What’s up with those GMOs, yo
Genetically Modified food has been a hot topic over the past couple of weeks. The term “GMO” which stands for Genetically Modified Organism, flew around the world after something called the Monsanto Protection Act passed, not with out controversy, in the United States. My favourite depiction of how the act was passed was portrayed on The Daily Show a few weeks back. Shortly after the act was passed, the group known as Anonymous called to action a global protest against Monsanto, one which even took place in Calgary.
This got me thinking, what the heck is the big deal with these GMOs? And living in Calgary, do I have to worry about the same food issues as they do in American cities? So I did some research! Hooray!
To give some context around the controversy, anti-GMO groups support research which links Genetically Modified to causing health issues from severe allergies in children to severe digestive issues, and even cancer. On the flip side, yeah-sayers of these products believe that GMOs allow for heightened nutrients to be infused into food for third world countries, as well protection from pests and insects for longer lasting crops.
Lucky for us here in Calgary, we have a great resource called The Calgary Food Committee, which is a group that was directed by City Council to create a sustainable food system for Calgary. Sara Klimes, food consultant and co-chair on the Committee had some sound tips for figuring out what side of the GMO fence you sit on. One of the best pieces to come out of The Calgary Food Committee, is something called Calgary Eats! A Food System Assessment and Action Plan for Calgary. Who knew we had one of these? Mind blown.
“GMOs are regulated federally by Health Canada, but there isn’t much specifically regarding GMO regulation on a provincial level,” said Sara. “At this point in Canada, if you are concerned GMOs, the only way to be certain, as a consumer, that you aren’t ingesting GM material is to purchase organic.” Sara also recommended checking out Organic Alberta for more information about what being organic and the benefits of organic food culture means here at home.
The other major point of contention for both consumers and government is labeling food that does contain GMOs. Major corporations fear that if products are forced to bare a “may contain GMOs” that you and I might not buy them.
So hopefully this article gave you some places to find the answers you may have been looking for regarding GMOs. But it’s an ongoing conversation and it’s nice to know in Calgary at least, we’re still carrying it on.