Consumed is the new movie which deals with the controversial world of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in an unprecedented manner, offering insights into their risks for human health.
Its release could not be timelier in the wake of the recent news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first genetically-engineered salmon for human consumption.
The salmon fish, just like many other genetically-engineered ingredients in this country, shall not be labeled, leaving the American consumer society in total darkness! And like many food and environmental safety activists around the world, I-AM-OUTRAGED!
It looks like the biotech industry and the FDA have hijacked not only our basic rights as consumers, but also our fundamental human rights in the face of corporate monopolization of our food supply.
They are jeopardizing our health and the environment more than ever before! When will the governmental agencies put themselves in place to protect us from servicing the “bottom line” of corporations?
The Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization, has announced that it is going to sue the FDA over this unethical decision, citing opposition from more than 40 members of the Congress, more than 300 environmental, consumer, health and animal welfare organizations, salmon and fishing groups and associations, food companies, chefs and restaurants and about 2 million people who filed public comments.
Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union, in detailed comments submitted to the FDA, argues that the FDA review process was based on “sloppy science” and the genetically-engineered salmon could pose many risks.
“Because FDA’s assessment is inadequate, we are particularly concerned that this salmon may pose an increased risk of severe, even life-threatening allergic reactions to sensitive individuals,” he writes.
Mr. Hansen also notes that “this analysis does not conform to FDA standard for assessment of a New Animal Drug. That’s right, the genetically engineered salmon is being regulated as an “animal drug”—not a food, an “animal drug.”
Here lays the inherent hypocrisy plaguing our regulatory agencies. The FDA does not label genetically-engineered foods, including the newly approved salmon, because they have deemed them “substantially equivalent” to their non-genetically engineered counterparts.
In essence, they are not different enough to be labeled. Yet they are so different that they are the first organisms in history to be patented. The logic is obviously confounding!
The FDA, whose mission is “to protect and promote your health”, has failed consumers by approving the commercialization of genetically-engineered “salmon.”
Not only has it used inadequate science, but it has also turned its backs on the majority of Americans who believe they have a fundamental right to know what is put in their food. A 2013 New York Times poll found that 93% percent of the Americans insist on labeling GMO’s. More than 60 countries in the world label GMOs, and in some cases even ban them, but the US still does not have this practice.
To my dismay, genetically-modified seeds have not undergone any long-term safety by the FDA on animals or humans and the scientific community remains divided on their safety.
I’m shocked by those who think that to question GMOs is “anti-scientific.” This gross mischaracterization must be put into question this very moment if we are to ensure food democracy!
A group of the most respected scientific bodies in the world including Codex Alimentarius (jointly run by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural organization of the U.N.),
The American Medical Association, The British Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association, have stated that, “through pre-market safety assessments, more research needs to be done on GMOs before we can truthfully determine their safety.”
In addition, since genetically-modified crops are “married” to the chemicals sprayed on them, their consumption poses an overwhelming array of potential risks. According to a 2012 study published in Environmental Sciences Europe, GMO herbicide-tolerant crops have led to a 527,000,000 pound (239,043,178 kilograms) increase in herbicide use in the US between 1996 and 2011.
The World Health Organization recently concluded that glyphosate, the main ingredient in the most-used herbicide on GMOs, is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
One study found glyphosate in 60% to 100% of the rain water in some agricultural areas. More than 3,200 elementary schools in the US are within 1,000 feet (305 meters) of genetically-modified corn or soybean fields—do you question yourselves what will be the effects of these toxic chemicals on children?
With the FDA’s approval of the first genetically-engineered animal now a reality, we have set a dangerous precedent for what is to come. As citizens, we must air our voices and demand from the authorities to hear them at this crucial moment in our nation’s history.
This is what you need to do for your own sake and the sake of your offspring:
1. Determinedly tell your congressional representatives to stand up for your rights
2. Help spark a larger conversation about the food we are eating in this country.
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The American Medical Association
The British Medical Association
American Public Health Association
Environmental Sciences Europe