I recently watched The Future of Food with my husband. In this harrowing documentary, I learned not only about Genetically Modified foods (something I try to stay far away from!) and about how other countries are going to “watch our children” over the next ten years to see what the effects of eating GM foods are, but also about how most seed, most packaged food, and most grocery stores are all owned by very few giant companies. America’s search for efficiency has cost us in diversity.
Probably the scariest fact in the documentary was that companies are now patenting LIFE. In the past, people could only patent things. Now, major companies are patenting seeds, claiming that their GM seeds are different enough to be patented, but the same enough to not need any safety tests done on them. These major companies have multiple ties to the US government, which I am sure is part of the reason their stupid reasoning wins out over the American People’s distrust over GM food.
Completely unrelated to food, this documentary brought up the fact that one company actually patented one of the breast cancer genes, which means that countless scientists who had been studying the gene beforehand are not allowed to anymore unless they pay (literally) sky-high royalties to the company owning the gene. Maybe this is why we have no cure for Breast Cancer? It all lies in corporate greed.
Another scary fact I learned is that, although GM seed companies such as Monsanto claim that GM will feed the worlds hungry, it is actually the reverse from true. In reality, GM has caused numerous problems in our nation, Canada, and Mexico already because if any of the GM seeds blow into a farmers yard, the company owning the patent sues them and “owns” the plants. Additionally, the government is a co-owner of a terminator gene that causes plants to produce useless seeds after the first planting. This puts a lot of money in the very few seed-makers pockets and takes even more away from our farmers. However, this could be absolutely detrimental if any of the seed ended up in third world countries. As we learned earlier in the documentary, the seeds cannot be contained.
My opinion: our government of the people, FOR the people, should not use us as lab rats just because they and big companies (with major links to the government) want to make money or be the “first” in the world to create something. We do not yet know what the ramifications of GM foods are, but certain animal studies look very messy. The government is not conducting its own studies on the safety of GM foods, and the seed creators do not mandatorily need to conduct safety studies. The few that have been done look pretty messy and point to how unsafe GM food is at least in rats.
So–how do you know if you are eating GM food? Sorry, no way to tell. Your safest bet is to eat all organics if you want to stay away from GM foods, but as I stated earlier in the post, seeds float, so you may get a small amount of GM food even in your organics, because farmers cannot tell the difference between a GM canola or wheat plant and a regular one.
Because GM food is unmarked, you don’t know if an ingredient in your Quaker Oats or Nabisco cookies is GM. Many natural/organic companies, however, tell you that their products do not contain GM foods. If a company cannot/does not state this on their box, you may want to question it. Us here in the Seattle area are very lucky–we have PCC Natural Markets, who vow to never carry anything Genetically Modified.
I think this documentary is worth a watch for anyone who cares about their health, the state of their nation, and what their government is up to.