I usually try to keep my soapboxes reasonably well hidden; they only come out when something really gets my goat as I know they can be such a pain for everyone else. However on this occasion I welcome and applaud someone who has explained the whole shooting match of GMO and Monsanto’s Roundup far better than I ever could. New readers to the blog may not understand my perspective so here is a quick catch up. In 2013 I was treated for Mantle Cell Lymphoma – an extremely aggressive and very nasty cancer which was previously very rare and more usually found in agricultural workers. Why? Because it is almost certainly caused by Roundup – the one where they have to wear masks and protective gear to spray our food. However, it is now becoming far more common due to the huge amount of chemicals which are sprayed on or contained within the food we eat today. Pardon me for being slightly outspoken on this subject, but six cycles of extremely toxic and unpleasant chemotherapy followed by 23 days in isolation and a stem cell transplant do a lot to focus the mind.
Today I shared a post which related how Chipotle, a restaurant chain in the USA, has stopped serving GMO-sourced food and in the process has unwittingly unleashed a torrent of hostility from the rest of the food industry. What? A foodie breaking ranks and actually saying, “We want good, proper food, not Frankenstein food.” Thank heavens for a bit of sanity. The whole ugly scenario is beautifully described by Jonathan Latham of the Bioscience Resource Project, an independent organisation set up to balance the apparent lack of unbiased research into the risks of genetically modified food. His article is extremely long, and I can imagine that, fascinating as it is to someone like me, it may not be to everyone’s taste, if you pardon the pun. I was so delighted with it that I would like to highlight some parts in a moment. But it suddenly occurred to me, as I was ruminating on this blog, that if there weren’t a whole load of toxins out there which are very probably causing a lot of the cancers, then Big Pharma wouldn’t be supplying the drugs that are making them millions, and what on earth would happen then? Gosh. Now there is no way I am into conspiracy theories, but even my little mind started reeling when I realised how horrible this is. We eat food that makes us ill so that we need expensive medicines to make us better. Ooh. But I’m determined not to get political about this because that isn’t what this blog is about, and I think we are all perfectly capable of coming to our own conclusions.
So back to Chipotle and their incredibly brave stance in saying they will not serve GMO food. They have listened to what their customers have said – that they want proper, good quality food – and as a result have been set upon by the rest of the food industry and the media who are calling them irresponsible and unscientific. Chipotle, however, are running in the face of all the criticism and are in their own small way possibly, nay, hopefully, starting to change the face of the food industry. Obviously, as Latham points out, if one small chain starts to get and keep a lot of happy customers who are willing to pay a bit more for decent food, then the low value chains who focus on price rather than quality are going to lose out. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the trend changed towards good quality pesticide and GMO-free food and suddenly massive companies like MacDonalds were struggling to keep up?
Apparently there is a whole back story I wasn’t even aware of, which is unusual for me, this being my personal soapbox. Quite apart from the whole GMO saga, biotechnology is also responsible for supplying ever stronger pesticides as weeds become resistant to Roundup; the result being that farmers are increasing not only the use of such chemicals but are using combinations of them in their attempts to defy nature, so anyone eating non-organic food will be exposed to toxins many hundreds of times above their ‘safe’ limits. Residues of these are found in products like soya beans, which is of course widely touted as being the veggie alternative to meat. Scary, isn’t it? I won’t go on as you are all perfectly capable of doing your own research, but I loved one particular paragraph in Latham’s article:
“The historic situation is this: in any country, public acceptance of GMOs has always been based on lack of awareness of their existence. Once that ignorance evaporates and the scientific and social realities start to be discussed, ignorance cannot be reinstated. From then on the situation moves into a different, and much more difficult phase for the defenders of GMOs.”
You can find his article in its full glory here http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/14575-monsantos-worst-fear-coming-true.html?c=ngr
So there you have it. The cat is well and truly let out of the bag. Thank you Jonathan Latham for an excellent article.