Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How Monsanto's Folly Will Affect Wellfleetians ...

Wellfleet restaurants serve GMOs: True, or False?

I wish the answer were False, but probably all our restaurants serve up a majority of genetically-engineered foods because, right now, around 75% of our processed food is genetically modified. Since there has been no labeling requirement for years, avoiding GMOs is a challenge. Genetically-modified soy, for instance, has won government approval and is taking over. (Next time you buy a soy drink, try to make it an organic one.)

What about farm fresh veggies? Depends on the seeds. I learned from Food Inc. how Monsanto has bought up many American seed companies. Whether we like it or not, most seeds are GMO. There are still some companies out there, taking the Safe Seed Pledge, like Johnny's. For information on how to recognize GMOs at the grocery store, go here. For now, buying organic still works but will it for long?

Yesterday I noticed news on Facebook that the European Union had voted 548 to 84, with 31 abstentions, that member countries should have the right to ban genetically-modified crops for environmental reasons. There was an immediate protest by EuropaBio, a lobbying group representing the likes of Monsanto, Bayer, Novartis, Monsanto Europe, Nestlé, Novo Nordisk, Rhône-Poulenc, and Unilever. These corporations do not approve of such bans because they affect the bottom line. I’m very proud of Europe for having resisted. (You can read more in this BBC report.)

In a cable released by Wikileaks, the world learned how the American ambassador to France attempted to force GMOs on France, threatening “retaliation” if the will of Monsanto was thwarted. Are you proud of shenanigans like this? Me neither.

What’s wrong with GMOs you may ask? Aren’t they the answer to feeding the world? The issue is that adequate testing has not been done. In the laboratory, serious problems have arisen after several generations. Animals fed GMOs develop sterility.

Pediatricians worry about the recent increase in food allergies in kids here and whether this increase may be due to stealth GMOs in the diet of children. Such news is enough to make me want to move back to France, knowing Monsanto has the USA in a death grip and does not intend to let go.

Recently there was a report that GMO crops are killing off monarch butterflies. You would think nature lovers would be out in force, but so far Monsanto, with its numerous lobbyists, has managed to persevere, even placing its own advocates in high-profile jobs in the Obama administration, case in point, Tom Vilsack, Department of Agriculture Secretary.

Thanks to activists, a push for GE salmon was recently defeated, but you can bet the Frankenfish will swim back into Congress next year.

Regulators from 100 countries had reason to celebrate last week when the USA finally agreed to support the labeling of GMOs. Perhaps this is because organic foods in our country are already compromised? From what I understand, a field of organic whatever will be invaded by alien seeds, floating on the wind. Hear it from the mouths of farmers in GM Crops Farmer to Farmer.

GMOs will take over no matter how many petitions we write. This fills me with regret. Great is Monsanto’s folly. But don't take my word for it. Read what Christopher Cook, author of "Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis," has to say on the subject.

If these corporate folks want to eat GMO food, that’s their business, but they should allow the rest of us to grow organic, don’t you think?

(How is this story related to toxic chemicals? GMO crops require more herbicides, including Glyphosate, not less as previously claimed by Monsanto.)

Remember to buy fresh, buy local. Lots of organic foods still
for sale at Hatch's, Wellfleet Marketplace, and our local farmers’ market, open today behind Preservation Hall from 8 to noon. Don’t miss out on meeting the growers who choose non-GMO seeds and the ladies who give their chickens non-GMO feed. We need to patronize this Preservation Hall-endorsed activity if we want it to continue, because there's already controversy in town, and it's not over GMOs. Not yet anyway.

Do you worry about GMOs, or am I alone in this?