Written by Priya Advani
In Europe, many countries such as France, Germany, Greece, Austria and Luxembourg have banned genetically modified foods. The EU recognizes the consumer’s right to information and since 1997 community legislation uses labeling as a tool for allowing consumers to make an informed choice by making labeling of GM food mandatory. Why is it that recently in the U.S. the USDA has approved Roundup Ready sugar beets, genetically modified alfalfa and genetically modified corn to be planted without more testing and research?
Actually, the USDA has deregulated the use of many genetically modified crops. This means that without regulation, cross contamination of these crops into organic farms is likely, thus taking away the organic status of many of these farmers. Also, alfalfa is used as the major animal feed for dairy cows. Thus, much of the milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream that is consumed is connected to alfalfa. It is also used to enrich soils in organic farming. This can potentially reduce or eliminate the number of organic farms.
I believe that it is important to know and understand what you eat. If you look in your cabinets, you will probably be surprised to see how much genetically modified food you actually eat. Products derived from soy, corn, canola and cotton, including oils from all four, (soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup among others) are sources of GMO. Also, meat, eggs and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed (and the majority of the GM corn and soy is used for feed); dairy products from cows injected with rbGH (a GM hormone); food additives, enzymes, flavorings and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®) and rennet used to make hard cheeses; and honey and bee pollen may have GM sources of pollen. For an extensive list, see the non gmo shopping guide. Food products that are USDA organic cannot be genetically modified.