American Crystal, a national sugar company, recently announced that its new primary sugar source will be genetically engineered sugar beets, specifically Roundup Ready beets. Using Roundup Ready seed, for sugar beets, corn and soy, allows farmers to eliminate weeds, with Roundup Ready herbicide, without harming the produce. In other words, they can pump out as many chemicals as they want, contaminating water and soil, but not lose any crops or money. Sounds great for the farmer, but what about the consumer? Will products made with American Crystal sugar now be marked as containing genetically-engineered ingredients? Nope. Much like products manufactured with genetically-engineered corn and soy, these items will not have an altered label. We’ll be eating scientifically-manufactured food unaware, just like we’ll be doing if cloned meat hits the shelves.
And, that’s likely to happen pretty soon. The FDA assessed the risk of selling cloned meat and meat from clones’ offspring in 2006. They concluded that the end-product is just as safe to eat as that coming from conventionally-bred livestock. By conventionally bred, I assume they are referring to the hormone-pumped, never-seen-the-light-of-day animals. So, that’s a huge relief. And since the meat is just as safe, the FDA doesn’t see a need to label the cloned items, meaning we’ll have no idea that our burgers aren’t from Bessie but Bessie’s DNA twin. I’m sure that this decision has nothing to do with the fact that 60 percent of Americans said they wouldn’t buy cloned meat. No, it’s all about safety. Right.
Personally, I would rather not consume a meal created entirely in the lab. I would rather have something that’s – oh, I don’t know – organic? Or, as close to it as I can get. But, that would mean I would eat hormone-free, chemical-free foods. That’s just crazy . . . or not. Let’s start thinking here people and hop on the organic bandwagon. It’s a good one. It leaves us reassured that we haven’t just filled up on toxins. It allows us to know what’s going into our stomachs, and it’s better for the environment. When choosing between questionably-sourced produce and meat, and organic produce and meat, there’s no question about what I’ll choose, and I’ll have no question about what I’m eating. Neither should you.