I hate Frankenfoods. They get stuck in my teeth.

India rejected the nation’s first genetically modified food after their farmers protested. Good for them! Genetically modified food has not been tested on humans. Well…unless… you count the fact that in the U.S., we’ve been tested on for years without our knowledge. “Huh?” you say? According to this Wikipedia article, GM foods have been available to the processed food industry since the 1990s and 75% of all processed food contains at least one GM ingredient. Yep. I never signed on to be a lab rat and neither did you, but sometimes our rights as citizens are benignly neglected for a few dollars in the right pockets.

Now, let’s ignore the fact that we are lab rats for a minute and think about the other implications of genetic engineering. Companies are allowed to patent their GM seeds. Already, there are legal battles going on between corporations and farmers over the simple act of saving seeds for the next years crops. Farmers don’t own the patented seeds, Corporations do. Farmers are required to buy the seeds each time they want to grow a crop, they cannot save seed for this purpose as Farmers have for millennia. If Farmer’s can’t save patented seed, neither can we. Our basic right as humans to feed ourselves in a self-sufficient manner is being removed.

A friend of mine let me know about this documentary on Hulu.com (Thanks R.!). It is called The Future of Food and it runs about an hour and a half with short commercial breaks. If you have time, I encourage you to watch it.

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I have been following this issue for years. For me, I try to avoid most processed foods unless they are made of mostly organic ingredients. I eat organics as much as I can and buy locally from farmers who use organic or sustainable practices and grow heirloom varieties of food. I have even gone so far as to seek out organic canola oil that has been tested for GMOs since canola has had problems with contamination in the past. It’s difficult and I don’t do a great job (I have a bit of a restaurant addiction) but I think it’s important to limit my exposure to GMOs as much as I can.



  1. rb said,

    February 12, 2010 at 5:33 am

    ha! brilliant image! fabu photoshopping!
    good pithy writing too.
    somehow i will never think of frankenstein’s monster in quite the same way.

    ah how quickly we forget the potato famine and the dust bowl.

    • Mimi said,

      February 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm

      Thanks! I knew I could get you out of lurkdom with that Frankeneggplant.

  2. Andreas said,

    February 12, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    As far as I know, the problem with seeds harvested from GM plants is not so much that they are patented, but that they are sterile and will not grow in the following year.
    So the farmers have to buy new seeds each year not because they feel morally obliged to respect a patent, but out of sheer need to survive.

    • Mimi said,

      February 12, 2010 at 7:41 pm

      Ahh yes, terminator seed technology! This is true and thank you for bringing that up! Just another way these companies make money at the expense of the farmers.

      The seeds don’t always have the terminator gene. The documentary I linked to on my blog talks about an accident where a farmer spilled GM canola seeds along the road by another farm. The seed was viable and grew on the other farmer’s fields. That second farmer got sued my Monsanto.

      Another problem is pollen drift. The pollen of GMO corn has drifted onto fields of non GMO corn and created a hybrid situation. If this corn is planted instead of consumed, you have a new problem if this stuff gets into our food supply (some GMO plants aren’t meant for food, they are meant for medicine, etc.). You also have the patent issue. What a mess!

      • Jeremy said,

        February 18, 2010 at 8:19 pm

        No Terminator technology has been commercialised yet. It would prevent one problem you refer to, that of pollen drift.

  3. Natashya said,

    February 13, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Totally scary. Unfortunately the video only shows in the U.S. but I can imagine.. makes one want to crawl back under the covers.

  4. Jeremy said,

    February 13, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I just wish the Indian government had been able to ban the GM aubergine because the people didn’t want it. Unfortunately TRIPS agreements and the WTO don’t allow that. Instead they have to go with that silly “safety” argument. If safety mattered, governments would ban fugu, and peanuts, and alcohol. Safety is a complete red herring.

  5. ohiofarmgirl said,

    February 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    thanks for the update, Mimi. and yep its not necessarily about sterile seeds..in fact, i ‘glean’ the leftover corn from a neighbor (for the livestock) after they combine and have grown corn from it. but shhhh….dont tell or they’ll come and arrest me for stealing their technology. and its not a moral obligation its contractual. this ain’t your grandpappy’s farmin’ anymore.

    while i’m all for improving crops..some of the frankenfood creeps me out. i’m very happy to grown my own. a lot of our veggies come from heritage seeds and from saving the previous years seeds intentionally or sometimes just what the chickens have missed.

    keep up the great work, Mimi!

  6. Jeanne said,

    February 13, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing the documentary! Frankenfoods definitely scare me. I eat organic and local as much as I can, but I still wonder whether any of the organic crops have been “contaminated” with patented seeds. It’s unfortunate that we are losing seed varieties that have been passed down through generations to contamination from roundup ready seeds.

    I still can’t believe that GM foods do not have to be labeled. Even if the FDA tells us they are “safe”, we should be allowed to choose what we eat.

  7. drfugawe said,

    February 18, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Mimi,
    Good post! Agree with all you say – but I think that the louder and more aggressive the makers of GM foods get, the more knowledge will be passed to the American public – and then, if the public is emboldened, maybe … just maybe, Congress may be willing to ignore their corporate $$$ donations and finally play a role in finding a fix for this nasty issue.

    Thanks for keeping this on the front burner.

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