Genetic Roulette – Review

In the United States our food industry is screwed. We have poverty, hunger, obesity, nutrient-poor diets as a mainstay, food allergies, food intolerances, highly-specialized diets by choice, highly-specialized diets by medical necessity, government subsidized nutrient-sparse foods… we run the gamut of issues. We also have an independent film industry attempting to examine every one of these issues. I do not watch every food documentary, but enjoy the more optimistic and less gross-out ones that come my way. Recently I viewed Genetic Roulette by Jeffrey Smith from the Institute for Responsible Technology. This film highlights GMOs, their prevalence in our food supply, and how their presence affects consumers and suppliers.

Genetic-Roulette-movie

It is a dense film giving anyone a primer on this topic or ideas of where to find more specialized information. The cast includes many notable personalities who have worked in agriculture, advocacy, and research on the topic.

I have been well-versed in GMOs encroaching in the marketplace for quite a while. My first formal/academic exercise in the topic was in grad school as part of a natural resource conservation class. We looked at Bt that had appeared in agricultural seeds less than a decade prior to discuss the “what-if’s” that science had not acquired long-term data on. I have to admit that the topic of GMOs and were I source food in my food supply has not scared me as it has for some others in recent news trends. I have had the good fortune of knowing how to cook from whole-food products most of my life, I have been weary of toxins and deviations from natural whole foods most of my life, and I have had access and knowledge to avoid a processed diet at home my adult life. Yet for all of this I do have a sugar cane allergy that developed as an adult and do question if it developed from eating out where I did not control the ingredients I consumed. Who knows?

If you are new to food issues and concerned about GMOs in your diet I highly recommend this film. I wrote it is dense – and it is but the film takes a nice approach to educate a wide spectrum of people with varying food knowledge. The film has a good introduction of the topics and is clear about sub-topics it addresses through its duration. About 1/3 of the way into the film there is a review. And then with 20 minutes to go there is an optimistic topic of reversing the GMO-damage that goes over a case study as well as actionable steps consumers can take.

While most Americans are concerned with personal finances it is easy to gloss over food issues. However those questioning the rise in gut disorders since the 90s should watch this film. Those questioning exactly what “voluntary compliance” means when the FDA tells companies genetically engineering seeds that they could be their own watchdogs should watch this film. Those questioning why the USA is one of the few industrialized nations that allows these foods into our marketplace without labeling should watch this film.

Personally I have never bought the fallacy that GMOs are needed to feed the world, especially in the US when we cannot adequately feed ourselves right. I believe the feeding the world b.s. is a marketing ploy/scare tactic propagated by companies including the very powerful Monsanto that just last week snuck a long-term rider to stay in business without legal constraints or ramifications into a short-term budget bill that passed in our government.

For those asking where all the conclusive scientific proof is that this kind of engineering is bad for our collective health I can counter with a couple of thoughts. It is hard to tease apart GMOs from all the other invasive, manmade influences in our lives due to complex synergisms. Researchers who attempt to do conclusive research are urged (sometimes violently or financially) not to do such work since biotech companies fund a lot of academic departments (something I learned early on watching Tyrone Hayes fight with it out at UC Berkeley over atrazine and amphibians). And long-term controlled studies on humans are hard to start as well as keep going.

For other bloggers looking to view and post about this film consider applying for link to be sent to you. For the general public you can support the filmakes with a $2.99 donation to view the film online or buy a DVD copy.

Educating ourselves about how our food supply is sourced can be a scary and overwhelming prospect since there is so much money and misinformation abound. However living with long-term consequences of when food makes you sick can be expensive and deadly. I urge for people to educate themselves about the one thing we vote on with our dollars multiple times during a week.

Diva Dash Done

Vlawwwwwg…

It was a fun race coming off a HOT and low-energy number of weeks. My strength is definitely there with lifting objects and not being too winded to keep going after. I am looking forward to some FUN races coming up in August and September.

My August will consist of camping and backpacking, yoga (as teacher and student), leading yoga at Mamavation’s Fitcation in L.A., then an 80s Retro Run with Black Girls Run. Let the good times begin!

Tomorrow night I will be a special guest on Mamavation TV to discuss GMO’s and California’s Proposition 37 attempting to have GMO labeling on pre-packaged foods. As a grad student I was allowed to deviate into food supply issues with some projects and dove into this in terms of human health and natural resource management. I am looking forward to the discussion we will have. Join me at 8 PM MST.

My week is going to be pretty chill at home I am hoping. I have one project to be working on for a non-profit but am really wanting to get some organizing finished with this last full week of mercury in retrograde. If things work out I will start my personal training certificate study next week as reward for getting some sh*t done.

The food front is funny these days here. My hubby is still detoxing but blurted out today he is sick of meat. I had to rethink our meal plan. The funny thing is that with his detox and what I have been wanting to eat there have been many meals where the three of us are eating different things, but still eating together.

Have a great week everyone. Please let me know if you have any Prop 37 and/or GMO questions.

GMOs and Your Right to Know

I am proud of my birth state California for their openness to put a mandatory GMO-labeling initiative on their November ballot. I applied to be on a blogger team to bring awareness about this issue to my audience and invite you to apply as well. The team will work with LabelGMOs.org. This issue affects more than California – as a real food supporter in Colorado I stand behind this initiative. This is HUGE! California has the 8th largest economy in the world. If this initiative passes then this could mark the beginning of the end for the ignorance that U.S. consumers have about the prevalence of Genetically Modified Organisms in our food supply. Already steps are being taken for a sister initiative in Oregon.

See a short video from LabelGMOs.org about this initiative.

I write “U.S. consumers” because most of the world is already aware of the unknown risks of engineered food. 40 countries require mandatory labeling including the European Union and China. The risks of engineered foods are unknown so it will still be up to consumers to decide if they want to consume them when they are labeled.

I for one prefer to avoid GMOs for me and my loved ones. I think to basic ecological and evolutionary principles regarding how food has evolved to be a part of our diet. We are not omniscient in thinking we can alter our diet to the genetic level without wondering what it does to us on a genetic (purely genes) or phenotypic (the expression of genes influenced by environment in terms of physical and behavioural traits) level. Unlike evolution that has taken many trials to see if organisms work with our bodies and environment the rate at which GMOs have risen in the marketplace is comparable to sending chaos into the universe and hoping all the trials turn out o.k. Just hoping something does not go wrong is not a risk I want to take for my loved ones.

While I do not think everyone who sees a GMO label will have the same visceral reaction I have about these foods I at least want everyone to have a choice in how much they care about consuming these items. Major food suppliers who create and distribute these organisms are not so ambivalent to see if their customers will be apathetic if they are aware of GMO presence. The biotech industry will be battling this initiative with a well-funded marketing arsenal considering they already have our primary food producers (farmers) on lock down with legal, ruthless tactics. They want consumers to remain unaware or confused about what a GMO or GE (genetically engineered) food is, or to sway the consumer into thinking that knowing about them will only hurt our food supply and cost them a lot of money.

All this initiative would do if passed is provide the consumer with an informed choice about what they are buying. There will be no extra costs, no further intrusion into our homes. Not everyone has to care, but those that do deserve the right to know what is in their food. This state initiative is coming on the heels of the recent FDA decision (March 2012) declaring they needed more time to deliver a ruling on having a federal labeling requirement. Nationally people are supportive of this initiative, it just needs to become law somewhere first. Let California be the first to demand mandatory GMO food labeling.

For the record, the only current way to be sure you do not have GMO food is to grow it yourself and assure your seed is GMO-free, consume certified organic food, or consume certified Non-GMO Project food.

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Disclosure Statement – I am not being compensated for this post in any form. I am not being compensated for applying to join this blogging group. As I begin my involvement with this group this is 100% my free will.