Frankenfoods: Are genetically modified organisms making us sick?
21 February 2019 FOOD
By: Natasha Archary
Nothing turns you into a paranoid skeptic, quite like becoming a parent. One minute you’re happily munching away on a caramel, chocolate, peanut bar. The next you’re throwing out half your grocery cupboard staples for their high sugar and sodium content.
I kid you not, after watching the 2015 movie, Consumed, and since becoming a parent, I scrutinize everything my son eats. Well as much as I can. It doesn’t help that he is a picky eater whose diet consists mainly of potato-based dishes.
But is there any truth behind the allegations by parents in America that GMOs are making their children sick?
In an ideal world
Some of my most memorable childhood memories involved a farm or me stealing fruit from my neighbors, abundant peach, apple, mango, blackberry, and avocado trees. I make no apologies for my younger, fruit stealing self.
I remember picking the most delicious strawberries from a field one Summer day. None of the fruit I’ve found in stores since could come close to that fresh burst of sweetness or the heavy scent the fruit left on my fingertips all those years ago.
I would want nothing more than for my son to experience that. To have that unrestricted relationship with nature. For him to understand that the earth not only provides shelter but nourishment too.
The only way he will get that close to fresh produce in the city is a fruit and veggie market. I’m not even sure if there are any local farms that allow public visits or tours. Of course, I could just grow my own organic, home veggie garden. This may just be the only way I can guarantee that the produce he passes through his lips is organic, sustainable and ethically sourced.
But it’s not an ideal world
Geo-phenomenon the world over has spurred on scientific intervention, to improve harvest, yield bigger produce and prevent climate damage. As much as our world leaders will have you believe there is no such thing as climate change. With erratic weather patterns and natural disasters that has impacted large parts of the world, feeding people remains a global cause for concern.
War-torn countries who received aid were some of the first to receive “just-add-water” meals. Packs of dehydrated food items that would turn into a nourishing meal by just adding a small amount of water. It makes sense sure because it’s one of the only ways to ensure that aid reaches victims of war or disasters.
Simply airdrop these packs into the villages without losing any soldiers. We’ve seen it in movies and it looks so cool. But has anyone stopped to question exactly what these packs consist of?
What Science will have you believe
According to American scientists, GMO’s are life-saving ingenuity that could mean the end to the world hunger problem. With crops and produce no longer going bad, despite natural elements, we could finally feed the world and it wouldn’t cost an arm and leg.
Funny thing is, GMOs were never invented to stop world hunger. They were developed as with everything else that keeps the rich at the top, to profit off of. At any expense necessary.
The first GMO was introduced in 1994, when Calgene unsuccessfully shared their “Flavr Savr” delayed, ripening tomato. Now, I’m no scientist but surely to alter any natural organism and manipulate the structure is unnatural?
What could the butterfly effect of such a bold interference mean for human life?
Open your eyes
Michelle Perro, MD, and pediatrician in California, has spent 20 years of her 37-year career, treating complex health conditions in children. Together with a medical anthropologist, Vincanne Adams, PhD, she has written a book, “What’s making our children sick? How industrial food is causing an epidemic of chronic illness and what parents and doctors can do about it.”
The book identifies industrially produced food as a major culprit in the current health crisis. Perro and her colleague also recommend measures we can take to restore our health and well-being.
It’s human nature to resist change it seems and to fear the unknown. But watching the movie above and the 2016 documentary, “Food Evolution” has forever changed what I consume.
Wool over your eyes
Like the concerned mother in Consumed, I became suspicious that my son’s chronic rhinitis, asthma and tonsillitis was a result of a milk allergy. In bringing this to his pediatrician’s attention, I was told that “Milk is healthy for kids to grow strong bones.”
Yup, the textbook response that I grew up with and most parents to this day, use on their kids.
“Finish your milk, it’s good for your bones.”
When you can actually get more calcium in a serving of tofu than you would a glass of milk. Of course, doctors will say anything to ensure that your monthly cash visits don’t stop. But that’s another conspiracy story for another day. For now, question everything that you feed your family. Organic. Locally sourced. Sustainably resourced. Ethically grown. It doesn’t matter where these foods are imported from. How fresh they look. Or whether it’s dead cheap in comparison to other brands. Stay away from any product with labels that indicate the following:
- Loaded with vitamins and minerals
- Fortified for optimum health
- May include GMOs
- Artificial flavours and colourants
- Sugar-free or Fat-free
Packaging and clever marketing is how most brands pull the wool over a consumer’s eyes. If you can, avoid anything that is pre-packaged, processed and refined. What do we eat then? I wish I had that answer. If only we could go back to those days where we sourced from the ground around our home and hand-reared our own livestock.