What, exactly, is a GMO? It is an acronym for genetically modified organisms. In this context, we are talking about genetically altered food. It has recently become a hot topic due to all the progress in genetic engineering.
At present, about 85 percent of all processed food in the United States is genetically modified. There is no proof as to whether this is safe for human consumption. At least 165 million acres of land is farmed with GMO crops, the most widely used being Round-Up ready seed.
What that means is that the seeds are genetically altered to resist the pesticide called Round-Up. Farmers spray their crops with the weed killer to ensure their crops are not overrun by competing plants. Their GMO crops do not die while almost all others do. Something about the fact that crop can survive the dousing of poison is alarming. Once they grow, farmers harvest and sell the crops that we, in turn, eat. Are we actually eating poisonous foods? Most likely. How dangerous they are is the real question.
Even more frightening is the fact that most people have no idea they are eating GMO foods. Currently these foods are not labeled due to heavy lobbying and PR from the chemical companies that own the rights to those type of seeds. One of the most notorious companies in the business is Monsanto.
Recently, Jeremy Seifert went on a quest to learn more about this. He and his family made a documentary, called GMO OMG, exposing the food industry’s dirty politics and evasiveness. Monsanto representatives refused to be filmed or speak to Jeremy when he attempted to visit their headquarters.
Seifert’s main concerns centered around the risks to freedom of choice, the health of our planet and risks to his family’s health. He further questioned whether it’s even possible to opt out of eating GMOs while maintaining his part in our system of social acceptance.
Halloween posed a particularly difficult conundrum. He didn’t want to stop his kids from going trick-or-treating, but he was worried about the GMOs in all the candy. He later traded his children an inexpensive toy from the toy store for all their Halloween candy.
Seifert’s GMO OMG mission took him to Haiti, Paris, Norway and Monsanto’s headquarters. He combats the notion that labeling GMO foods will be more expensive. Food companies change their labels all the time. Adding one little marking to signify they contain GMOs should not be expensive.
He also addresses the fact that seeds from GMO plants can accidentally pollinate neighboring farms through seeds blowing over on the wind. Farmers who accidentally end up with GMO crops in their fields must then pay for them, even if they didn’t want them there in the first place. We don’t even know if organic crops are safe. There is no way to judge whether their seeds have been corrupted without expensive, invasive testing.
All in all, GMO OMG is insightful and thought-provoking. It’s certainly worth a look.