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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/23/10

GM, Gasses, Irradiation and Big Business: Subversion in the Grocery Store

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Message Cameron Salisbury

Wouldn't you know it. Just when we thought that we had made choices that made the adulterated American food supply manageable, Corporate Agriculture finds new ways to quietly and unobtrusively pollute our lunch. We figured a way around the colors, texturizers, hidden gluten, preservatives, and taste enhancers with unpronounceable names and thought we were home free at dinner time.

That's the way it used to be. As the twenty-first century arrived, the dark clouds that had been gathering for several decades finally turned American food production into a torrent of bad news for consumers and a bonanza for agribusiness.

The new food productions and preservation techniques, like genetically modified seeds, irradiation of everything that doesn't move, and gasses that create the appearance of freshness no matter how old the meat, were originally introduced for commercial use in the latter years of the 20th century. None of these changes to the food supply were designed to benefit the health of the consumer. In fact, our regulatory watchdogs, the FDA and USDA have allowed their wholesale introduction into our food supply without serious testing or monitoring.

To keep the consumer in the dark, the USDA and FDA deliberately colluded with Corporate Agriculture by allowing them to introduce their spiffy new methods of polluting the food supply and enhancing their bottom line without the labeling that would have allowed the consumers to make his/her own decisions. The consumer no longer has even the illusion of protection.

We are on our own.

There has never been more than one purpose to the unending adulteration of the food supply in the U.S., and it certainly was not to benefit us. All of the new pollution methods have been to extend shelf life into infinity and beyond, to sell more and cost Monsanto and ArcherDanielsMidland as little as possible to do it. They have the full collusion of the major grocery chains.

Some of the changes to the food supply, like irradiation, indiscriminately kill organisms, the good and the bad alike, and eliminate the need for growers and processor to maintain sanitary conditions on the farm and at the factory. You may be buying and eating filth, but at least it has been sterilized.

Treatment with radiation also inhibits sprouting in potatoes and delays fruit ripening. In other words, it allows food to be transported long distances and extends shelf life far into the future with no change in appearance.

Public Citizen, the Center for Food Safety, and Food and Water Watch have declared the use of radiation on the food supply to be an experiment on the American consumer without informed consent.

Radiation-induced changes in human DNA can produce cancer. Do DNA changes to veggies create synthetic eats without the usual life supporting properties? No one knows what food irradiation kills besides pests, or if the food is functionally the same after.

And then there are the production problems with the radiation itself; there has already been radioactive leakage from a processing plant into the water supply in a suburb of Atlanta.

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Cameron Salisbury is a public health biostatistician and writer living in Atlanta.
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