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Nov-01-2010 23:43printcomments

The GMO Elephant in the Room - from the Trenches of America's Hidden Food War

Many scientists, farmers, pure food activists and a few brave politicians want you to know that it’s not too late to turn it around and recapture our agricultural heritage before the food ship sinks.

GMO tomatoes

(SALEM, Ore.) - A large grass-roots movement is diligently advocating for your right to pure non-genetically modified food and honest labeling. In most states, you won’t see their name on any ballot, nor will you see them on TV amidst economic crisis and Middle East talks.

Sen. Ron Wyden & Sen. Jeff Merkley

In a rare, but impervious display of integrity, several state senators have urged the Food and Drug Administration to stop the approval process for genetically modified salmon, including Oregon’s very own Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

Many of our pure food advocates feel dismayed, because they're always preaching to the choir from the trenches of the infinite battle. They commonly take every opportunity to educate the public and everyone they know about the dangers of the GMO industrial food chain. This faction of society is working to educate the public, as quickly as possible, while holding off the big dogs in court by the skin of their teeth.

Courtesy: Earth First!

Food advocates aren’t embraced by any political party and they haven’t been invited to any tea parties either, although I’m not sure why the tea touting conservatives haven’t jumped out of their skins to beat the bandwagon to protect our agricultural heritage, farmer’s rights and America’s liberties.

It’s tough trying to educate a public that doesn’t seem all that interested in examining their consumption habits. Many people don’t want to know what they don’t know, possibly because they think it’s going to be too hard or it’s hopeless to change how and what they consume. It’s a very personal subject, and people can get awful touchy about their food. That’s why it’s so important to wake up and realize that the food supply no longer resembles what our Grandparents ate. Our parents weren’t raised on the food we’re feeding our children and depending on your age, neither were you.

Genetically modified food is a fairly recent development introduced into the food supply without our permission, consent or notification. We haven’t been given any opportunity to object to our forced subjection by a man-made mutant organism inundated throughout our food supply. They are violating the genetic keys of life by crossing barriers of species and entire kingdoms to recreate what is naturally, already perfectly balanced.

Perhaps a new plague will result. Who knows? They don’t, and our faith in them is misguided. They have no interest to serve but the almighty dollar. You can consider Washington the corporate mother, she protects her own. She by no means, represents Mother America, Mother Earth, nor its people. The people have been led astray, like little cloned sheep. We have been misled by Washington, the media and American corporations with regard to consumer safety and the environmental impact of GMO crops.

Consumer advocates anticipate the awareness as it unfolds, with Americans awakening to the fact that our federal government has failed to protect our safety and our right to know what we are eating and feeding our families. Our favorite products are not the same as they were 15 years ago and they only resemble what mama used to make.

The producers hope you won’t notice that they have slowly injected about 80 percent of your diet with genetically engineered soy, corn, canola and a host of other genetic re-creations.

It is not known what the “genetic Rubik’s Cube” will do to us, or the environment. They don’t know how genetic restructuring will affect the long term health of infants, children or your grandma. They do know, however that lab tests on animals fed a variety of GMO foods demonstrated alarming health effects.

Genetically engineered food is not being labeled for two reasons. One, you probably wouldn’t buy it. And two, if you can’t track it, you can’t control it; meaning you don’t have any idea how much of it is in your diet. You, therefore don’t know what products may be causing health problems. You could limit them or adjust your intake to see if there‘s a pattern, but how can you limit unknown ingredients? Without labels, there’s no way of knowing, unless you choose organic. Organic standards prohibit the use of genetically engineered ingredients. My personal experience and a lot of other testimonials will vouch for the incredible results of cleansing your diet of genetically engineered, pesticide laden foods. We’ve had everything to lose from weight and allergies, chronic disease and even behavioral challenges with our children, or so I’ve seen.

Slight of Hand

In September, the FDA Panel of Veterinary Medicine held hearings on whether to allow genetically engineered salmon to be put on the market for public consumption.

The re-developed “salmon” grows twice as fast and makes twice the money. For the moment, they‘ve decided, not to decide. GE salmon is viewed by the FDA as a new animal drug.

The process doesn’t look at what happens to consumers who eat the GE organism. Discussions have taken place behind closed doors and AquaBounty Technologies can classify much of their research and data as confidential. The FDA didn’t evaluate the human impact of the growth hormone because it has a patented design.

They say the fish is not any different from nature’s salmon and therefore it would be deceiving to inform the consumers and so product labeling will be non-existent. In order to get a patent on a product, it has to be different from everything else on the market.

Yet, they claim that genetically engineered products are not any different and therefore they need no regulation or labeling. Either they’re different, or they’re not. You can’t have it both ways (unless you can pay for it).

Twist of Fate

Margaret Hamburg

Mark Begich

Critics, including groups like Consumer’s Union, the Center for Food Safety and Food & Water Watch, say the Aqua Bounty has not done sufficient studies to prove the fish is safe.

They also criticize the FDA for allowing only 14 days for the public review even though the company submitted its bid more than a decade ago.

The good news is that several senators have come out in defense of public safety, including Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

They are led by Alaska Democrat Mark Begich who told FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg that the agency is using the wrong process for evaluating the safety of the modified fish and that the public is being left out.

Other senators who signed the protest letter were Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska,
Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Jon Tester, D-Mont. and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Many scientists, farmers, pure food activists and a few brave politicians want you to know that it’s not too late to turn it around and recapture our agricultural heritage before the food ship sinks. I don’t want to be “chicken little” about it, but the sky is rapidly collapsing around GMO proponents and their back alley science. Scientists that have discovered GMO’s damaging results have been fired or otherwise silenced, due to large amounts of political pressure, although the tides are changing.

Snake Oil

Farmers all over the world, and particularly in Iowa, are awakening to the notion that the snake oil salesman got their tongue. They have been bullied into a corner and have discovered that their once fertile soil has become dead of nutrients, polluted and rocky with widespread water contamination. They have to use increasing amounts of pesticides because pests and weeds have built up tolerance and it takes more water to maintain their crops. To make matters worse, the seeds are more expensive and have a built in suicide gene, meaning they can’t be harvested to plant next year’s crop. If crops fail in the meantime, the farmer is out of luck. No crops, no seed, no money and ultimately no land.

In the not so distant past, our farmers had generations of seeds developed and saved by their grandfathers, and their grandfather’s grandfather. It is our agricultural history, it is our American legacy, and it is our right. Clean food and water should be a right, not a privilege. The move toward industrialized genetically engineered nutrition is not sound science, but merely tomfoolery. It will not feed the world and it is not common sense.

There are many ways that you, as a consumer, can make the difference. You can start by purchasing food from local growers and producers, buy organic when you can, call or write your favorite products and your political servants. Tell them to stop using genetically engineered ingredients. You are paying them, they need you. They are not leaders, they are followers and they will follow your money.

April Scott has been an avid writer since she learned how to spell. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology with a minor in Radio-Television from Eastern Washington University. Her media career began at KXLY (Spokane, Wa) in 1996. She produced several popular talk shows on AM 920 including “All About Crime” with host Mark Fuhrman. April also produced the highly successful Rick Miller show, while simultaneously developing a successful career in ad sales and copywriting for Rock 94.5, another KXLY station.

In 2002 she worked as a copywriter and online editor for KATU News (Portland). She is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and experience, and hopes that by educating people about the chemical content in our modern food supply, they will become smarter consumers.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Lu Jasperson November 8, 2010 9:03 am (Pacific time)

I'm worried if the bill S510 is passed that will be a big problem for those of us who try and grow our own food....

Terry November 8, 2010 10:38 am (Pacific time)

Great article April, this is important and you are providing information that can be used the world over.

JumpyJoe November 7, 2010 9:51 am (Pacific time)

Just want to point out that Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are U.S. Senators, not state senators.

 Editor: I have known both for several years and should have caught that.

Also, big grammar error that indicates a total lack of editorial supervision: "...because their always preaching to the choir...". Ouch, that hurts my brain, but I'll keep reading.

Editor: I appreciate constructive criticism, I manage the contributions almost 70 writers and endless news releases and the hours are long.  Yes, big error on my part, 

Do our U.S. Senators support the research at OSU, much of which may be considered genetic modification? They do and they should continue to do so.

You wonder why populist conservatives and libertarians don't join you in your battle, but they have. I recall much of this being discussed during Ron Paul's run for president. The issue has gone to the backburner due to the economy, but it will be back and the far Left and populist Right will hold similar positions, but will not want to work with each other out of spite.

So civilization will come to an end because so many of us hold grudges and can't work together.

Le fin.

France Belfast/Bend OR November 5, 2010 11:27 pm (Pacific time)

I have been spreading the word about how dangerous and bad GM food is for us. I am so happy to read this article.It's a tough fight, but it can be won through awareness. Many do not know. I want to do my part in Central Oregon.

Editor:Glad to read this, you could help Bend a lot, thanks for writing.


stephen November 1, 2010 4:57 pm (Pacific time)

Here Molly, think u will like this.

Molly November 1, 2010 3:17 pm (Pacific time)

I would LOVE to have this article as a handout! I'd give it to everyone I know!

Editor: Well Molly, we are here to reach people, so if you have the inclination to print it and pass it out, please do!

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