The only sure thing I know about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is that nothing about this hotly debated issue is black and white. Thousands of opinions are available for us to study and reflect upon; all written by reputable experts in a variety of medical and scientific disciplines. If we want, we can read about the advantages and disadvantages, we can weigh the pros and cons and we can heed the warnings but the final analysis is up to each individual alone. In my imagined store, a huge sign placed above the door would read:
SHOP AT YOUR OWN RISK
None of my inner circle, none of my associates, and no one person I meet during my daily routines gives a second thought to this concern when shopping for food. Upon inquiring why this was so, the resounding answer I got was, “It’s too confusing!” “We don’t have a choice. Everything is affected by GMOs today. Besides, it all tastes the same. And organic is too expensive”. Up until three years ago, my voice echoed the same sentiments. How about you?
If you heard that the goals of Genetically Modified Organisms were: 1) To feed the world in the year 2050 when the population will exceed 10 billion 2) Enhance pest resistance 3) Increase crop yields 4) Create new products, would you try them? Would you ask questions? I would ask questions. I did ask questions, but vegetable stall employees have wonderful smiles, clean hands and no answers for curious shoppers. Truth is, if anyone is bothered about GMOs, they keep it to themselves. In Canada, all GMO foods are put through a thorough assessment to insure they are as safe and nutritious as the foods already sold. The list of requirements includes 1) the food must be chemically safe 2) there must be no indication of causing allergic reactions 3) they are unlikely to introduce new toxins in the food 4) the nutritional content of the food meets the standard set by Health Canada. So far, so good, right? No! People, myself included, want the freedom to choose what we eat and in Canada GMO foods are not labelled as GMO.
Health Canada has reviewed and made available to the general public 140 Genetically Modified Foods since the year 2019. No announcement of these foods being less safe has ever been released to the Canadian population. We are assured that the risks associated with these foods are the same as foods produced by conventional means, although the possibility of a gene from an organism producing a protein that has no history as food, does exist.
Health Canada also insures that Organic Food is GMO free. Organic food standards forbid the use of GMOs in seeds, in animal feed and in the ingredients of processed organic food and products.
In Europe, I found 16 countries listed where GMOs were banned. In 2015, EU countries were given the freedom to decide for themselves if they wanted to grow GMO crops. Three more countries were added to the already existing list at that time, making a total of 19 countries refusing to grow Genetically Modified Foods. In total, there are 64 countries around the world where Genetically Modified foods must be labelled as such, Canada and the United States are NOT on this list. I have yet to perform a deep dive into this subject for the purpose of an article, however, it is my sincere intention to do so in the near future. In the meantime, dear readers, if ever there was a time to develop your skill as a detective, it is now. Bon Appetit I wish you a hearty appetite.