Food Inc and Genetically Modified Foods
You are what you eat?
I am afraid that I am what I have eaten. I am large, round and my body is a producer of more illnesses and health risks than I care to explain. I have always opened my mouth and inserted food because of taste. Many times, I have chosen to eat because of health. Foods that I thought were actually healthy. Sadly, I am finding through research, articles and the new film titled, Food Inc., that what I thought was healthy really is not.
It is scary to think that my children have been brought up on genetically modified foods. Since the year 2000, it is estimated that over half of the children born after this year will become diabetic because of diet.
I shudder to think that the foods I cook and place on the table are composed of fillers, have been washed in ammonia and have feces in them. Please read on to see what I mean.
Food Inc. follows farmers and tells their stories...
I went into this film believing that I would be convinced to never eat meat again. This is not what the movie wants you to do. It is the preparation and the conditions of which the animals are kept in, that you are encouraged to change. I know that I will now seek out farmer's that slaughter their own meat and allow their animals to roam when they eat. As I look at all the frozen, boneless meat in my freezer, I am a bit apprehensive now to cook it. Lack of money will force me to do so; however, I will cook the heck out of it and pray that my family suffers no consequences from the way the animal was killed and processed.
Tyson, Perdue and other popular meat companies have cornered the market on our meat. Even though meats are sold in different packaging and labels, most of it comes from the same slaughterhouse. McDonald's, Burger King and our fast food restaurants get their meat from these same slaughterhouses as well.
The chickens, pigs and cows are raised in small, cramped areas; many unable to move. They are fed corn as their main diet which causes quick weight gain and pumped with steroids and anti-biotics to hopefully offset being infected with disease or the e coli strain, and produce quick results so they can be slaughtered more quickly. Many of the producers of these animals refused to allow cameramen the ability to film the conditions in which these animals were raised, for fear of being dropped by one of the meat companies. One woman, who became sickened with her part in this animal cruelty and altering allowed cameras in to film her chickens. She explained that because they grew so quickly, the bones and joints couldn't keep up with the weight gain and therefore, many of the chickens were unable to walk more than a couple feet and some were not able to move at all. Daily, she removed dead birds from the barn which housed thousands of chickens at one time. Because of the ability to "grow" animals more quickly, time frames are cut in half and producers can begin a new batch of animals much sooner than they would if the animals were raised under "old fashioned" standards.
Some farmers told their stories of being sued by companies that found they were growing crops that didn't use their mutated genetically modified seeds. Soy, which we think of as being healthy is the most affected. The Monsanto company has produced a soybean that is not affected by Round-Up. If you've ever used Round-Up, you know it kills all plant life. Not so with the genetically altered soybean which isn't affected one bit by this weed killer. Farmers who don't work for Monsanto are under scrutiny and constant investigation and a couple of the farmers were sued because some of the seedlings from altered fields flew into their fields and parts of the crop became genetically modified. It seemed from the film, that the farmer of today has to fear for his/her life because big business wants to get their hands around their necks and their plows. 90% of the soy products in the USA are manufactured by Monsanto.
About 7 years ago, you may have read about a 2.5 year old boy that died of e coli after eating meat from a Jack in the Box restaurant. His mother has relentlessly tried to make sure that no other family has to suffer from the same loss that she and her family has.
The little boy became ill the day after eating and the parents found blood in his diarrhea. Upon taking him to the hospital, they were told his kidneys were shutting down and he had e coli; he died within two weeks because of it. The mother explains on the film that a recall of that meat hadn't been recalled until 16 days after her baby's death. Think of all the people that were infected because of it. Think of how many people may have died or suffered illness that brought them close to death as a result.
Today, people are fighting with Congress to get the following passed: labels that tell where your meat comes from, labels telling if your food has been genetically modified and labels that show contents of foods; such as fillers.
It was horrifying to see how much of the processed foods (burger, boneless meats, etc.) we eat have filler in them. The film showed how meat was cut up, pulled apart and washed in ammonia to kill potential viruses and diseases. It is then added to the meat that hasn't been treated in an effort to lower the risk of contamination. The fact that the animals are not washed or cleaned during slaughter, and they are caked with their own feces; made me vomit a bit in my mouth;knowing that the meat I was eating contained feces that wasn't visible.
Please look up Kevin's Law and do what you can to encourage Congress to inform the public about what they are eating. We should have the right to make that decision.
What exactly happens when something is genetically modified?
Genetic engineering (GE) or modifying (GM) food is the laboratory process of artificially manipulating or inserting genes into the DNA of food crops or animals. They can be engineered with genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals and even humans. The USA is not required to label foods that have been altered in this way.
Buying foods that boast to be 100% organic are not allowed to contain any GM foods. If they are not 100%, then they could have been altered with. Most GM foods have corn, soybeans, canola and cottonseed in them. Sugar beets may soon become GM so look for foods that contain 100% cane sugar, evaporated cane juice or organic sugar.
Very few fresh fruits and veggies in the USA are GM foods. Seedless watermelons are not modified. Some small amounts of our corn, zucchini and squash may be so buy these items organic. The only GM fruit is papaya from Hawaii.
Look for 100% grass fed animals and wild fish rather than farmed fish to avoid GM meat. Eggs that are non-GM are harder to find. Many of the chickens are raised with corn feed and drugs. Some non-GM brands are Eggland's Organic, Egg Innovations Organic, Land O'Lakes Organic, Wilcox Farms Organic and Organic Valley. Foods that you buy at Whole Foods; or have labels from Amy's Kitchen, Wildwood, White Wave, Sunshine Burger and Vitasoy will be GM free.
Some dairy farms give their cows rbST to boost milk production, but we now know that this is dangerous and therefore stores like Kroger, Meijer and Walmart now state they do not buy milk from farmers that do this. Some of the products by the following companies are non-GM and rbST free:
Alta Dena, Horizon Dairy, Morningland, Organic Valley, Seven Stars Farm, Wisconsin Organics, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Brown Cow Farm, Sunshine Dairy Foods, Promised Land Dairy, Farmland Dairy and if you go to HealthierEating.org you will find more listings.
Our most popular foods such as those made by Betty Crocker, Knorr, Lipton, Kraft, Near East, General Mills, Kellogg, Post and Quaker have GM foods in their ingredients. It is near impossible to eat and not have something that has been genetically altered. Just eat less of these foods and eat more fresh foods.
In conclusion, our food industry is slowly killing us. It is so very important that we begin to read labels and be more conscience of what we are putting into our mouths. In our children's mouths. This quest I resolve to make; eating foods that are not GM and if I do, to make them the lesser part of the diet, is going to be a difficult and truly painful one. My body has been genetically compromised which forces me to crave foods that contain fructose, GM ingredients and MSG, salt and other additives. Like cocaine or nicotine; my body wants to fill itself with these tasty and arousing foods that add comfort to my psyche and pounds to my frame.
We often don't realize the effects of the foods that we eat. I never did. It wasn't until my kids went to their doctor and were told that they and I (which I already knew) were overweight and we were looking at the early onsets of type II Diabetes and a life of obesity unless we looked at fructose and high fructose corn syrup as a poison. After shopping a few times, I realized that almost everything we ate had this in it. Then, I decided to take MSG off of our shopping list. Another third of our food was eliminated. Knowing now that foods that are out of season (our fruits and veggies) can be GM made me queasy too. What the heck can we eat?
As I stated before; seek out farmer's markets. Eat meat that is free range and grass fed. Buy milk that is free of chemicals. One forkful at a time. That is how we have to begin.
© 2009 Laura Cole