When you think of the words ‘bioengineering’ or ‘biotechnology’, does the produce section or cereal isle of your grocery store come to mind?
It should, as these are terms referring to GMO, or Genetically Modified Organisms.
GMO foods are those that have had their genetic make-up, their very DNA, altered to become a scientific creation. The expanding list includes fruits, vegetables, sugar cane, soy beans and seeds.
The reasons for their creation vary, but can come down to maximising profit with little regard to human health – and they have already infiltrated the global food supply.
One example is a variety of corn, the second largest GMO crop, which has been modified to withstand a toxic chemical pesticide developed by the same company who has a patent on the corn, and who is also responsible for making the Vietnam War-era Agent Orange.
If you think you don’t eat much corn, you probably eat more than you think.
Corn, in the form of corn syrup, is the main ingredient in nearly all processed food – that’s basically anything in a crinkly wrapper. This includes your favourite cereal, candy bar, ketchup, crackers, cookies, sodas and even in baby formulas. Read the ingredient label and see for yourself.
What is wrong with a little bit of DNA tampering, you say? Is this just all tree-hugging nonsense?
Well if there was nothing to worry about, would the EU have a mandatory labelling law? (Tellingly, GMO-friendly America has none).
Many scientific studies have been carried out linking GMO food with health problems, not to mention the longterm unknown factors. For example: a study by the International Journal of Biological Sciences found a link between GMO corn and organ damage.
So what is next on the GMO menu after corn? That would be the ‘Frankenfish’ – a GMO salmon currently awaiting FDA approval in the US that is nearly twice the size of its wild cousin.
Sylvie Yaffe is the founder of Good Karma Online Health Food Store and consults about vegan raw cuisine and health food, as well as writing a regular column for The Phuket News. For more information, visit healthfoodthailand.com