Dear Newspaper:

I’d like to raise awareness of a very serious consumer issue. Genetically modified organisms or “GMOs” are in around 80% of the processed foods we eat, and yet they are neither proven safe, nor labeled.

The culprit foods are mainly those containing GM soy, canola, cotton, sugar beets and corn. These crops and a large number of derivatives of these crops are in the vast majority of the foods we eat, and yet we are denied the right to know, and the right to choose. These foods are hidden from our sight, which is unacceptable.

These are lab-made, unnatural, novel organisms, produced by an imprecise technology. It’s a technology that allows scientists (on the payroll of businesses) to take genes from one species, and insert them into the DNA of another species. This is something that has never been done before in the whole evolution of life on Earth. The collateral damage to DNA caused by these biotech methods is unknowable and so unintended effects are also unknowable and are not even being looked for. This is very dangerous technology brought to market quickly in the name of profit.

In many scientific mammal feeding studies, the same GMOs we consume every day were found to cause allergies, organ damage and low birth weight to name but a few. Despite the many red flags raised by existing studies, no human trials have been carried out and GMOs have been released into our food and into the environment.

As well as health dangers, GMOs cross pollinate with non-GMO crops and are devastating organic and heirloom varieties of our food. As well as “no choice” in our supermarkets, Monsanto and the other multi-national corporations are giving our farmers no choice, by contaminating non-GMO crops with their GMO transgenes.

Decades, even generations of painstaking seed selection and development by a farming family, can be destoyed by GMOs in a single season. Despite this, Monsanto can and does sue these same farmers for patent infringement–an absurd situation… and yet it is happening and being allowed to continue unchecked by the authorities and courts. A terrible injustice is being done to farmers and farming communities, who are gradually being put out of business or forced to tow the corporate line. Tradition, community, accumulated farming wisdom and biodiversity is being eroded by corporate monoculture.

In Canada, organic canola was wiped out by contamination by GM canola. Here in the US, Secretary Vilsack has recently allowed planting of GM alfalfa which is estimated to contaminate all varieties of alfalfa within 5 years. This threatens all organic meat and dairy in the US as well as threaten the stability of the most important forage crop we have.

You may wonder why we are not protected by our regulatory authorities. And the answer, as is so common, is that vested interests, powerful market strategies, corporate lobbying and revolving doors (e.g. industry employees assigned to high level government regulatory positions) are protecting big business interests above all other considerations.

These are just a few of the very serious and disturbing effects of this new technology which is a combination of bad science, conducted by big business, motivated by profit and sold on empty promises by powerful marketers.

At the very least, we deserve, and should demand the right to know what’s in our food. We have the right to be informed of potential dangers to our health. And most of all, the right to say “NO, we don’t want to buy it.”

Sincerely,

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