I will admit, it wasn’t until recently that GMO foods came onto my radar. I was blissfully ignorant to the entire situation, trusting the foods I picked up in the grocery store. I hadn’t even paid enough attention to have heard the term “genetically modified” much less research it and make an educated decision for myself and my family. When I did hear it the first time, a little red flag popped up in my head, this is not something I want for my family if it’s as bad as it sounds.
At first google, it seemed like a fancy name for making our foods healthier for us. Time and again, I’d see references to “reducing the dependence on chemicals in agriculture.” Well heck, that sounds like a great idea! I’m all about reducing the chemicals used on crops that will someday become our food!
Once upon a time, I heard a quote that if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it. I fully admit that we’re not there yet, I’m still trying to find a way to eat healthy on a small budget, but we’re working on it. The one thing that seems worse to me than looking at the side of the box and seeing the additives and preservatives so I can make a choice on whether or not to feed that to my children is having no clue of what’s in my food. Thanks to California Right to Know, there is hope that a day will come when we will know if our foods contain GMO products.
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GMO isn’t a Produce Aisle Problem
When you stop in the produce aisle, you may have noticed that all of the fruits and vegetables have a sticker with a number on it. That’s not just to tell the cashier what to ring up, it’s a key to knowing your food. If it’s a five digit code beginning with a 9, you know it’s organic.
For a while know, it’s been floating around that if it’s a five digit number starting with an 8, you should steer clear because it’s genetically-modified. That’s probably been pretty easy to do since that’s not a requirement, that’s an optional marking, and most companies aren’t going to flag their food as something that most Americans would avoid if given the choice. So, they just don’t mark it and consumers who believe what they have heard stroll the aisles, blissfully ignorant.
But the concern for GMO foods doesn’t stop once you get out of the produce aisle. In some ways, it’s just starting! In the meat department, not only do you have to worry about whether or not the foods you’re eating contain artificial hormones (have you ever wondered just where they get the chickens that wind up in the bags of frozen chicken breasts? I know I wouldn’t want to fight them!) to increase their size, but you have to worry about what genetically engineered crops have been fed to the animals.
When you get to the prepared foods section, how do you know if those foods were produced with crops which were engineered? You don’t.
On to the drinks aisle. Aspartame and other chemicals should scare you, but what about the sweeteners?
While I’m not an expert and I know I have much left to learn, I can’t help but feel like this is an area where we’re all having the wool pulled over our eyes. And I can’t help but feel like corporations like Monsanto think along the same lines as my six year old: if we don’t talk about it, the problem will just go away. I don’t let her get away with it, and I don’t think we should let big corporations should get away with it either. If it’s not dangerous, prove it. At that point, it wouldn’t matter if they’re required to mark the foods because they would have proven that it’s not a danger. The problem is, can they prove that?
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As part of my effort to educate myself, I have joined the Official LabelGMOs Blogger Team. If you believe that we have the right to know what we’re eating, please consider joining as well!