It’s everywhere you look: GMOs are the hot topic — the fight for GMO labeling, how to avoid them by scanning the UPC codes, all the lawsuits against farmers, how to tell if your produce has been genetically modified (you can’t!) — it’s everywhere. Now that the hope and promise of GMOs has passed (remember, they were going to increase production, feed the third world, introduce vitamins to starving poulations?) there’s been a real backlash against companies tampering with Naure. And Monsanto, the company most identified with GMO products and lawsuits, is starting to fight back with a new website designed to counter the bad PR and scientific proof that their products are toxic.
As Chris Parker put it in his recent must read Village Voice article, “When you’re good at something, you want to leverage that. Monsanto’s specialty is killing stuff.” So the makers of RoundUp and Agent Orange decided that tinkering with our food supply was a good fit — because injecting an insecticide that kills life right into the food they (and we) want to eat, would save time and money — oh yeah, and it would allow Monsanto to patent and solely distribute the very seeds that used to be available for pennies everywhere.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to tell if the food or produce that you’re eating is a GMO. One of the best resources for non-gmo information, education, and products is The Non-GMO Project, at www.nongmoproject.org. Their mission as a non-profit organization is “preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices.” They offer lists of verified products as well as restaurants and retailers that are no-GMO.
Another good resource is The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) at www.organicconsumer.org. “The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children’s health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. We are the only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation’s estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers.”
The bottom line is that until we have mandatory labeling and a sound verification process in place, the consumer’s best bet is to buy organic produce, ideally from a local farmer’s market where you know the source, and stay away from boxed processed foods that may contain GMOs in their ingredients. Look for green, organic products and vendors that offer green goods and services.