WHAT! WHAT! Where am I? What parallel universe is this? Why is this chicken $6.99/lb compared to $2.99/lb elsewhere? Oh yea that’s right, I am shopping at Whole Food Supermarket. Don’t be alarmed you have to expect prices like that when the companies mission statement is “helping support the health, well-being, and healing”. Whole Foods in the areas that it exists are known to stock items of the healthier spectrum and able to accommodate customers who have dietary restrictions. However that’s not all Whole foods does, if you look closer sometimes the mark up on the items is due to how that product was harvested, grown, fed, and shipped. For instance common phrases you might see on the packaging is “Organic, Grass Fed, Hormone free, No Antibiotics Administered, caged free,” or one in particular “Non-GMO’s / No GMO’s”.
The Acronym GMO’s stand for genetically modified organisms and According to IRT, the Institute of Responsible Technology GMO’s or “is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal”(GMO Education). In addition the IRT states that the genes “may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans”. This is a major issue because the use of genetically modified organisms in crops (GMO’s) introduces new toxins and allergens into our ecosystem thus having damaging effects on health caused by unnatural foods.
There has has been countless case studies trying to debunk the effect of the use of GMO’s French scientist Gilles-Éric Séralini, Dominique Cellier and Joël Spiroux de Vendômois wrote the article “New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity” which tested the effects of specimen GMO corn MON863 on the Rats over a 90day period which reviled several finding. The Séralini, Cellier and Vendômois noted, “(GMOs) cultivated for food or feed is under debate throughout the world, and very little data have been published on mid- or long-term toxicological studies with mammals”(Séralini, Cellier and Vendômois 1). The use of GMO’s is under debate but not banned for use. Further more research after a 90-day trial it was concluded that “Longer experiments are essential in order to indicate the real nature and extent of the possible pathology; with the present data it cannot be concluded that GMO corn MON863 is a safe product” (Séralini, Cellier and Vendômois 1). The test shows growth for both sexes, resulting in 3.3% decrease in weight for males and 3.7% increase for females within several days.
John B. Fagan, Ph.D. a Professor of Molecular Biology at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa has several fears correlating with the use of GMOs’. First being, the damaging effects on health caused by unnatural foods, 2) Increased use of chemicals on crops, resulting in increased contamination of our water supply and food, and 3) the spread of diseases across species barriers (Bogart ).
Fagan says, “Genetically engineered foods are being introduced without due regard for health, yet many damaging effects will be irreversible” however Fagan also suggest the following solutions until a permanent answer is found.
- Any food produced through genetic engineering should be banned until scientifically shown to be safe and safe for everyone. (Bogart 1)
- Labeling should be required for any food that contains even one genetically engineered ingredient, or that has been produced using genetically modified organisms or enzymes. (Bogart 1)
- Full disclosure labeling will allow consumers to choose what they eat. It will also help scientists trace the source of health problems arising from these foods. (Bogart 1)
From what I can see the transition from GMO’s too naturally grown produce will be a difficult one, the cost of producing are natural without the additives of any other unnatural substance can be costly. The best thing that can be done is raise the awareness of the American people informing them about the substances in their food, teaching them about the potential health risks. After enough awareness and in the declining sales food manufacturers would be forced to change their harvesting practices to better accommodate their customers.
Bogart, W. V. (2001). Using the Internet for A Global Information Seeking Approach for The Long Term Survival of Humanity and the Eco-System. Retrieved 2 14, 2015, from http://www.earthportals.com: http://www.earthportals.com/geneticfood.html
McDermott, M. (201110 12). What Are GMOs & How Many US Foods Contain Them? (Infographic). Retrieved 2 14, 2015, from Treehugger.com: http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/what-are-gmos-how-many-us-foods-contain-them-infographic.html
GMO Education. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-education
Séralini, G., Cellier, D., & Vendomois, J. (2007, May 1). New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00244-006-0149-5
How to Shop if Avoiding GMOs l Whole Story l Whole Foods Market. (2014, September 12). Retrieved February 14, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YasosMF4yDA