I just watched an absolutely mind-blowing movie found on YouTube called The Future of Food. This movie comments on gene patenting and the introduction of genetically-modified foods (perhaps more correctly so, its integration), into our food chain.
The initial intent of introducing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) was to assist the speed and cost-effectiveness of growing crops to help feed the world. One alarming consequence that arose from the work on GMOs, however, was that genetically-modified plants led to the development of the terminator gene, whereby crops have been programmed to “commit suicide” after one harvest season. These genetically-modified plants produce sterile seeds that cannot be used the following season. Scarily enough, this movie raised important questions for consideration – what would happen if these terminator genes contaminated other crops around the world? What long-term effects do GMOs cause when consumed by our livestock? What happens to the insects that pollinate these genetically-modified plants?
Epigenetics is the study of heritable alterations in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in DNA sequence. To relate this idea back to the discussion of our agriculture, while organic produce may be loosely “indistinguishable” from GMO produce at quick glance, there are undeniable differences between it and our organic produce and this is seen in subsequent generations of genetically-modified plants (it may look like “regular” crop and produce seeds, but seeds from these genetically-modified plants are not viable and therefore unable to produce future crop).
The food we are consuming is often over-looked as playing a contributory role in the progression of disease. Remember, the body is amazing at being able to take a high-level of “abuse” before it reaches a tipping point, whereby illness manifests. Just because you are able to buy it off the store shelf, does not mean it is a food you should be eating. The fact of the matter is that we do not know what the long-term effects genetically-modified foods will have on our bodies, on our health or the health of our families. Unfortunately, we cannot forecast what unintended consequences may come from these food choices.
My advice: choose quality foods over quantity. Purchase the best quality food you are able, opting for a food that is not genetically-modified (as indicated by its SKU code), and is local and organic. You owe it to yourself to consider the effect GMOs will have on human epigenetics and epigenetic inheritance, which means that what you eat can affect the health and wellness of your grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. A major advantage of choosing locally-produced crop is that it is harvested when it is at its peak nutritive value. According to this movie, local food travels an average of 50 miles (80 km), whereas food in the average supermarket is said to travel an average of 1500 miles (2414 km). To give you a better appreciation of what that means, the longest east-west distance of Toronto is approximately 43 km, and for Ontario it is 1690 km. The bottom line – the nutritional content of your food decreases the further your food has to travel before it reaches the produce isle at your grocery store and subsequently, your family’s dinner table.