Big sister is watching: GMO initiative shows first step in right direction

Jessica Jeffers, Opinions Editor

On average, the food we put into our mouths travels at least 1,500 miles, according to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. The meat we eat is generally from an Industrial Farm Animal Production or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation facility. Crazy right?

We were meant to eat food in its most natural form, straight from the farm to the mouth and in less than a few miles. We were not meant to eat industrialized food made in factories.

But it gets worse. Even when we think we are eating healthy and natural food, we probably are not. The reason? Genetically Modified Organisms. If you haven’t heard this word before, it’s another trick used by the food industry. It is a human controlled form of adaptation, where a chemist creates a plant that is immune to disease and can fend off bugs without pesticide and then sometimes adds nutrients. It sounds better than it is. Studies by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine linked organ damage, immune system disorders and infertility to GMOs. Along with this, since the food products are no longer natural, it is possible that new allergies and nutritional deficiencies can be produced.

The sad thing is, most people have no idea what a GMO is. Most do not even know where there food comes from… besides the grocery store. I’m not trying to preach Food Inc. but our food has become as industrialized as the cars we drive.

Despite this, Oregon tried to lead the way out of this food industry by putting a GMO initiative on the ballot of midterm elections in Nov. of 2014. Although it was defeated, it raised awareness for the Right to Know movement. The initiative pushed for a mandate that would require labeling of food that was produced with or contained GMO’s. The fight for such labeling started when more than a million people (the most signatures a petition has ever had in the agency) signed a petition for the Food and Drug Administration.

Slowly the movement is growing, with Vermont, Maine and Connecticut, and each passed a similar mandate this year.

Sadly, Florida is not among these. Our state contains 9.25 million acres specifically for agricultural use, holding 47,500 commercial farms. We should hold the GMO labeling standard and be the first large state to pass it.

Although GMOs seek to make food more productive, health and environmental problems should be factored into the situation. People need to realize where their food comes. After all, if the government does not believe GMOs are safe, we shouldn’t either.