For many of you, you feel like you’re in the know when it comes to the poisons that may be in your food and how to avoid them. You may still be unaware of one of the most dangerous food production methods of all, though: Mutagenesis.
When you look in a field, do you have any way of knowing if it’s actually wholly natural without talking to the farmer? In fact, that field may be genetically engineered – and you’d have no way of knowing it.
Sure, you know how evil Monsanto is. You know glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, Monsanto’s super popular herbicide, causes cancer. You know that the best food is organic and local. But you probably don’t know about mutagenesis.
Notes the Organic Consumers Association, “Mutagenesis is a method of plant breeding that involves subjecting plants to radiation, or dousing them in chemicals, in a way that scrambles their genes in order to produce new traits…the goal is to produce plants suitable for modern industrial agriculture, where crops are grown in vast monocultures with the aid of chemicals and machinery.”
In other words, it’s genetic engineering – and the OCA agrees: “Like genetic engineering, mutagenesis can cause dramatic shifts in genetically determined traits, producing unknown toxins or allergens,” the OCA says.
Worse, the practice is wholly unregulated.
There are seven main food groups that are being grown using mutagenesis, and as their is currently no regulation against the practice, these products may even show up as an organic food.
Those seven foods?
- Barley: Barley is often substituted for other less healthy grains, but many people are not aware of the potential use of mutagenesis in this case.
- Cotton: Already a heavily genetically engineered crop, cotton may also be produced using mutagenesis. Any food with cottonseed oil should be avoided for these and other reasons.
- Grapefruit: Great for cleansing first thing in the morning, grapefruit may also be grown using the controversial technique according to the OCA article.
- Pears: In addition to the potential use of mutagenesis, the pear’s soft skin means they’re usually high in pesticide residues that cannot be washed off. Make sure to buy these from a trustworthy organic farm.
- Rice: This staple food crop is relatively cheap and plentiful for the time being, but most people are not aware that it may be subjected to mutagenesis.
- Sunflowers: Used in organic foods as an alternative to heavily GMO crops like canola and soy, sunflowers may still be unhealthy if grown using this technique so tread lightly and feel free to write your favorite organic company to see if they use sunflowers produced with mutagenesis.
- Wheat: Perhaps the most infamous of the crops on here in terms of how much this crop has changed over time, wheat is one of the most heavily mutagenesis-produced crops on the market. The negative effects felt in our health (and our waistlines) by this type of “modernized” wheat is detailed in the best-selling book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.
Big agrochemical companies like BASF, Dow, and Sygenta are finding it easier to bring crops using these seeds to market than GMOs because of the lack of regulation, according to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek. In other words, you may buy organic to avoid GMOs, only to end up buying mutagenesis foods instead.
For now, your only way to be sure you aren’t getting mutagenesis foods is to buy from local farmers you know and trust – and to speak out in favor of regulations when it comes to the practice.
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