Friday, August 3, 2012

Apples That Don't Bruise? ...

Dear watchers of the night,

Farmers and consumers alike are concerned about the latest GMO controversy - genetically modified apples that do not brown or bruise when cut or damaged.

Farmers are concerned because the pollen can contaminate their orchards, and put their fruit at risk.

I am concerned because we still don't know the long-term effects of all genetically modified foods.

Hybrid foods, or plants that have been cultivated for generations for the strongest, best variety, and blended with other plants (durum and kamut wheat, for example, are relatively modern grains cultivated from two different grasses merged), have been around for generations - as long as we've had agriculture.  While they are not always nutritionally optimal - the un-hybridized ancient einkorn may be preferable to the modern hybrid durum wheat - they are still generally considered "natural" in the sense that DNA has not been tinkered with.

Genetically modified food is different, and can have features not native to its species introduced - they can incubate pharmaceuticals, be resistant to certain pests or chemicals, extend shelf life, grow larger than normal ... And the controversy over whether this is potentially dangerous or not rages on.

I am of the opinion that the more we tinker with the good Lord's perfect creation, the more we run the risk of getting in over our heads and messing with processes we still know very little about!

Testing for new genes is usually minimal, done by the company that would benefit from the success of the product, and risks are not thoroughly assessed.  What about the damage to neighboring farms?  The food-chain and eco-system?  Bees, squirrels, bugs, groundwater ...  There is much to be considered.

"Kirk Azevedo, former Monsanto employee turned whistleblower warns:

'I saw what was really the fraud associated with genetic engineering.  My impression, and I think most people's impression with genetically engineered foods and crops and other things, is that it's just like putting one gene in there and that one gene is expressed ... But in reality, the process of genetic engineering changes the cell in such a way that it's unknown what the effects are going to be.'"  (As quoted by The Healthy Home Economist blog)

If you feel similarly, I encourage you to fill out this online form and tell the USDA to keep apples natural here!

Concerned citizen,

Mrs H



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