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Our Right to Know

I always thought of myself as a food purist: I believe food should be natural, local and seasonal. Recently, I have learned that all those “labels” do not ensure my diet is as “pure” as I thought it would be. Unfortunately GMO-free is a whole new category. 

Running the risk of sounding ignorant, up until a few years ago, I was not aware of GM foods. Earlier this year I decided to adopt a “mostly” vegan, “mostly“ gluten-free eating lifestyle after a friend of ours, challenged my husband and I to go on a 30-day challenge. No animal products, no sugar, no caffeine, no gluten, no alcohol and exercise. After the 30-day period was over we decided to adapt these new eating habits to our lifestyle but that did not ensure we would stay away from GM foods.

A few documentaries such as, Hungry for Change and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, served as inspiration and education to reinforce our decision. It has not always been convenient; we have to plan our meals ahead of time, shop for groceries every couple of days and read every label. The frustrating part is that doing all of this homework does not ensure our food is GMO-free.

GMO-free was not part of the challenge but almost every documentary talked about the impact GM foods have in our health as a society. But, what is Genetic Modification of food? In short, the transformation of an aspect of an organism’s DNA blueprint, often using recombinant DNA technology. There is current evidence that alteration of plant DNA results in many hazardous effects such as poor crop performance, toxic effects, allergic reactions, and damage to the environment. [Source: GM Crops – Just the Science, 2009] – and that to me does not sound natural. The promise of 100% natural, preservative free, coloring free, etc … does not ensure GMO-free! Shouldn’t genetically modified organisms be considered unnatural? The name itself says Genetically Modified Organisms. 

GM foods have been on the market only since 1994, and research on their long-term effects on humans is scarce. To date most studies have been done on animals; worryingly, some of those studies link GM foods to altered metabolism, inflammation, kidney and liver malfunction and reduced fertility. Why are we willing to offer ourselves as test lab subjects? Shouldn’t we have the right to know what we feed our families? Shouldn’t it be OUR decision what we put in our bodies?

Sara Balcazar-Greene
Food Blogger

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