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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hey Food Activists: Can We Get a Ban on GMOs and BGH?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 8:35 AM

  • PCC Farmland Trust

California's food activists are on the verge of gaining a ban on the import of shark fins. And starting next July, sale of foie gras in this state will be illegal.

We care about animal welfare here; we passed a law regulating the size of chickens' cages. But perhaps because we're awed by our own godlike scientific powers, we don't seem nervous at all about gene-modified organisms (GMOs) or bovine growth hormone (BGH).

Genetically modified foods are banned throughout the European Union. But most of us eat food that has been affected by gene modification every week.

More than 90% of soybeans in the United States have had an herbicide-resistant gene spliced in from bacteria so that chemical companies can force-sell herbicides to farmers.

Soybeans go into all kinds of processed foods where you wouldn't expect them, and if you're vegetarian, you're eating them in practically every meat substitute. And soybeans aren't the only GMO on the market. Canola oil is 93% modified; corn is 86% modified. Cows now eat GMO alfalfa (banned under George W. Bush, legalized under Obama).

Marin and Mendocino Counties have joined Europe in banning GMOs, but where's the movement for a statewide ban?

  • Disturbed Society

As for BGH, the United States is the only major first-world country to allow its use. BGH forces cows to grow at an unnatural rate and produce more milk, resulting in a 25% increase in mastitis and a 55% increase in lameness (this is a technical term encompassing a variety of physical ailments, but yeah, we hate lameness.)

As for the effect on humans of drinking milk from hormonally modified cows, the FDA considers it safe. Whoopee! But shark's fin is not only safe to eat; it's considered a health food by many Chinese, so we shouldn't need human health concerns to start working on a ban.

Starbucks and Ben & Jerry's have pledged not to use milk from cows treated with BGH. You know who else does? Safeway. You know who doesn't? The state of California.

Seriously, food activists: Can we at least get California's health standards up to the level of Safeway's?

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W. Blake Gray


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