What do China, the State of Maine, the State of Connecticut, Chipotle, and Whole Foods have in common? They all think you have a right to know whether the food you are eating contains any genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs.
I like that. Why do I care? Because the genes in GMO plants have been altered in a laboratory to do something that the plant would not normally do. This means that Mother Nature did not deem it good. Mother Nature did not deem it good that a tomato should live forever in its fully ripened state, even after traveling around the world in a crate on a truck or boat or a plane and sitting in a grocery store for days if not weeks. Mother Nature did not deem it good that corn should be able to kill insects while it grows. Mother Nature created insects. They are useful, whereas acres and acres of corn are not. Mother Nature created corn to feed birds and deer and the occasional human. Not to feed every livestock animal in the country or to sweeten the chemical concoctions that the soft drink makers dream up.
I find it ironic that the vote in Maine on labeling GMOs took place the same month that Edward Snowden demonstrated that he, too, thinks Americans have a right to know. And that Congress – the greatest legislative body in the world – appears to agree that all Americans have a right to know all the super-top secret stuff the government is up to, but doesn’t think Americans have a right to know if they are eating GMOs. I know I’m going out on a limb but I don’t think we should expect this Congress to pass a bipartisan bill to require all food manufacturers and restaurants to label GMOs anytime soon.
Okay, next one. What do Amy’s Kitchen (frozen pizza), Blue Diamond (peanuts and almonds), Arrowhead Mills (stone-ground everything), and Silk (the company that brought tofu to America), have in common? They all refuse to use GMO ingredients in their products. Let’s all raise a cheer for these companies! This is what makes America great! Government won’t do something the people want? Do it yourself! Decide your elected representative is a lazy-good-for-nothing fat cat eating pork out of a barrel? Take matters into your own hands!
Okay, next one. What do Judaism, the Church of England and Saudi Arabia have in common? This one seems a little harder. But it turns out that all three of the world’s major religions prohibit GMOs. Saudi Arabia bans them outright, as does Algeria, Brazil, Egypt, the European Union, Peru, and Thailand. The Church of England won’t let any GMO crop trials on any church property, which amounts to 60,000 hectares in England. A hectare is approximately 2.5 acres, which is 150,000 acres, or the equivalent of about 234 square miles. That’s what the Church of England owns. The whole of England is only about 50,000 square miles big, from which, if you are a GMO scientist, you must subtract cities, towns, factories, airports, train stations, banks, houses, roads, outbuildings, seaside resorts, castles, Stonehenge, palaces, manor houses, Kew Gardens, etc. I bet there’s not much left after that. And lastly, GMOs aren’t kosher. There’s so much more to it on that one.
There’s more to say about GMOs, such as the fact that the U.S. government regulates GMO corn as a pesticide, not a food (that’s why we want to know what we’re eating, right?!), or that Tasmania has declared GMO rapeseed to be a weed (weeds are bad, not good).
But the worst thing I learned researching this post is that M&Ms, Stoned Wheat Thins, Pringles, and all Pepperidge Farm cookies have GMOs in them.
The horror, the horror.