There was an article in the paper yesterday about the California initiative concerning the resolution on the ballot in November to have foods labels GMO. In fact, the label would say “Partially produced with genetic engineering.” What exactly does this mean?
The Agribusiness giants PepsiCo, Nestle, and Coca-Cola are opposing this measure. They say that the benefits of genetically engineered foods are greater than any risk. I am not sure I agree with them. One example of bioengineering is Aqua Bounty salmon. The so-called ‘frankinfish’ can survive in colder water longer. The developers say that this fish is safe to eat, but the opponents say that this fish, “according to the evidence, their buff salmon might have higher levels of a cancer promoting hormone IGF-1, more antibiotics, and more of a potentially life-threatening allergen(s).” I certainly agree that we need to be aware if we are eating genetically modified foods. The research further states that this “GM salmon’s nutritional value, has the lowest omega-3 to omega-6 value of all the salmon studied, while also having 20 to 52 percent higher allergenic potency than normal salmon, increasing your chances of having a potentially deadly allergic reaction.” Tell me again why I need to buy this? Don’t I have the right to know what I am getting in a restaurant?
Bob Goldberg, a molecular biologist who is a professor at UCLA makes this statement concerning bioengineered crops: “I’ve been testing them for over 40 years. They’re like the Model T Ford. There is not one credible scientist working on this that would call it unsafe.” However, that does not hold up under scrutiny. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has condemned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and urged all physicians to prescribe non-GMO diets. “GMO-Free” is one of the fastest growing health claims among US brands for the past two years, and a tipping point of consumer rejection of all GE ingredients appears to be just over the horizon.”
As you can imagine, there is a good deal of angst concerning the extra paperwork, and the potential lawsuits if restaurants continue to sell its patrons GMOs. They obviously have a dog in the fight. However, you and I are ultimately responsible for our own health. It is our right to know the origins of the foods we are consuming, and it is our right to insist on the freshest, most natural, most organic foods we can buy.
Research it yourself, stay informed.
Until next time,
The Houston Chronicle, Sunday, August 12, 2010