GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in Organic Food?
People often ask me whether certified organic food has GMOs and I say – “no”. This is a qualified “no” insofar that the grower starts with land that has not had any synthetic fertilizer or pesticides on them for a minimum of three years, the soil has been enriched with organic matter (compost), had the soil tested and their records reviewed by a certification board, and the seeds they placed into the soil were seeds that were not genetically modified/genetically engineered. BUT that does not mean that after going through this whole process that the crop is then not contaminated by seeds dispersed into their fields by birds/animals or the pollen blown into their fields.
The grower did not start off with the intention of having GMOs in their product and I don’t think they should be tarred with the same brush of a crop that is grown on land that has used synthetic herbicides/pesticides and planted with GMO seeds.
We all recognize that the best food that we can offer our babies is mother’s milk. As parents, we strive to do no harm to our children and stress over providing food that as far as we know is safe for them. We think of breast milk as pure and nourishing but most mother’s milk have traces of POPs (persistent organic pollutants) as well as many other pollutants that all of us pick up from our normal exposure to the environment that we live in. Would I still recommend that a baby consumes mother’s milk – damn right. I know that the levels in mother’s milk will be much lower than what the child will get from consuming a baby formulae – soy (over 90% is GMOd), milk (the corn fed to many of the cows are GMOd), plus all the other contaminates tied up in the ingredients from synthetic fertilizers and herbicides/pesticides. We are talking about levels of exposure here.
Today I read an article on line with quotes from Dag Falck, who I have met and admire for his commitment to the organic industry in Canada. I think he would have liked his remarks to have been in more depth. Yes – in this world we have to recognize that certified organic foods are likely to have been contaminated by GMO/GE pollution – is this the fault of the organic grower or the fault of large multinational chemical/seed/GMO corporations that have released this pollution throughout the world.
Dag Falck also points out that organic food is not tested after it is grown. This is true, in most situation, except if the product is also Non GMO Project verified. This organization tests products and all the ingredients that go into verified processed foods. Dag works for Nature’s Path (cereal company from Vancouver) and they are both certified organic and Non GMO Project verified. This article does not address this aspect.
Dag Falck also points out that the common ingredients in our overly processed foods are also overly contaminated with GMO – corn, canola and soy. Try going a week without ANY of these products in your food to see about the effects on your body, health and even your wallet.
I for one will continue to support certified organic growing because I know that the organic producer has a lower environmental impact than the usual conventional farmer, there is less pollution caused by organic food production, they did not put GMO into their product, and this food is as good as I will get without growing it myself (which could, in reality, be contaminated by GMO or other pollutants as wel).
This is a comparison of level of exposure and I for one will choose the one that will provide me with the least amount of exposure and treats the earth with more respect – Certified Organic food production. For me, we need to work on ridding our world of the pollution that is wrought on us by these corporation. There are opportunities for you to send a message to the government about your concerns – participate in the March Against Monsanto rallies that happen most years and when you don’t put money into their pockets they change their course. We need to send a loud message to our government (yes – those that are suppose to be protecting the citizens of Canada and our environment but seem to be doing a better job of protecting corporate profits and interests).
These corporations should be held accountable for the pollution they are spreading around the world much like a toxic polluter would have to pay for remediation and penalties for the pollution they cause. For some reason genetic pollution is not treated the same way. When we find out that women in the remote artic have POP chemicals in their fat cells caused by pollution created thousands of kilometres away we work on eliminating those pollutants being dumped into the environment – What is being done about Genetic Pollution!