Double Impact Challenge: Why Should We Avoid GMOs?
Last week, we asked you to join in the Giveaway 4 Good and vote on a new Double Impact challenge by telling us how you prefer eat healthy. The votes are in and the majority of readers selected avoiding GMO foods as their best choice. Here's why Robyn O'Brien, Author of "The Unhealthy Truth" suggested that as an option for this poll. Double Impact has asked some "mommy bloggers" to help choose the poll options for ways to make your life more eco-friendly. This week, Robyn O'Brien, Author of "The Unhealthy Truth" suggested ways eat healthy. Double Impact spoke with her about her interest in living a greener lifestyle & why she selected avoiding GMO foods as an option for this poll. Here's what she had to say:
Double Impact: You have written a book about the dangers of America's food supply. How did you first get started with it? Why do you think it is important to be wary of what we eat?
Robin: I am such an unlikely crusader for cleaning up the food supply. I was raised in Texas, eating my fair share of Doritos and Ding Dongs. I was not a foodie. And as a busy mother of four with limited time and a limited budget, I certainly didn't want
anyone telling me what to feed my kids. But one morning over breakfast (which in all candor was blue yogurt, frozen waffles and scrambled eggs), when our fourth child had
an allergic reaction, I was suddenly thrown onto this landscape of children's health in which 1 in 3 American children now has autism, allergies, ADHD and asthma and forced to learn why our children have earned the title "Generation Rx". And when I began to look into the sudden increase in the number of children with food allergies and the correlation with the recent introduction of foreign food proteins into our food supply - and how a child with a food allergy sees food proteins as foreign, launching an inflammatory response to drive out that foreign invader. I began asking a lot of questions, for which there were no answers. For example, is a child with a milk allergy allergic to all milk? Organic milk? Non-organic milk? Or the rbGH now found in our milk? With protocols in place, but no definitive tests, no answers and no long term human studies to prove safety, I suddenly realized how important it was for consumers to have information about what was going into the food supply so that we could make an informed choice when it came to safeguarding the health of our families.
Double Impact: What are the biggest challenges you hear from moms/parents about eating healthy?
Robin: Two challenges actually appear to present themselves. One comes in the form of "Well, you ate those things when you were younger and you turned out fine" from those who have loved ones who aren't fully supportive of their efforts. And the other is cost. And to answer both, the foods that we now have on grocery store shelves, while they may look the same, they have ingredients in them that simply did not exist when we were kids (the biotech industry introduced genetically engineered organisms into our food supply and crops in the 1990s). And the reason that cost is an issue is in part due to the fact that as a national family our national budget, is used to support chemically intensive and genetically engineered farming, while farmers that are producing crops organically (which means, by law, without the use of toxic pesticides and weedkillers that are used on these genetically engineered crops) do not receive this same level of financial support. And then further burdening the cost structure of farmers who are growing foods organically, these farmers are also charged fees to prove that their crops are free of these agrichemical ingredients and patented, genetically engineered proteins, charged fees to then label their products as being free of these ingredients (if they choose to adhere to the USDA Organic certification) and then also don't receive the same marketing and insurance assistance as crops being grown in the chemically intensive way. So their entire cost of production is higher due to the federal structuring that has been in place in agriculture for the last several years. It begs another question: As a national family, is this how we want to be allocating our national budget? Or would we rather use federal resources to support the farmers growing crops organically so that these products are more affordable to all?
Double Impact: What part of Double Impact do you find most exciting?
Robin: Double Impact does an incredible job of aligning the interests of both shareholders and stakeholders, highlighting that our greatest resource, for organizations in business for profit and those that are non profits, is human capital and that in order to preserve and protect this capital, we also have to preserve and protect the planet that all of us live on. Double Impact inspires in that it helps for profit companies do well and also do good, while offering financial support to non-profits doing the same.
Double Impact: How did you come up with the idea to opt out of Genetically Modified Foods? Why is that important for moms/parents?
Robin: The potential of genetically engineered foods to cause allergic reactions in humans is a big reason for opposition to these crops that were introduced into our food supply, without labels, in the 1990s. And although protocols are in place to ask questions about the allergy-causing possibilities, there has been no test that offers definitive answers. So are our children allergic to the soy that has bee around for thousands of years? Or to the novel ingredients inserted into soy and introduced in the 1990s that make it able to withstand increasing doses of toxic weedkiller? Are our kids allergic to corn, like the corn that our grandparents ate? Or to the insecticidal protein now found in corn that has been engineered to produce its own insect killer? Because we don't have the answers to these questions, parents that want to exercise precaution and
safeguard the health of their children can do so by reducing their families' exposure to
these unlabeled, genetically engineered ingredients.
For more on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOS) check out:
Why is America One of the Only Industrialized Nations With No GMO Labeling?
5 of the Newest and Craziest Genetically Modified Foods (3 Are Animals)
GMO Round Up Ready Lawns Set to Debut in 2012
How Much of Your Pantry is Genetically Modified?
A Guide to Avoiding Genetically Modified Organisms ( GMOs )
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