Sunday, December 23, 2012

Here's the link to an editorial written in the Hartford Courant about genetically engineered salmon, likely to be approved by the FDA for sale to the American Public at any moment.,0,273296.story

And here is my response:

“Providing consumers with the facts” is not only a good idea, it is our right. As a nutrition consultant, I have the right to tell my clients NOT to eat food that contains genetically engineered ingredients. Soon, if the FDA approves it, salmon will be the first genetically engineered animal that will be available for unknowing consumers to ingest. My clients have the right to easily access information about the food they are eating by observing an honest label.
The fight against genetically engineered food is NOT fueled by fear and guesswork, as the biotech industry would have us believe; there is plenty of science behind our concerns. A download is available, called GMO Myths and Truths, written by former biotech scientists. This information dispels the myths and provides scientific evidence regarding the dangers of consuming GMOs.   

This recent study (below) was credible enough to prompt Russia to immediately ban the importation of GMOs soon after it came out.  Despite its controversy, many scientists contend that it must be taken seriously.

Genetically engineered foods were SECRETLY and ILLEGALLY put into our foods 18 years ago.  20 years ago, no one had heard of a peanut allergy. Now children with peanut allergies must be segregated from their friends in the lunch room to keep from going into anaphylactic shock. 

Last year, HB 5117, the GMO labeling bill, passed out of the Environment Committee by a 23-6 vote.  This made history; a GMO labeling bill had never passed out of committee before.  The bill had bipartisan support.   The decision was made not to let it go to legislation, when the Governor of CT. eviscerated it.  It didn’t just die as written in the editorial.  CT actually got closer to passing a labeling bill than any other state.

Are we suspicious of “companies like DuPont, Monsanto, PepsiCo, and Kraft that will reap financial gains if people are kept in the dark about Frankenfood?”   In a word, yes.  Why would those companies, among others, including CocaCola, Kellogg, General Mills, Hershey, and Nestle, spend upwards of $55 million in California alone, to make sure a labeling law didn’t pass?

To say that “Agricultural products have been genetically modified, in terms of selective breeding, since prehistoric times,” is just so ignorant. Natural plant breeding is completely different from genetic modification.  Natural breeding occurres between closely related species through cross pollination.

In genetic modification (GM) however, genetic properties from one species are inserted into the DNA of a different species. The cell’s genetic blueprint is re-programmed by the inserted genetic material, bringing novel properties to the cell. Genetic engineering along with the use of tissue culture is imprecise and highly mutagenic. This causes unpredictable changes in the DNA, proteins, and biochemical composition of the resulting GM crop. Unpredictable changes can create unexpected toxic or allergenic effects and nutritional disturbances.

Many health related associations, are strongly funded by the biotech, food, and pharmaceutical industries.  THAT is the answer to the motto: “there is no evidence that GMOs pose unique health risks.”

Labeling will NOT make food costs go up.  It didn’t in Europe, where they are banned.  Infact, in most cases the same foods cost less in Europe.  The same foods we buy here, are made without GMOs for countries that ban GMOs.  The GMOs are saved for Americans only.  In other words, the same box of cereal shipped to France contains corn and soy NOT genetically engineered, but that which stays in the US is made with genetically engineered corn and soy. Isn’t that special?

CT is not “going it alone.”  There are 40 states and counting, in the process of developing a uniform labeling law.  We should  NOT depend on a federal law for GMO labeling – certainly not while our Food Safety Czar, Michael Taylor, formerly Monsanto’s VP, is second in command at the FDA.

The Hartford Courant should not be “bought,” like most of the papers in this country.   Let the Hartford Courant continue to be a source of good, nonbiased, reliable information. The people deserve nothing less.

Beth Beisel, R.D. LLC
Consulting Nutritionist
Food Policy Activist