We don’t question the integrity of a company’s commercial images, as they flash before us on television. Happy couples and their kids having fun eating and drinking delicious looking food! I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good chocolate bar, energy drink or a burger now and then?
We trust food companies to deliver us better-tasting products. Eating them gives our body a euphoria of satisfaction. The feeling woos us into a happy marriage where we’ll overlook the bad and focus on the good. Eating and sleeping are sometimes the best part of my day! However, focusing on eating for taste is not the only thing that should matter.
There are some fundamental problems in our food system and it has landed both consumers and manufacturers in hot water. Furthermore, reading this article you’ll see the ethical dilemma of how food is grown and the circumstances around it. I will discuss the creation of this new technology, by whom and at what cost.
Why it’s important to label food.
Thankfully when we look at the packaging, we don’t see disrupted habitats, acidic rivers, lakes, and dead animals. The truth is there’s not enough quality educated communication between the consumer and manufacturers today. People need more food labeling to help us discern what is what! There are issues in the food industry and we can’t grasp the reality until it’s affected our lives. It’s the invisible enemy that is ravaging the planet and it won’t get better unless labeling procedures change.
During the 1990s the government allowed the creation of a new industry without the mandatory labeling system of its products. Manufacturers that supply grocery stores were not willing to declare a newly engineered product. Mostly, because the product looks exactly like products initially supplied to them by the same farmers. There was no cause for alarm.
However, Genetically Modified Organisms have turned out to be a pretty big deal. Seed manufacturers are propelling the food industry into a private takeover of all major seed stocks and with it, they’re taking over our right to eat unadulterated, affordable food. Genetically modified seeds have been allowed a patent only because their DNA has been modified. Thus benefiting the farmers and their needs.
The new food revolution
The seed company has it’s representatives travel farm to farm to promote their “roundup ready” seed to Farmers across the country. They’ve promised these hard-working folks a chance to implement a technique that reduces stress and workload through the arduous task of protecting their crops.
Farmers use herbicides like Roundup which protect their crops from weeds that rob sunlight, nutrients, and water. These seeds allow them to cover the crops with the herbicide without the worry of killing their actual crop. Once the farmer buys the seeds and before the ink is dry on the contract the farmer gives up his rights. The right since farming began back in 8000 BC to select seeds from their strongest plant.
This time-honored tradition gave Farmers the ability to pick and reuse seeds from their healthiest and strongest plants. This patented seed now enables the company to charge whatever they want every season, ensuring that farmers pay again and again. They’ll go to great lengths ensuring everyone is paying their share.
There are a couple of scenarios that have happened in the past that threaten the future of food. Firstly, the genes of the seed meet the needs of the Famer, NOT biodiversity. Instead of choosing a seed that has exchanged its genetics through millions of years. Farmers buy seeds tailored for profitability and efficiency in large scale chemical use.
An example of a failure in the system caused by poor genetic biodiversity was during the time of the potato famine. The farmers were not using seeds instead they used potato sections from the parent potato. Farming this way had created clones of their parents and it produced genetically identical plants. The result was famine and suffering and it will happen if companies are messing around with biodiversity. The potential of farmers ending up paying an inflated price for seeds will result in prices rising for consumer and ultimately they’ll go without or pay more for a portion.
Secondly, the food we’re eating is pushing the demand for a seed that has ruined the lives of farmers. There is one particular story of a hard-working family losing everything to fight court battles. An encounter stemming from the accusations of illegally using patented seeds. (Monsanto Canada Inc VS Schmeiser)
A Canadian farmer named Percy Schmeiser learned the consequences of the introduction of (GMO) in the environment are profound. The wind picks up the patented pollen and blows it into the neighbor’s farm. The plants cross-pollinate and the genetic material combines to produce seeds that contain traits from both plants. The farmer continues working using the seeds he selected through generations of farming. Then one day gets a knock on the door… A lawyer arrives asking for the payment of a license fee for using the patented technology. In this case, the farmer refused and Monsanto sued. It’s important to know what the hidden costs of our food can be.
Foods affected by GMO’s
The Marketing industry is blanketing us with glossy covers and promises which make it difficult to make sound ethical choices. Twenty-six years after the creation of this new food industry the government of Canada has only put together a standard guideline for the VOLUNTARY labeling of GMOs.
The food stocks that GMO companies target are Corn, Soy, Rice, Canola, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peas, Cottonseed, Alfalfa, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, and Papaya. They’ve covered all of the major ones we love to eat and this is the tricky part! Keep in mind that Genetically modified food is not proven to harm humans. It’s super important to keep in mind why we reach for an Organic alternative it is to support an ethical industry.
While shopping we should look for companies that are actively trying to create products that support ethical practices worldwide.
Nine Organic food companies locally operated in Vancouver B.C.
- New World
- Sweetcane Sugar
- Tomato Garden
- Left Coast
- Nature’s Path
- First Choice
- Que Pasa Foods