Parts 1 and 2 described what GMOs are and we spoke about some details of GMOs. If you missed either article, go to recent articles to read Parts 1 and 2. Today’s issue includes Part 3, I continue to interview Michael Funk, Women For Natural Living’s expert, for more insight on GMOs.
MO: I heard a few experts talking about GMOs, 2,4-D and Agent Orange components or elements within it. What is it exactly? Is it in use today and what do you think the ramifications of this substance is on our health, our body, and environment?
MF: Well it’s not in use today, and there’s an application that the USDA has to approve these new GMO crops. Monsanto is the maker of this crop and they have not got approval yet from the USDA on this and it’s under review. The reason they’re bringing this out is because many of the GMO crops that have been in existence for the last ten years have been bred for an herbicide resistance and the insects are starting to become immune to the chemicals. Roundup Ready is the classic Monsanto product that has been sprayed over and over in the last decade or two and now we’re seeing super weeds develop resistance to it. The 2,4-D is a newer, stronger chemical and one of only many that are coming out that are going to be necessary to deal with these super weeds. The pesticide treadmill has been shown time and time again that eventually insects adapt and become immune to this. We’re just going down this treadmill of ever increasing stronger and more toxic chemicals at a greater harm to our environment.
MO: What are the top areas that consumers should consider when shopping? Should they be buying natural products, organic, non-GMO? They believe it has become a little bit confusing so what do you recommend?
MF: I think the number one thing you can do to educate yourself about is which are the crops that are genetically engineered. Right now it’s a fairly small universe and almost all your produce is now genetically engineered. Monsanto just introduced the one sweet corn and there’s zucchini and a crookneck that are in very small amounts of distribution so knowing which parts of the store you don’t have anything to worry about is one way to help avoid. The other is buying organic and organic by definition is free of GMOs, but we recommend you buy organic and then if you can buy organic and non-GMO verified because there are trace contaminations that gets in the food supply and with non-GMO verified you know people are testing. It’s not that hard to avoid certain crops so if you look at oil for example, canola oil and soya oil are highly likely to be GMO. It’s not hard to maybe choose oils that are just as good like safflower oil or olive oil or other types of food that don’t have those risks, and therefore you can be sure you’re avoiding GMOs as much as possible.
MO: What would you say is most important for consumers to keep in mind when selecting or choosing who they’re buying from? For example, with selecting from maybe a mainstream grocery store versus a local store or a farmer’s market, is that important?
MF: Well again if you’re shopping in a grocery store and if you can buy organic that’s your number one insurance policy to avoid GMOs. If you’re shopping produce just keep in mind what items might be GMO and there are many websites around and I’m sure you can find a couple you can recommend that tell people what the current GMO crops are. You do have to stay on top of it because new ones are introduced maybe a couple of times a year, but more importantly is that process of telling the Produce Manager at the store that you don’t want to buy any of the GMO crops or that you want them labelled and want to have a choice. If you start sending the message to whatever store you’re shopping at then it puts more of the responsibility on the retailers to start doing their homework. The retailers, many of them who have been instrumental with working with the Non-GMO project, they can take on a greater role in making sure consumers are getting the choices they want. Retailers are often in the best position to influence the supply and they just need to hear from the consumers that’s what they want.
MO: How about from a political standpoint – how can a regular person, as a consumer, take action?
MF: Well you mention going on to the Just Label It website, click on and cast your vote in Washington DC, and that’s certainly something you can do. There’s the initiative in California for your California readers, which is something to pay attention to and it’s going to be on the fall ballot and people can still sign up and add their signature to the initiative as they’re gathering signatures now.
MO: Well it’s been fantastic to talk to you. Do you have any final thoughts or words of wisdom to pass along to my readers?
MF: Get educated, get aware, and don’t get overwhelmed. Sometimes people almost give up because it’s so overwhelming and you start feeling like it’s not worth it, but it is worth it. We’ve taken a ton of pesticides out of our food that used to be fed to kids 20 or 30 years ago. We can continue to make strides and improve it, but we just have to stay persistent at it.
For more information on the Non-GMO Project’s testing and verification of risk ingredients and processed foods, please see the Non-GMO Project Standard. Visit: www.nongmoproject.org
If you agree that you have a right to know if the food you are eating has been genetically engineered, send a message to the FDA today. With just one click, you can show your support for the FDA petition requiring the labeling of GE foods and win back your right to know. Also visit: www.justlabelit.org
Right now, we have the choice to avoid GMOs (genetically modified organisms). We can choose organic products, which, by law, are required to be grown and processed without the use of GMOs.
We also have the right to know what we are eating, and the right to make informed choices about what we eat.
This is the final piece of my interview with Michael Funk. From time to time I will include GMO information and how we can provide the best quality of food for our families.