A few weeks ago, my dear cousins back on the East Coast emailed me an article discussing the soft-drink industry’s stand against tax hikes on sugary foods, asking for my opinion as a chef. Little did I know I would find myself typing away my thoughts until 1AM! With the campaign to label genetically engineered foods coming up for vote here in Washington this November, its so important for us to understand how far-reaching this issue is, right down to even our good ol’ soda-pop.
The biggest issue for my husband Jonathan & I is the issue of GMO corn (corn syrup) used in most soda. If its not organic, there is an assumption that the corn is a Monsanto genetically modified seed. They are a huge and powerful lobby, as is the soda industry, but people have the right to know what we are putting into our bodies. There is also the assumption that the volumes of sugar we are now consuming is contributing to our poor health and obesity. We are spending more on healthcare, with higher taxes, following the logic of taxing cigarettes and liquor.
The “Round-up ready” corn we are consuming in copious volumes of corn syrup is scary.
We are the only country in the developed world that does not require GMO labeling of our food.
On the ballot in Washington state this fall is Initiative Measure No. 522, that if passed, will require all foods be labeled if they contain a genetically engineered ingredient. All the chefs, Whole Foods, PCCs, natural food stores, nutritionists and others concerned with the future of our food, are fighting tooth and nail to get this passed.
It is no mystery that the rash of growing “allergies” – dairy intolerance, gluten intolerance, peanut allergies, and on and on – has grown exponentially in the past 50 years. Personally I believe it’s because we are messing with Mother Nature. Raw milk contains active live cultures and enzymes, which pasteurization kills. We are what our animals eat, and they are also eating GMO corn. Thus the push for pastured animals that has swept across the country. At this point the majority of our crops in the US is now GMO seed. Colony collapse of honey bees is also being linked to huge agribusinesses using pesticides and massive singular seed crops that provide no nutrition in the pollen. If you have not seen the movie “The Future of Food”, regarding what is happening to the corn, wheat and soybeans in our country, its a must-watch.
If soft-drink companies could certify that no genetically modified corn went into making corn syrup used in soda, that would be huge. Currently, there is no US law forcing agriculture to provide us with proof that the corn used in making corn syrup is or is not genetically altered. Natural sugar cane would be awesome. But not a plausible reality nationally at this time. Check out Jamie Oliver’s TED talk on what we are feeding our kids in schools. The visual of the amounts of sugar going into our children is heartbreaking. Also read the recent National Geographic cover story, “SUGAR Love (a not so sweet story)”.
I know many people aware of most of this already. Hey, we all buy and sell food and beverage that are not good for our health. Alcohol, sugar, bad fats, etc… but, we all should be aware of our choices. GMOs are super scary and people need to know if its something they’re consuming. The money Monsanto has to create ads dissuading folks from voting to have our food properly labeled is staggering.
People who are fighting for organics, heirloom grains, wild fish and healthy oceans, organic sugars and GMO food labeling are really fighting for their health. If you are a resident of Washington state, I urge you to become familiar with the I-522 bill and make an informed decision this November.