Just a couple of years ago the majority of Americans didn't spend much time thinking about our food supply. The term GMO (genetically modified organism) rarely came up in conversation. For years Americans naively believed if it's on a grocery store shelf, it's safe because the Food and Drug Administration protects us. Slowly we are learning that the government is not protecting us, but rather working to best meet the needs of corporations versus the health concerns of our citizens. Big Ag in the United States is a powerhouse, contributing 23 Million Dollars alone to defeat the GMO labeling initiative in California's November election. Food allergies are on the rise, diseases are on the rise, and our children are being hit hard by the numbers. We are left asking ourselves what has changed in the American diet over the past few decades to cause such staggering rises in incidences? I reflect upon the rise in Autism, when my daughter was born in 2003, autism was diagnosed in 1:144 children on average, now it's 1:50. Staggering. While we don't have one definitive answer to what is happening, we have many pieces of the puzzle to put together on our own. My mind directly goes to GMO's, BPA a proven endocrine disruptor, and many other environmental toxins that our government time and time again is failing to protect us from.
Even though our elected officials in Washington, D.C. are leaving us to fend for ourselves, it is the private sector that is slowly coming to the consumer's rescue. Just a few weeks ago, Chipotle made a bold move and made public their ingredients as GM or not. Whole Foods Market announced earlier this year that they would indeed label all products in their stores that contain GMO's by 2018.
With consumer purchasing power driving the demand of foods that are not produced with genetically engineered ingredients, we are facing a new dilemma. The percentages of crops that are Genetically Modified are very high, take for example 88% of corn crops are GM, 94% of soy crops are GM, 90% of all canola is GM. Which leaves small food producers searching high and dry for conventionally sourced ingredients that are not GM. As the New York Times reported this past Sunday, consumers are on the verge of boycotting foods that are not labeled. Progressive companies are stepping up to meet the demands before mandatory labeling becomes the law (if it ever does), but our conventional farmers can't meet the demand. Unfortunately, the wave of change is happening faster than our farmers can move away from GM crops. Of course organic produce is in high demand as well, but conventional non-GMO crops are what the food companies and the average American consumer are in search of.
The true question is, are we facing a crisis? Will our agricultural system be able to meet the demands of consumers? What a fascinating turning point in our food system. Only time will tell.
Hungary Destroys all Monsanto GMO Corn Fields
Millions March Against Monsanto, 52 Countries and 436 Cities Around the Globe