Friday, July 08, 2011

Strange Fruit

I woke up this morning with the aftertaste of GMO watermelon on my lips. I must have underestimated the power of desire and opportunity.

The first time I walked up to the watermelon stand at my local supermarket, I was lured by the 4th of July sale price. But just as I was starting to salivate and pick one up, a guy walked by with his girlfriend. When she motioned towards the watermelon I heard him tell her, "Those watermelons are genetically modified." My taste buds dried up immediately and I put the perfectly round, seedless melon down.

A day later, I returned to the market for something I'd forgotten and there was another pile of watermelons, prominently festooned with little American flag banners. I picked one up, put it in my cart and brought it home. It was that easy, no inner debate, nada.

On the 4th of July I cut it up and my husband made watermelon margaritas to go along with our holiday feast. I had all but forgotten about it until early this morning when I woke up thinking about what I'd done.

I rant and rave all the time about how much I hate the corporations who are destroying the world’s food supply. I understand that not all seedless watermelons are “genetically modified” but they are the result of selective breeding. The proliferation of so-called “seedless fruit” makes us dependent on whoever controls seeds. When consumers like me buy these GMOs and pass up the real deal, nature-perfected type of produce we are contributing to the problem. We are encouraging markets to sell and growers to grow GMOs and discouraging natural and organic farmers.

Of course, some people don't care. They're fine with GMOs, they don't claim to hate Monsanto like I do. They can enjoy modified food without a second thought but I don't envy them. I know better and I'm angry with myself. I have been hypocritical and it's the fruit of my conscience that has left a bad taste in my mouth.


Madison said...

It's crazy how many things there are to be upset about when you think about how this world is run..

Matt "Max" Van said...

I don't know. So many loaded words on so many sides. If I selectively breed is it a genetic modification? If I cross pollinate? Is the introduction of an alien species necessarily a bad thing? Would it qualify as "natural"?
Don't get me wrong- I'm not trying to play a game of semantics- I'm just saying that the settings on my bullshit detector might be a bit high strung, but I always get a bit wary when certain words get used. I don't necessarily trust "nature" any more than I trust "science", and the red flag definitely gets raised when someone invokes quasi-religious structures- not that you have- but you know what I mean; the "as God intended" argument. Yes, life is a gamble, and experience is a compromise, and no one can remain pure forever. But, I wonder if it's a fine line, or if I'm splitting hairs with stuff like this....

Anonymous said...

Max, you're splitting hairs. Organic is infinitessimally better than GMO. GMO food is bad for you. Do your homework.

Anonymous said...

My favorite Monsanto story is about this farmer in Canada. A truck is taking a load of Monsanto's GM wheat to the mill. Some of the wheat blows off the truck and into this farmers field. There it cross breeds with the farmers own seed. Next year Monsanto sues the farmer saying he cant bring his wheat to market because it was grown from seed that was in part genetically Monsanto's GM patented seed and the farmer had not paid Monsanto for this privlage.

godoggo said...

I'm with Max. Nature creates all manner of poisons. Too much friggin sunlight can kill you. I don't know what "do your homework" means, but if you have credible evidence either that genetically-modified foods are harmful to your health or that the vaguely-defined label of "organic" is better either for our bodies or the environment, well, all I can say is it would contradict everything I've heard from people who appear to understand the science (not that I claim to be one of them).

Anonymous said...

Oh lord, here we go again. Alice, I can't believe you still have blog readers who routinely place their faith in the government and corporations to do what's right. "Show me the evidence that GMO food is worse for you than organic." REALLY? Where have these people been liiving, under a rock? Have they not done any of their own research into the history of GMOs and particularly the historical collusion between Monsanto and the FDA/USDA, which for all intents are purposes are now the same people? A good starting point is the new documentary, the World According to Monsanto. As far as scientifiic research showing the links between GMO and detrimental effects to animal and human health, well here's some of the latest:

There is a reason GMO food is banned in Europe and Canada - scientific evidence to prove the harmful effects or studies that would tend to indicate it has a high probability of causing birth defects, cancer and other diseases. It has only been wholeheartedly embraced in the US where, as we well know, our governmental regulatory agencies always have our best interests at heart and would never dream of suppressing research and findings that might prove otherwise. I mean, who would put earning billions of dollars ahead of the value of human lives? Anyone???

Alice Bag said...

I'm glad I have readers who have divergent views. It makes us all have to think a little harder.

I agree with Max that everything from nature is not better and I would add that everything from science is not progress.

I don't trust Roundup-ready food and I don't want the world's food supply owned by a corporation. If you don't already hate Monsanto it's just because you don't know enough about what they do.

godoggo said...

Well, the other reader is making a lot of assumptions about whom I trust (don't get me started on pharmaceutical companies, for example), or where I get my info from. I don't claim to have read much about this, and I'll look at his or her links, but here are a couple relevant posts from blogs I follow:
When confronted with a scientific topic that I don't understand well, I try to find authorities who seem knowledgeable and disinterested, and the above seem to fit the bill to me.