American aid because it was in the form of GMF products. It seems funny to me that an entire continent that is on the brink of starvation refuses to eat the food we offer them, the food we wealthy Americans eat on a daily basis. There is something terribly wrong with this picture.The connection is obvious to me, but not to enough people to do something about it. We Americans have the highest rate of cancer in the world. We are also one of the wealthiest, and obese. It deeply concerns me that we, as the American public, have yet to make the connection between what we eat and what we have become. No one seems concerned anymore about what passes through their lips, and now we are paying the price. Here, in Thailand, everything is fresh, and everyone is healthy. I have yet to see an obese Siamese here, and I am convinced we can learn a thing or two from these people. Back home, in Vail and other parts of the country, the food we eat on a daily basis has traveled (on average) 1,500 miles to reach your mouth. Much of it comes from across the southern border, where pesticides that have been outlawed by our FDA are still in use in Mexico. We then proceed to purchase these crops from them for dirt cheap, and bring them back up here, skirting the issue of dangerous chemicals entirely. The scope of the food issue is broad, and very deep, requiring much more info than I can deliver this week to you, my friend. Consider this your homework assignment: look into the Genetically Modified Foods issue. Its much more horrifying and corrupt than what meets the eye. I am simultaneously encouraging you to start reading labels. If it doesn’t say “non-GMF,” then it is fake food. Dana Jurich of Avon writes a weekly column for the Daily. Send comments or questions to editor@vaildaily.com.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism