Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Corny Lessons

My mom used to have a little magnet up that read "You can never be too rich or too thin". I saw that phrase quoted in a lot of places while growing up in the 80's.

It's come to mind a lot lately. And I think that the corn industry has proved it wrong, on both counts. Although many people theorize that corn is one of the primary causes of the expanding waistbands of Americans in general, for those with severe intolerance it can have the opposite affect. You see, in order to form fat cells, food has to sit around in the body long enough to be absorbed and digested. Some forms of intolerance cause the body to attempt to rapidly rid itself of identified attackers...including corn.

The guru of genetic engineering, mastermind of maize has proven that one can be too rich, at least as part of a corporation. It boggles my mind how one corporation can grow large enough to dominate the food supply. Sometimes it seems that there are connections, interwoven webs with Monsanto and Corn vital strands. Genetic modification still seems very arrogant to me. How can we presume to know enough about DNA and intricate workings of nature to manipulate the gene pool of the food we rely upon to nourish us? With the knowledge that releasing these genes into the open air, they become impossible to contain should come the responsibility to hold on to that particular technology. There are too many questions left unanswered. Why would anyone gamble our future, our children's health and world, on an arrogant science when better options exist? It boils down to money. There's money in new products, new techniques, new patents. Old ways can't be patented, they can't earn residual income.
Where are the people who are supposed to look out for us? Who's in charge? Well, it looks like the guy who convinced the FDA to treat genetically modified food as "substantially equal" to naturally grown food is now a Senior Adviser to the FDA. And the choice for Under Secretary of Agriculture doesn't trust the American public to make our own decisions about what we do or don't want in products labeled "milk". Otherwise why would he have fought to make it illegal for companies that refuse to use rBGH to label their products rBGH free? (And isn't it a violation of our constitutional right to free speech to forbid a company to advertise the truth about their own product? They weren't bad mouthing rBGH. Just stating that their product was hormone free.)

I suppose since our household is predominantly dairy free, I shouldn't stress too much. But I want to know what's in my food. I think that the American people have a right to know. And I don't think that monetary compensation should have anything to do with what we can and can't know about our food.
The truth is that people don't want extra hormones. They don't trust pesticides or genetic modification. They know that general health has been declining over the past 100 years, even if life spans might increase and treatments for disease improve the odds. Our general health and well being has been steadily going downhill. And we know, instinctively, that it's in our diet and lifestyle.
We aren't suffering from a deficit in gym memberships. We aren't suffering from a deficit in food, nor are we GMO deficient and we certainly don't suffer from lack of rBGH in our dairy products (which we faithfully chug thanks to the dairy boards "Got Milk" campaign). There's something wrong with the packaged food lifestyle, and modifying crops to increase yield, decrease variety and monopolize the food chain is not the answer.
We want simplicity. We want truth. And we want to be trusted with the truth. Unless the government trusts us, how can we trust them?

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