Over the past two decades, GMOs have been entering U.S. grocery stores at a dizzying rate. While certified organic foods are prohibited from containing GMOs, the Congressional Research Service estimates that 60 to 70 percent of processed conventional foods contain GMO ingredients, none of which have been tested for safety by the FDA. Genetically modified organisms are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from different species in order to create benefits such as disease resistance. But are they safe? The answer is debatable, and growing number of consumers are wary of the potential risks.
In the second of a two-part series by the Astoria Co-op, General Manager Matt Stanley will give a presentation focused on the consumer perspective surrounding GMO’s. In October, the Co-op brought OSU Professor, Robert Zemetra, a wheat breeder and geneticist to Astoria to speak from a pro-GMO perspective. In order to present a balanced view of this controversial issue to the public, Stanley will share information he has learned about GMO concerns.
“It’s always been important to me since I learned about the lengths the industrial food system has gone to create food that isn’t keeping our health in mind. This is one of many ways that large companies are manipulating our food in ways that aren’t good for us. All you have to do is look at health trends in our country, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, in large part all come back to our food system,” Stanley said.
Stanley will share a presentation created by Gary Hirshberg, the chairman of the Just Label It campaign. JLI is a national coalition dedicated to bringing about mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods in the U.S. More than one million people have signed JLI’s petition to the Food and Drug Administration, more than any other food petition in the country. The Astoria Co-op has joined other food co-ops around the country to support the labeling campaign, and increase awareness about GMOs.
Stanley says his main concern about GMOs is exposure to chemicals. Genetically engineered plants can be designed to withstand more pesticides, created by corporations that design the GMO seeds, and cancer drugs, which some of these chemicals may cause. GMOs are also linked to digestive issues, allergies, and other dietary struggles Americans are going through, according to Stanley.
When and Where:
“Beers to Your Health” the Co-op’s monthly lecture series happens Thursday November 14 at the Fort George Lovell Showroom at 14th & Duane St. in Astoria. Doors open at 6 p.m., food and drinks are available from the Taproom, the talk starts at 7 p.m. and lasts about an hour.