Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Frankenfood: It's Alive!

I report for a local news website called Patch where I cover community events and write a weekly restaurant column for a nearby Long Island town. For one of my most recent articles, I volunteered to cover a lecture called The New Generation of Food.

During the program, a nutritional consultant who has dedicated much of his career to learning about the subject spoke about genetically modified foods or GMOs. He explained that almost 80% of food in the United States has been genetically manipulated.

These “Frankenfoods,” as they are sometimes referred, are injected with the live DNA of other organisms such as fish, insects, and bacteria, to create high-yielding crops and food products that are made to (among other things), resist high levels of herbicides and pesticides and have longer shelf life.We are talking ice cream made with flounder genes and tomatoes stemmed from bacteria.

To the rising concern of those who were in attendance, the lecture raised the question:

Do we really know what we are eating?

Since GMO foods are not required to be labeled in America, you may not. Furthermore, since this is still such a new technology, scientists still don’t know what, if anything, might be the effect of these space age-sounding foods on our bodies in the long-term. It was described during the lecture as an “experiment” on human kind.

There is much debate surrounding this topic and a lot more questions and concerns like: whatever happened to pure, naturally grown foods? Why are they becoming outnumbered? And without labels, how can you avoid GMOs?

In my article, there is a helpful guide to reading PLU/price lookup stickers--you know the tiny round stickers that you find on some fruit and produce? The first numbers on those labels can actually provide some insight to how a product was grown.

I am sharing the article with you here, as I thought that many of you might find it interesting. Check it out: Frankenfood: It’s Alive!


Mother Rimmy said...

I've been learning a lot about this subject this past year. It's definitely very enlightening and has made me far more aware of the products I pick from the grocery store shelves.


Nicole Rivera said...

Just found this post in the email. A great post and your article is very good too. I am from Staten Island, so I am bummed that I didn't know of that event considering it was sort-of local, but your run-down makes me feel like I was there.

On Saturday, a bunch of people watched the Changing the Way We Eat TEDx event on the internet and put a facebook group together to discuss these food issues. I put a link to your post there, but I also want to invite you to join in case this is something you are interested in. Here is the link, we welcome anyone who wants to do something about getting good food back on the table!!/home.php?sk=group_191834737502915&notif_t=group_activity

Also, each Friday, I do a "Food Reads" section in my Friday Food Finds blog post - I will be including both your post and article in there this week!

Claudia said...

It's an interesting topic to be sure. My son who works in plant panthology heralds GMO's this because of the possibility of truly feeding the world. Discussion is good.

elle marie said...

I really think here lies one of the issues with obesity in the U.S..... of course other factors come into play.... but that's really scary...

I think HFCS is to blame a large part of that too..