General Mills simply wants to make a profit. They put cartoons on their boxes of cereal because it works. They add sugar and artificial flavors because those ingredients are cheap and they don’t nourish your body. And they fight against mandatory GMO labelling in California because it will take a chunk out of their profit margin.
I get it. Larabar gets acquired by General Mills. General Mills gives over $500,000 to fight Proposition 37. (Proposition 37 will require the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in California.) People like you and me are upset. So what do we do?
WHAT ARE GMOs?
A genetically modified organism is:
an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. (source)
And I don’t ask for much in regard to GMOs. I just want to have the freedom to decide for myself if I eat them or not. But how can I? They aren’t labeled. They aren’t required to be disclosed to us, the consumers. And we aren’t just buying a thingamajig at the store either, this is food. Food becomes part of our bodies.
GMO labeling is essential to knowing which foods are real and which ones aren’t. As real foodies, this is paramount to what we are about. Genetically modified foods aren’t real food.
In the US, by 2009/10, 93% of the planted area of soybeans, 93% of cotton, 86% of corn and 95% of the sugar beet were genetically modified varieties. Genetically modified soybeans carried herbicide-tolerant traits only, but maize and cotton carried both herbicide tolerance and insect protection traits (the latter largely the Bacillus thuringiensis Bt insecticidal protein). These constitute “input-traits” which are aimed to financially benefit the producers, but may have indirect environmental benefits and marginal cost benefits to consumers. The Grocery Manufacturers of America estimated in 2003 that 70-75% of all processed foods in the U.S. contained a GM ingredient. (source)
SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
But back to Larabar, here’s the thing: The people at Larabar, who are probably like you and me, are probably upset by this, too. It must be incredibly frustrating to watch your company that you love not only get chomped up by the bigger label, but to then be made to follow the will of Monsanto. Larabar-type people would certainly want GMOs labeled, right?
Now don’t get me wrong. I think you should boycott Larabar if you want to. Yes. I mean, I am. When Larabar was assimilated into a larger company that didn’t share their ideals, the possibility for the current situation arose. They made their decision, and we now stand at odds. I don’t stand for GMOs in my food. Period.
I will not be buying any brands that have given money to defeat prop 37 in California. I will not put up with it. I will put my money where my mouth is.
WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT GMOs ANYWAYS?
Some of the specific concerns about GMO include damage to kidneys and livers, both of them vital in removing toxins from the body. Some studies show such damages to kidneys and livers in laboratory animals. (source)
This is one of many reasons that GMO foods should be rigorously tested, clearly labeled, and only used with the utmost care and transparency. I don’t want to be a part of the GMO experiment in America anymore. Do you?
Were you even aware of how prevalent GM foods are in our supermarkets? Of how they are even present in some of the natural brands that you used to trust? Did you know about how far the rabbit hole goes?
WHO IS BEHIND ALL THIS?
The major player in all of this is called: Monsanto. The Monsanto Company is a maker of pesticides and genetically modified seeds.
Monsanto patents their seeds and when nature takes it’s course and spreads those patented seeds around, they go after their competition. Usually this is in the form of small farmers and small farms that are trying to fill a real food niche.
But beyond that, Monsanto has a less-than-desirable reputation for hurting people.
Monsanto has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as being a “potentially responsible party” for 56 contaminated sites (Superfund sites) in the United States. Monsanto has been sued, and has settled, multiple times for damaging the health of its employees or residents near its Superfund sites through pollution and poisoning. In 2004 The Wildlife Habitat Council and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Performance Track presented a special certificate of recognition to Monsanto Company during WHC’s 16th Annual Symposium. (source)
Further, Monsanto is so large that they seem to have lobbyists in every corner of the United States. Where there is power and influence to change our dependence on these frankenfoods, there is Monsanto, paying people to see their perspective more than yours or mine.
In 2008, Monsanto spent $8.8 million for lobbying. $1.5 million was to outside lobbying firms with the remainder used by in-house lobbyists. In 2011, total money spent on lobbying was about $6.3 million, more than any other agribusiness firm except the tobacco company Altria.
But I’m tired of being the little guy. I want to use the power and influence that Ihave to make a difference in our quality of food and life here in my country. I want our freedom to good health and quality food to be protected.
Take a stand. Use your food dollars to buy local, organic, real food. Go to my resources page to see what kind of companies I do trust outside the farmers that I know personally here where I live. Use your political power to vote so that your priorities will be known.
But most importantly: educate yourself. See your power. You don’t have to settle for crappy genetically modified food. You don’t have to stay quiet. Take charge of your health. Make a statement every meal of every day by what you choose to buy and what you choose to eat.