Last week, a ground-breaking study revealed that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) pose a serious threat to our health. For the first time ever, lab tests have been conducted over the full life cycle of mice -- two years, that is. The longest studies conducted previously did not exceed 90 days, a time frame that we now know, is insufficient to observe the pervasive impacts of GMO consumption. In this new study, not only was the death incidence of mice who were fed GMO corn alarmingly higher than the control group, these mice were also afflicted by a panoply of diseases, from mammary tumours for female mice to severe liver and kidney dysfunctions for male mice.
This new evidence represents the highest, reddest and biggest flag raised to this day concerning the premature introduction of GMOs in our environment, i.e. before solid scientific backing was obtained.
Among the obvious stingers of these findings, for us Canadians in particular, lies the fact that one of the GMO crops used during this study, the Monsanto NK603, has been allowed in the Canadian food system by Health Canada since 2001. For almost 12 years now, this crop and a fair amount of other GM food, have been making their way through the maze of our food processing systems. With corn derivatives having become the ingredients of predilection in almost all processed food, very few cornerstones of our modern food system remain untouched by the findings of this study.
The way GMOs have been creepily introduced into our food chain is quite baffling. I mean, you'd think that integrating a foreign body into our food without having carried out the most reasonably extensive studies common sense can buy would raise at least a little concern from our government. Many countries of the European Union are GMO-Free zones. Remember, when talking about GMOs, we are not talking about the good old selection techniques that saved us from starvation and allowed us to march on the evolution path. No. We are talking about these techniques' archenemy, the Magneto to Professor Xavier, the Bane to Batman, the science to the Harper government.
In a sensible world, even dreaming of playing God with the most essential elements of our human survival would result in a generous backhand in hopes of snatching the delusional dreamer out of his daze. But sadly, the truth is that we are actually living this corporately induced nightmare, where bad turns to worse, and where our cherished memories of a government willing to go to bat for us get blurrier by the minute.
So we are forced to ask, "how?" How did our government allow us to become the mice of Monsanto's own experiments, experiments it seems pressed to conduct on the wider population?
But wait, you say, this is unfair. Why should our government bare the brunt of the blame? Our government is equipped with strict safety assessment mechanisms, ensuring that all novel food products are scientifically scrutinized by Health Canada. Touché. Excellent point! These novel products do have to be evaluated by a process that lasts between seven and 10 years and which sees them put through a battery of tests. How could I forget this bulletproof mechanism? Crisis averted!
Well... There is just a small detail that might be worth mentioning here. Enter: SmartStax. This Monsanto GM corn was approved by Health Canada in 2009 without any testing, even though it had never been introduced in our food chain. Why? Because its eight distinct genetically modified traits (six of which each release their own insecticidal toxin while the remaining two resist a couple of herbicides) had each already been evaluated, independently and were deemed harmless. So, Health Canada didn't recognize SmartStax as a new product necessitating the aforementioned scrutiny, and this despite the fact that it was the first time all of its GM components were expressed in a single plant. Can somebody say loophole?
But seriously, what are we left with when the precautionary measures adopted by our government are simply too weak? We are left with a chilling study that confirms our inner voice's long repeated warning: "FOOD SHOULD NOT BE GROWN IN LABS," especially not in the same ones where Agent Orange was engineered.
Interestingly enough though, this week is the Organic Week across Canada, the largest annual celebration of its kind in the country. Although events such as this one are a great educational tool for consumers across the country that teaches them the benefits of consuming organic, they more importantly serve as testaments of how far we have fallen as a society. I mean, can you imagine having annual festivals such as Adultery-Free Week or Theft-Free Month?
What I am getting at is that these values should be the presumption and not the exception, just like organic production of our food should be the norm, not the exotic-y good hiding in a sombre corner of the grocery store. Leave that spot to Frankenfoods.