By Danette Vernon
Wayne Dyer, noted philosopher, made the statement, “What you are against, weakens you, what you are for, strengthens you.”
I am for the labeling of Genetically Modified foods, as only then will the public realize how pervasive is the practice of inserting other life-forms into our food — right or wrong. And it’s not just corn.
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, cows, pigs, farmed fish, and chickens are given GMO corn, soy, and wheat as feed, so even the meat you eat may contain Genetically Modified material. Next on the list are zucchini, squash, and canola; as in canola oil. In addition, cottonseed oil, which is now a predominantly GMO crop, is used for margarines, fat hardening, and is the most commonly used oil for potato chip frying. Finally, 80-85 % of all corn grown in the United States is Genetically Modified, and not only is corn in cereal, chips, and high fructose corn syrup, but corn-derivatives are also found in breads, granola bars, pastries, soft drinks, jams, jellies, ice cream, and ketchup. And even those odd ingredients on the back of the label, like dextrose, hydrolyzed protein, maltose, maltodextrin and modified food starch, are all items that may indicate the presence of corn.
The conclusion you could reach from the list provided above, is that Genetically Modified foods, which didn’t even exist before the mid-90s, are now an invasive element in the food that you consume on an everyday basis.
It’s up to you to decide what camp of evidence you attend to when it comes to Genetically Modified foods, but I would admit right here, that what has secretly driven this series is not GM food and the possible consequences of eating it. For me, it’s always been about the farmers.
You see, if my grandfather was still planting that sea of green organic corn, and his neighbor was growing GMO corn across the road (or even on the other side of a buffer zone), this is what could happen, might happen, one breezy summer day — cross pollination.
If pollen from the GMO corn blew into my grandfather’s field, and it tainted my grandfather’s organic corn, well, ‘tainted’ would not be how one of Monsanto’s field agents would look at it. Monsanto’s agent, after proper testing, would see to it that my grandfather would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law — for patent infringement.
And if I think of my grandparents at 60, the age that they are the clearest and the strongest in my mind, sitting at their kitchen table, fingers already gnarled and swollen from arthritis, reading through the latest injunction against them by Monsanto, I struggle with how perverse that would be. And I wouldn’t understand at age 10, or as a woman of 52, why my grandfather couldn’t just as easily sue Monsanto for “non-containment” of their product, and win — but it doesn’t happen, not in the United States.
But someone is fighting for the farmers of the United States. The Public Patent Foundation, Representing the Public’s Interest in the Patent System, filed suit preemptively in 2011, “on behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations … against Monsanto Company to challenge the chemical giant’s patents on genetically modified seed.” Plaintiff, Jim Gerritsen, a family farmer in Maine who raises organic seed and is President of lead plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association based in Montrose, Colorado, said, “Today is Independence Day for America. Today we are seeking protection from the Court and putting Monsanto on notice. Monsanto’s threats and abuse of family farmers stops here. Monsanto’s genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now. Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace to decide what kind of food they will feed their families — and we are taking this action on their behalf to protect that right to choose. Organic farmers have the right to raise our organic crops for our families and our customers on our farms without the threat of invasion by Monsanto’s genetic contamination and without harassment by a reckless polluter. Beginning today, America asserts her right to justice and pure food.” This suit was dismissed due to its “preemptive” nature, and is currently in the appeal process.
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