A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered to include a new gene or set of genes. An example is a transgenic organism, an organism that has received DNA from a different species (one example: cows that have been engineered to produce human breast milk.) Transgenic animals have been used in medical experiments, but they were not approved for human consumption until recently.
Many countries around the world have already banned GMOs due to lack of testing and long term studies of human health.
Most studies of GMOs suggest that the ill effects are more pronounced in the second and third generations of GMO-consumers, meaning we simply haven’t had time to conduct thorough studies yet on humans.
Currently, American food manufacturers are not required to disclose to the public when they use GMOs — which means there is no way to know whether you are eating genetically-modified plants or animals.
GMOs are a relatively new part of the human diet so the evidence against them is still mounting. Despite evidence that GMOs could be harmful to humans, the Food and Drug Administration and the FDA went ahead and approved GMOs — without labeling — for human consumption. Do you think the lobbyists at Monsanto (producer of most of the world’s genetically modified crops) had anything to do with it?
Until now, food giants like Monsanto have managed to crush all initiatives to label GMOs so that they never made it to the ballot. But Americans finally have a chance to vote for labeling.
Want to take action without spending a penny?
On November 6, 2012, if you are a California resident, you have the power to change the course of the obesity epidemic. Support the California Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. Vote for the right to know what you eat. Vote Yes on Prop 37.
Wellness and Equality supports Prop 37. You can watch this short video to learn about some of the implications that reach far beyond your plate:
Here is a video from the group behind the ballot initiative:
Florida Republican State Senator Ronda Storms is no stranger to controversial legislation. She’s the mind behind the 2004 sterilize-a-pedophile bill. In the case of regulating sugar for those on food stamps (who also happen to be the unhealthiest among us), she might be onto something.
Mark Bittman of the New York Times writes:
When Ronda Storms, a Republican state senator in Florida, is accused of nanny-state-ism for her efforts on behalf of a sane diet, it’s worth noting. When she introduced a bill to prevent people in Florida from spending food stamps on unhealthy items like candy, chips and soda, she broke ranks: few of her party have taken on Big Food. And as someone who has called for the defunding of an educational Planned Parenthood program and banning library book displays supporting Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, she is hardly in her party’s left wing. Not surprisingly, she’s faced criticism from every corner: Democrats think she’s attacking poor people, and Republicans see Michelle Obama. Soon after Storms proposed the bill, she told me, “Coca-Cola and Kraft were in my office” hating it. Click here to read the full NYT article, “Regulating Our Sugar Habit” by Mark Bittman.
Bittman’s most important point is that food stamp payments have been based on the cost of a nutritionally adequate diet, and do not account for the added cost of nutritionally-empty food. In addition, the poorest among us — those on food stamps — are also the least likely to have access to healthcare to correct diet-related ailments. Often, they are using those food stamps to buy meals for children. The correlation between food stamps and obesity is well-documented. What if we ensured, through the regulation of food stamps, that our nation’s poorest children and adults spent government dollars on nutritious food?
Here’s a bit of Sunday humor. Seth Meyers and Kermit the Frog do a nice job analyzing Congress’s recent contribution to school lunches in a skit on Saturday Night Live:
Why would Congress do something like this? Oh, you know, just as a little favor for their friends over at ConAgra and Schwan Foods. ConAgra and Schwan are two of the largest manufacturers of frozen and processed foods, whose lobbyists no doubt played an important role in this decision. That’s just what friends do for friends!
You can read a more serious report on the decision here.