Originally published February 24 2011
Consumer confidence in organic products may be at risk as more GMO foods are unleashed
by Paula Rothstein
(NaturalNews) Caught within a food industry fraught with manipulation and confusion over the labeling of its ingredients, "organic" continues to be the one word sophisticated shoppers look for as the best indicator of a source which is pure and wholesome. However, that confidence could easily be shaken if the consumer begins to believe it tainted by genetically engineered crops.
As biotech companies like Monsanto gain dominance and influence over market forces, organic farming falls into perilous times as they fight with limited resources for greater regulation. It is a fight they appear to be losing as demonstrated in the recent decision by the USDA to fully deregulate Monsanto's genetically engineered alfalfa. This decision took even the most skeptical member of the organic community by surprise.
It appears their interests are not being protected nor are their concerns being heard. Over 250,000 comments were posted, most favoring greater regulation of GE crops, when the USDA without any warning ended the informational process. Monsanto was given the right to continue working with genetically engineered alfalfa without any regulation.
With each introduction of genetically engineered seeds to the market, the state of our plate is further denatured and altered in ways even the USDA cannot comprehend. Only time will prove if humans can tolerate this denigration of the food supply. As it stands now, approximately 70% of processed foods sold in supermarkets have some measure of modification due to genetic engineering. Corn and soy make their way onto the ingredient list of many processed food items without any sort of indication as to whether they came from a genetically engineered crop.
Organic farming has emerged strong in recent years for good reason. Consumers lean on the label for some assurance that their food does not hold Frankensteinian qualities and that it was not grown from a seed conceived in a laboratory by a scientist wearing a white coat.
"The growth is there because this is what consumers are demanding. They want organic products", said Christine Bushway, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association. Producers of organic goods have experienced double digit growth annually with the exception of 2009, with producers reporting $26 billion in profits last year. As a result of this growing demand for organic, tens of thousands of individuals are employed in the organic sector and 14,540 family farms continue to operate. People are indeed voting with their forks, but is anyone at the USDA listening?
Ms. Bushway went on to say, "This creates a perplexing situation when the market calls for a supply of crops free of genetic engineering. The organic standards prohibit the use of genetic engineering, and consumers will not tolerate the accidental presence of genetic engineered materials in organic products yet GE crops continue to proliferate unchecked."
For now, there is confidence in the organic label, but what will happen if genetically engineered crops infiltrate otherwise chemical free fields or turn up in the milk produced by organic cows? How much longer can the consumer feel certain as to the pure state of organic foods if industry profits continue to take precedence over food safety and regulation?
About the authorPaula Rothstein is a freelance writer and certified holistic health coach active in the area of natural health and health freedom advocacy. As a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she has gained insight into the political nature of food, the failings of a drug-dependent healthcare system, and the uniqueness of individual health. For more information, please visit: http://www.medicinefreeliving.com.
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