I clearly remember the day I first learned aboutgenetically modified food. I was sitting in on one of my nutrition classes and my professor was informing us that the U.S. had begun to genetically alter our food crops. This meant that we could have larger, perfect tomatoes. We could feed more people on less land. We could grow food all year round that was immune to drought and increasing climate change. What wasn’t clear were safety concerns and what long-term effects were going to happen.
Now, 20 years later since the introduction of these foods, we know that GMOs impact our health. There are definite associations between consumption of GMO foods and the increases we are seeing in asthma, autism, allergies and sensitivities, skin eruptions, behavior problems and cancer (breast, prostate, colon). Yet, the USDA doesn’t require safety studies for GMOs. An alarming new study shows that a variety of corn engineered by Monsanto has been linked to mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage and other serious illnesses in the first ever peer-reviewed, long-term animal study of GMO foods.
Today, the majority of our food is genetically modified. Even foods we think are healthy (click here for some eye-opening ones). The most common are baby formula, corn (and all corn derivatives like corn syrup), soy, cottonseed oil, canola oil, and sugar.
How can you tell which foods have GMOs in them? You can’t unless they are marked “Certified GMO FREE” or are “ORGANIC.” The Institute for Responsible Technology provides a handy non-GMO Shopping Guide.
The U.S. government doesn’t require labeling of GMOs even though they’re clearly labeled in Europe and 40 other nations. This all could change in November as California has added Proposition 37 to its ballet. The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act would require food sold in California retail outlets to be labeled if it is genetically engineered, or if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. It also states food cannot be labeled as “Natural” if GMOs are present.
By voting YES for Prop 37, California would become the first state to require manufacturers to put a label on its products indicting if it contains GMOs. California could set the stage for other states to follow. Americans have a right to know what’s in our food. A label would allow us to have the choice to buy foods that contain GMOs.
If you think it sounds reasonable to get Prop 37 passed, know this: food companies have pooled together over $23 million to lobby against it. Why? Labeling food products that contain GMOs could hurt sales and reputation.
What can you do?
- Educate yourself on GMOs (see resources below)
- Urge anyone who lives in California, to make sure they vote YES on Proposition 37
- Boycott foods that contain GMOs
For more information on GMOs visit: