Mutant Food Coming to a Grocer Near You

February 18, 2011  |  

Remember the nursery rhyme “Old McDonald Had a Farm?” We’d sing how Old McDonald had a farm with pigs that go “oink” and cows that go “moo.” Well now it seems like the nursery rhyme needs some updating. Looks like Old McDonald has added some genetically engineered sugar beets and super-fast-growing salmon to his farm. And he’s even traded in his overalls and weed wacker for a white lab coat and chemistry set.

Today we have genetically modified (GM) foods and genetically modified organisms (GMO). There are tons of GM foods including: flour, soy, milk, canola oil, and aspartame (a sweetener).  And the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture)- government agency that regulates what’s grown on farms- recently approved the use of three new kinds of genetically engineered foods: alfalfa, a type of corn to make ethanol, and sugar beets. They also approved a super-fast-growing salmon- which will be the first (and most likely not the last) genetically modified animal to be sold in the U.S.

Though they’re mass marketed, the use of genetically modified food is a subject of enormous controversy. Many have been very leery of GM foods- mainly because the effects of these foods haven’t been studied long term. And some physicians and scientists argue that GM foods may be contributing to the rise of autism, obesity, diabetes, asthma, cancer, heart disease, allergies, reproductive problems, and many other common health problems plaguing Americans. To many people, GMO is just another way of saying “God Move Over.” And their fear of GM foods is based in this line of reasoning: How often do things turn out well when you mess with God’s work?

Back in 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that GM foods pose serious health risks and called on “physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.” They also called for labeling of GM foods in stores. But it looks like the USDA and the FDA aren’t trying to hear it.

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