In GMO Land, Halloween Comes Everyday!

Happy Non-GMO Month, fellow Frankenfood Fighters!  With Prop 37 (the label GMO bill) on the November ballot in California, the entire nation has been witness to the battle between real food lovers and Big Ag.  This makes Prop 37 even more fabulous, because all this pro- and anti-GMO campaigning has drawn a lot of attention to this issue and clued a lot of people in on the fact that this is an issue.  Even political comedian and talk show host Bill Maher has entered the GMO debate.  (If you’ve never seen his show, I highly recommend it.  Check it out on HBO or on HBO’s website.)  He’s talked a little about the subject with the new Hulk Mark Ruffalo, and last week he sat down with Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Farms and chair of Just Label It.  To sum up Maher’s pov: “Fucking Monsanto…  I mean, on a scale of 10 to 11, evil being 10, fucking evil being 11, they’re an 11.”  Bill Maher, I love you.

But let’s get serious, because this issue is serious.  In my opinion, the GMO debate is one of the most important political/social debates of our lifetime, possibly of both the past and present century.  Although I’ve talked about the dangers of GMOs before, I want to get a little more in depth, seeing as how October is Non-GMO Month.  For those of you who know GMOs are bad but aren’t exactly sure why, listen up.  GMOs are generally created to allow crops to be more resistant to herbicides and pesticides, and sometimes to produce these chemicals themselves.  This is done by splicing genes from animals or other plants into the crops rather than cross-breeding species naturally.  So basically, GMOs exists so that “fucking evil” companies like Monsanto, Dow, and Dupont can sell you seeds that are resistant to chemical herbicides and pesticides sold by, shockingly, the same companies.  So not only is the food they produced GMOed, but it’s laden with pesticides that cause sterility, birth defects, and cancer… Not to mention all the awful environmental effects, such as groundwater contamination, animal exposure, bee colony destruction, organic crop contamination…  Sorry for all the ellipses, but these lists could take up a lot of html.

So what exactly do GMOs do to our bodies?  If you visit Monsanto’s website and watch their charming “Who We Are” video, you would think that GMO crops are the tools we need to save the world.  But in reality, genetically modified foods come with a long list of side effects.  In his well-known paper “The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science” published in 2009, agro-ecologist Don Lotter admitted that:

The promoter gene used in genetically engineered crops, the cauliflower mosaic virus, is a powerful promoter of inter-species gene exchange. Scientists thought it would be denatured in our digestive system, but it’s not. It has been shown to promote the transfer of transgenes from GM foods to the bacteria within our digestive system, which are responsible for 80% of our immune system function; they are enormously important. This is a huge flaw, but not even the biggest in crop transgenics.
Organic Cosumers Organization

One of our nation’s leading crops, soy, is almost exclusively GMO.  Ninety percent of soy grown in the US is genetically modified, and, along with the disastrous side effects of soy’s high estrogen levels, these crops lead to infertility, accelerated aging, immune system impairment, birth defects, asthma, allergies (seasonal and food), and cancer, to name a few.  The fact that scares me the most about this is that the vast majority of processed food contains soy, whether it’s soybean oil, soy lecithin, or soy protein.  Read the label; everything from kids cereal to canned soups to vegetarian products contains soy.  Even the meat – what do you think they feed those poor animals in CAFOs?  Soy and corn, the GMO superproducts.  Recently, they’ve also been feedin corn to rats in order to test Monsanto’s new super-improved GMO sweet corn.  If animal testing itself doesn’t make you sick to your stomach, I hope these pictures do.  Because Monsanto’s new corn, genetically modified and teeming with Roundup, produces not only grotesque tumors, but severe liver and kidney damage, reproductive cancers, respiratory problems, and death.  I’d like my dinner with a side of tumors, please.  If you want to read more on this study, published by the University of Caen in the Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal, check out the article on

Now here’s the big question: what do we do about this?  Unfortunately, appealing to the federal government won’t help, because many of the the top officials in the FDA, USDA, and CDC are former Monsanto or Big Ag employees.  For example, in 2009 Obama appointed Mike Taylor the current Chief Deputy of Foods, the leader of the FDA.  In Bill Maher’s words, this dude is “fucking evil;” for nearly a decade, Taylor was Monsanto’s leading lawyer and chief adviser.  He was the man with the plan when Monsanto started developing their recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH.  Yes, our new FDA chief was the mastermind behind the label on dairy products stating (falsely) that milk from cows treated with rBGH is no different from milk from untreated cows.  This was Monsanto’s way of hiding the horrendous side effects of rBGH, for Mike Taylor’s brilliant scheme passed a law requiring that statement to appear on any product that listed rBGH as an additive.  This man is now leading the FDA, the organization that approves and disapproves food for human consumption, and there are dozens of others placed strategically throughout the government.

What, then, is the answer?  Eating organic ensures that you avoid GMOs, but not everyone can afford that – and there are lots of products out there that don’t use GMOs but don’t advertise that.  That’s why Prop 37 is so important.  Forcing companies to label whether or not their products contain GMOs gives us the information we need to choose while also bringing us a step closer to banning GMOs completely.  While those of us who don’t live in California can’t vote on the bill, what passes in Cali usually makes its way across the nation.  So by supporting Prop 37 – financially, socially, on Facebook, on your blog, with your friends – you’re supporting everyone’s right to know.

Happy Non-GMO Month!!


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