by Christopher Arnett
Native Foods Cafe
As many of you might have heard, Greenpeace activists broke into an Australian research facility last week to destroy a crop of genetically modified wheat. The modifications included a lower glycemic index and increased fiber. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad, at first. A lowered glycemic index is good news for people with diabetes as it allows the release of sugars into the bloodstream in a slower and more regulated manner. And everyone knows fiber is good for ya’. Nevertheless, Greenpeace claimed safety issues as their motivation for scaling the fence of the research facility in the early hours of the morning and razing the crop with weed trimmers.
Jeesh! What are those suits for? And we're supposed to eat that?
So what is all the fuss about? Is genetically modified (GM) food really that bad? Acording to saynotogmos.org, this genetic engineering forces genetic information across the protective species barrier in an unnatural way. Most often this involves incorporating genetic material from viruses and bacteria into crops in an imprecise way. Animal feeding tests have shown worrying side effects, and few studies have been done to document the effects on humans. Hmm. Doesn’t sound so good.
A campaigner against the wheat effort said that the Australian government stated it would be the first country in the world by 2015 to commercialize GM wheat, in spite of the fact that polling shows that Australians don’t want to eat it. Japanese flour mills are a big market for Australian wheat, and they had made it clear they would not want to buy GM products (good for them!), which would put Australia’s huge bulk export market at risk. I say, if it aint broke, why fix it? Or in this case, if it aint broke, why genetically modify it?
Our wheat is sweet, organic and free of GMOs at Native Foods Cafe.
The agency running the trials is CSIRO, the national governmental body for scientific research. Their crop was intended for dough-baking trials to be fed to rats and pigs, with the intention of future trials involving humans. My contention is this: Should food really need extensive testing? And should it ever be perceived as hazardous such that it is not seen fit for initial human consumption? And this is beside the point that creatures with no say in their participation in these potentially dangerous trials are being forced to eat this Frankenstein faire. Yowsers! This issue is loaded with too much controversy for my tastes. Moreover, the fact that CSIRO had taken a number of precautions against possible contamination of the GMO organisms from the wheat crap is a bit frightening. They had enclosed the crop with a two-metre double reinforced fence, covered it with bird netting, and spread mouse traps throughout the site. And a two to four metre buffer zone and the ten metres beyond the fence were regularly treated with herbicide. Obviously, they perceive this “food” as potentially hazardous to health. Why would anyone ever eat this stuff?