posted by the vegan husband
On a recent trip to Wegman’s to purchase melatonin for our dog (don’t ask), I encountered packaging which included the phrase, “Contains no GMO’s.”
“What are GMO’s?” I asked the vegan better half.
“Genetically Modified Organisms. They are in a lot of products now.”
“Are vegans against GMO’s?” I asked sheepishly.
She looked at me as if I had asked if vegans were against genocide or James Carville. “Everyone is against them,” she glared. “They change the DNA of the product.”
Would it be a problem if we had pomegranates as big as basketballs or grapes as big as pomegranates? Should I worry about a carrot having a new DNA footprint? And is “DNA footprint” really a term or did I just make it up? Clearly, I needed to educate myself on GMO’s and GMF’s (Genetically Modified Foods).
Inject GMO’s into a conversation and most people think of tomatoes. Tomatoes (unfortunately named “Flavr Savr’s”) that could ripen on the vine and still have a long shelf life after being picked made a splash in the mid-1990’s. But nobody really wanted a tomato that could hang around for weeks on end. Plus, they tasted like a mildly tomatoey Styrofoam ball, and everyone knows Styrofoam is bad for the environment.
Before the decade was done, the great GMO debate was over. Or so we thought.
While the world was sleeping and eating food that actually tasted good, scientists around the world started genetically modifying things like sugar beets, soy beans, squash, corn, potatoes, animal feed, and salmon. They made “golden rice” which is infused with Vitamin A. And, it shouldn’t surprise you that they’re taking another crack at the tomato. I’ve seen statistics saying 70% of our foods have some GMO’s in them.
Some of the thought behind genetic modification seems based in common sense. They made vegetables resistant to insects. That seemed like a good idea. Then they made vegetables resistant to pesticides. Which begs the question if they were resistant to the pests, why would you even need the pesticides?
Eventually, the genetically modified vegetables won’t need pesticides to fight off bugs or fertilizers to help them grow. And then we’ll have a new name for them.
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