Understanding the Implications of GMO Foods at Your Hotel
By Walker Lunn Founder, EnviRelation, LLC | July 29, 2012
Most talented chefs I know give great thought into what they put on a plate. The decision to service guests potentially hazardous scientific experiments should be part of their consideration and disclosed to our guests. But we regularly prepare, service and consume genetically modified crops that bear significant risks without any discussion or disclosure. We all have a right to chose if we wish to consume these products, and that right has been silently taken.
The most important thing you can know about GM foods is that they are unproven and unlabelled experiments. Oh - and YOU are the subject of these experiments. The technology holds incredible potential, but should be used with extreme caution and only with the absolute awareness and willingness of participants.
The question of genetically modified organisms is potentially the most important debate we face as a species. I don't believe anyone has the right to make this decision for me, and hope you would respect your guest's right to make this decision for themselves.
GM (genetically modified), GE (genetically engineered), or transgenic organisms are very different from traditional breeding or grafting techniques that have been used for ages. In genetic engineering, DNA taken from extremely different organisms is inserted randomly into a very specific, precise and infinitely complex arrangement that is deoxyribonucleic acid. The insertion methods include cells being shot with DNA-laced gold dust, injected with the DNA using fine needles, or insertion via a DNA-deconstructing virus or bacterium. Once inserted, foreign DNA can never be removed.
Spider genes have been introduced in goats so the goats might make silk for tactical armor instead of milk. Tomatoes and strawberries have had fish genes introduced so that they might be more tolerant of frosts. And human DNA has been introduced in corn to produce spermicide. Most common are transgenic crops designed to be resistant to herbicides or pesticides, or even designed to produce herbicides or pesticides.
Many of the foods we eat are genetically modified. According to the USDA, 94% of soybeans grown in the US today is GMO, as is 72% of corn(i). Beets, alfalfa, tomatoes and potatoes are also known to be genetically modified.
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