Students may think they are doing themselves a favor by purchasing foods with labels such as “natural,” “healthy” or “whole grain,” what they are getting is far from organic. The Food and Drug Administration does no independent testing of the safety and viability of either short or long term consumption of GE foods. Instead, they rely on biases and likely faulty input from biotechnology companies. Washington residents are rallying up to ensure their freedom of choice. The “Label It WA” initiative that gained over 350,000 signatures, which supports the labeling of all food products containing GE foods. California approved promoted a similar bill, Prop-37, which successfully raised awareness and negative press from GE companies. The entire country of Germany banned the use of Monsanto corn, and Poland banished the use of Monsanto corn as well as BASF potatoes. Come next November, I-522, a part of the “Let Me Decide” Campaign, will have the chance to be engraved as Washington’s law. Silvia Wilson, who rallied and gained petitioners throughout Bellevue College and around the local area, said in an informational PowerPoint that GE crops pose as “environmental hazards” that become “pesticide resistant” and are lacking “published human studies” on their effects on the mind and body.
In a local survey, 79 percent of people said they knew of GE foods, with the remaining 21 percent unaware. The process utilizes restriction enzymes that isolate and extract DNA from two completely different organisms. From extracted strands of DNA, the desired genes are plucked and then cloned. Ttransgenic plants are crossbred with favorable species of plants. The offspring of these plants are systematically bred with the elite line to achieve a high yielding, resistant product. Because these biological concoctions can still naturally breed with organic heirloom strains, they make those crops susceptible to their potential effects, and often leave organic farmers unaware of the contamination until their heirloom crops cannot be salvaged. Silvia reinforced this fact by saying, “GMO contamination can’t be reserves.” The GE crops are also fed to animals bred for their industrial production of meat. A solid 80 percent of GE soybeans are processed for animal feed, which as a result contaminates meat, milk and eggs. The biotechnology industry spent more than half a million dollars in campaign and lobbying contributions between the years 1999 and 2009 to ensure the regulatory oversight of GE foods remain watered down. Since then, GE foods have remained unlabeled. Unless provoked by schools, media, family or friends, people remain uneducated about what is in the food they eat. They don’t know that millions of cells in their own bodies stem from genetically engineered food sources.