Say it with us; Viva Peru!
This past week, Peru banned the importation, production and use of GMO foods for the next ten years. Genetically modified crops are no longer allowed in the country and farmers found to be growing them will face severe fines and the destruction of their crops. The ban was approved a year ago with the aim of supporting local farmers, protecting against GMO cross-pollination of non-GMO crops thus ensuring the longevity of native plant species (including a rainbow of corn and potato varieties) and promoting a robust biodiversity.
Some Context for you…
Peru does not stand alone in the battle against GMO food. Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, France, Switzerland, Russia and others have varying levels of GMO restrictions. Canada on the other hand, has largely embraced GM crops. It’s believed that the vast majority of canola, soy and corn in this country are now genetically modified.
In September 2012, French research showed a super-scary link between genetically modified corn with cancer, organ damage and pre-mature death. Did you see the images of those poor lab rats that’d been fed GMO corn and developed visibly massive tumours? It was enough to upset a lot of people, but now several governments are working hard to discredit the study as unscientific.
Genetically modified organisms were introduced to commercial farmers in the mid nineties. While GMO plants are heartier, more resistant to pests and produce a higher yield, the cost on human health and the environment remains a controversial question mark. However, because GMO produce is virtually indistinguishable and (in most places) is not identified in ingredient lists in processed foods, how much of it we are consuming is an even bigger question mark.
As discouraging as it may seem, it is not too late to make a stand against GMO in Canada. After the French study was released, the Harper government responded by saying they would look at the study seriously and take action if they felt it was warranted. If *you* think it’s warranted, let the government know.
If the feds seem like too much of a Goliath, start small in your own community. Just look at Richmond, BC – a largely agricultural community – they banned all GMO plants and food crops in their district earlier this year. They join other BC communities including Rossland, Kaslo, Nelson, Powell River and Saltspring Island.
Your biggest weapons against GMOs are your dollars! Buy GMO-free produce by shopping local and asking the farmers if they use GMO seeds. Or, go organic. Put the pressure on your favourite manufactured products to voluntarily label their foods as GMO-free. If they resist, chances are it’s because they can’t – then you know to add those products to the no-no list.
Of course, the other option is to move to Peru where they seem to really have the health of their people and environment as a priority.
Now boarding — LAN Airlines. Destination: Better health and happiness.