|Let thy food be thy medicine,
and thy medicine be thy food.
Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, 400 B.C.
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|Did You Know Your Food is Genetically Altered?
During the last five years, several multinational chemical and drug companies including Monsanto and Syngenta (formerly Novartis/Astra-Zeneca/Ciba-Geigy) have quietly altered our food supply in an alarming way. Genes from bacteria, viruses, foreign plants and animals have been inserted into corn, soybeans, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, and papayas. These corporations plan to "genetically engineer" almost 100% of our food within a decade. Already about 40% of the soybeans, 20% of the corn, and a percentage of the potatoes grown in the U.S. and about 50% of the canola (rapeseed) plants in Canada have been genetically altered.
These companies have influenced US and Canadian regulatory agencies to allow these grains to be grown, mixed with non-altered grains, and sold without any labeling, even though they have been shown to be harmful to the environment and have not undergone even a single human health safety test. More than 60% of the packaged food items in US grocery stores contain genetically altered ingredients. We are now all experimental animals in a huge biological experiment involving the food we eat every day.
What Have They Done to Our Food?
Scientists at these companies have learned how to insert genes from plants, animals, bacteria, and viruses into any other plant or animal. For instance, Monsanto has inserted foreign genes into soybeans, corn, and canola (rapeseed) that allows farmers to spray the crops with Monsantos toxic Roundup weed killer without killing the plant. They have inserted a gene from an insect-killing bacterium called BT into corn so that every cell of the plant has activated BT toxin in it.
An Unprecedented Threat
In the rush to commercialize and profit from these "inventions," these companies have exposed consumers and the environment to an unprecedented threat:
Monsanto claims that the new crops have higher yields, and that genetic engineering is the only way to feed a hungry world. But university trials of these grains show that the crop yields are no better -- and in some cases are far worse -- than ordinary seeds. The only driving force behind this technology is profit for a few multinational companies who seem willing to compromise health, safety, and the environment.
How to Avoid Genetically Altered Food
Since significant percentages of soy, corn, potatoes, and canola oil contain altered genes, and they are mixed with unaltered food, right now there is only one way to safely avoid them: seek out products that use only certified organic ingredients. Avoid eating products that have unknown origins, such as corn cereals, corn chips, and tofu (soybean curd) in restaurants unless you know for sure that they use organic ingredients.
What Can You Do?
There are many safe food advocates all over the world who are trying to stop the farming, production, and use of genetically altered food. You can join with them:
This flyer was prepared by Jonathan Campbell with the assistance of an international group of scientists and safe food advocates opposed to genetic alteration of our food. Many of us are affiliated with local groups in our communities. If you want to take part in this opposition, you may join us on the Internet by sending the message "subscribe" in the subject line to Ban-GEF@lists.greenbuilder.com.
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