For almost a decade, I have personally fought for the reform of our food system and the need for mandatory labeling of GMOs in Canada and the USA as well as worked on environmental, social, and political issues surrounding food. I've seen two GMO labeling bills defeated in Parliament, and various untested, unregulated, and unlabeled genetically engineered products such as GM apples, potatoes, alfalfa, and salmon line our grocery stores shelves without the consumer's knowledge.
During the years of my never-ending campaigning, I’ve become disillusioned as to why the governments in the US and Canada continue to ignore the voices of their citizens who are demanding transparency in our food system and the fundamental right to choose the types of food we want to eat!
I’ve also come to realize that the blame for GMOs and pesticides, and the resulting damage to our environment and public health can no longer be placed solely on industry.
Our government, regulatory agencies, and politicians are equally complicit, having succumbed to the pressure of political influence from money and corporate lobbying.
As the world faces turbulent times, and we experience global issues such as climate change, food shortages, and ecological collapse, biotech corporations are only exacerbating the problems. They are behind the scenes developing new technologies, such as gene editing and promoting it as the answer to world famine, when, in reality, it’s just “greenwashing” propaganda. This technology is being used to manipulate DNA by deleting genes, turning them on or off, or dialing them up or down. By doing this, it gives the plant or animal a new trait, while at the same time giving corporations the freedom to claim their foods are non-GMO, because they haven’t introduced any foreign DNA.
A world utilizing untested and unregulated technologies such as gene-editing, gene drives, and synthetic biology that could create irreversible biodiversity risks for nature.
To make matters worse, with cross pollination, there will be no way to verify if a food has been contaminated with a gene-edited variety. This could contaminate all conventional and organic foods, completely taking away our ability to choose what we eat, and potentially affecting our health.
Currently, almost every commercial organism is being experimented on using genetic engineering technologies. These foods have already reached mainstream markets and are landing on our plates, sadly, without the consumer’s knowledge. A clear example of this is the new “Impossible Burger,” available at many restaurants, including Burger King. The key ingredient in these burgers is the genetically engineered ingredient, “soy leghemeglobin.” This protein allows the plant-based burger to “bleed.” According to ETC (Action Group on Erosion, Technology, and Concentration) in discussion with FDA, Impossible Foods admitted that up to a quarter of its “heme” ingredient comprised of 46 “unexpected” additional proteins, some of which are unidentified and none of which have been assessed for safety. Yet, the Impossible Burger is being marketed and sold as a healthy alternative to meat!
As someone who eats a vegan diet and sees the massive marketing machine behind these products, it is horrifying to think of the lack of regulation behind these new so-called “vegan and vegetarian” products. The Impossible Burger was designated “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the FDA, which effectively is allowing manufacturers of products to now self-regulate and determine their own product’s safety. This, in essence, is a genuine and scary problem with our food system. If we continue to allow large corporations to determine the safety of their products, then what is the job of regulatory agencies such as Health Canada and the FDA? And who is protecting the consumer? How far do we allow unethical, irresponsible technology to advance before we say enough is enough?
We need to protect nature from the violent appropriations of corporations, and must take to the streets, and demand that our politicians provide a food system which supports biodiversity and regenerative practices.
We’re moving into a new world that is facing issues unseen by generations before us. A world utilizing untested and unregulated technologies such as gene-editing, gene drives, and synthetic biology that could create irreversible biodiversity risks for nature. Are these technologies worth the risk of losing or forever contaminating thousands of species of plants and animals? We need to ask ourselves what is the real cost of these technologies as well as what are the risks for future generations. We need to look at our food system and ask if patenting seeds, the very essence of all life on earth, is a moral, and ethical decision. We need to ask ourselves, should corporations be allowed to own and manipulate nature for profit?
With intensive GMO crop production and massive agrochemical abuse across the world, we are already witnessing the rapid decline of insects, birds, bees, and butterflies. We need to protect nature from the violent appropriations of corporations, and must take to the streets, and demand that our politicians provide a food system which supports biodiversity and regenerative practices.
If the environmental movement is to make strides towards a better and safer future, we must end the ownership and patenting of life. We must stop corporations from producing environmentally destructive solutions for problems that they created, or that do not exist. We don’t have time to wait for ecological systems to collapse, or for corporations to own our entire food supply. The time has come where we must say enough is enough!