Monday, March 30, 2015

Are you aware you are consuming GMOs everday?

I woke up in a confused state of mind today. How you start your mornings defines to a large extent how the day will go by. Mine seems to be going tough. The reason - I don't know if what I am eating and feeding my family is healthy. The reason for not knowing is the unethical approval and non-branding of products containing GMO, edible and otherwise that I use everyday.

Living in a developed country makes you feel that what you are eating is edible and approved by the FDA to maintain the health standards of the country. But it is not the case. Food contamination is occurring in newer forms these days, with the appearance of genetically modified products in the market.

I was naive to think that foods and other products that contain GMO (genetically modified organisms) are labelled for the consumer so that s/he can make an informed choice. But sadly, the proponents of biotechnology have successfully lobbied against the labeling. As a result, we do not know whether we are consuming something that is 'natural' or something that is 'genetically engineered'.

Did you buy GMOs today?

The other day, while watching the Dr. Oz show, I found out that the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) has approved the production of Arctic Apples - the first genetically modified apple that will not turn brown when sliced. I wondered why this was needed. Is aesthetics more important than health? Is it worth to trade health for beauty? Those who claim that no harm is done to the consumer should question themselves again. Our entire nature is being polluted.

GMOs are all about manipulation. When the gene of a living organism is artificially modified and when such living organism is used to further mutate the genetic structure of the plant, it causes an unnatural balance. Use of GMOs also increases the utilization of harmful herbicides and insecticides which further create herbicide-resistant 'super weeds' and 'super bugs'. When I read all this, I wonder how the brain of scientists functions. First, with their experiments, they play with nature. Then, they produce things that are 'engineered' and pose health hazards as well as threats to nature. Then, they get busy in finding solutions to these hazards that they made with their own hands. It is like running in a circle of absurdity, surreal and treacherous.

I was surprised to learn that 80% of the things we eat and use everyday have been genetically modified. And it is not mandatory in US to label products if they have GMO. So, most of the cooking oils that we use have GMO. The crops that have most commercial usage, like corn and soybean, fruits like papaya, vegetables like squash and zucchini have all been genetically engineered. Processed foods containing ascorbic acid, citric acid, food flavorings, vitamins, xanthan gum, high fructose corn syrup, yeast products - they all contain GMOs.

I am stunned. I thought that being a vegetarian, and filling my platter with fruits and vegetables made be less prone to disease. But I have to dig deeper and find out a non-GMO alternative to whatever I eat. I feel happy if food does not spoil easily and has a longer shelf-life. But if that is because of some genetic manipulation, I would rather discard it. I am ready to take multiple trips to the market to buy fresh fruit and vegetable everyday rather than stock up my refrigerator with 'artificial' foods.

The easiest, though expensive, solution to this big problem is to go organic. I had debated long over the 'nutritional' benefits of organic products. Even the kids' pediatrician was double-minded over this one. But after doing my own reading, I feel that I should start afresh.

GMOs have to be countered by another GMO - Get More Organic.
Also google for the Non-GMO products and brands and start making gradual changes.

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  1. I too agree about the absurdity of manufacturers not having to label whether their products contain GMOs. The costumers have a right to know about what they are consuming.
    I like how you covered the issue of superbugs in this article. Most people don't link GMOs to them; they think that superbacteria are just associated with improper use of antibiotics and I don't think they often make the connection to GMOs.

    1. yes Sri.....people do think about stuff that should not be on their plates but sometimes they don't have full knowledge about what harm these things do....thanks for sharing your thoughts...not labeling GMO products is a sad reality in US.....