Friday, April 27, 2007

The right to know

Like other vegans, I'm particularly sensitive to the ingredients of foods I pick up in grocery stores. There seems to be a whittling away of what we are allowed to know about. The almond industry recently announced that it would start irradiating raw almonds, but the information of what kind of treatments the nut underwent would not necessarily be revealed to the consumer. Despite the valiant efforts of vegan Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, Ohio, we still are not allowed the information about which fruits and vegetables have been genetically modified. With these abominations, I'm concerned about the ultimate health impact it will have on the general population, the potential environmental damage it can cause and, since animal genes are often inserted into plants, it's another source for animal abuse, never mind the testing that's probably done on animals. Can you imagine the nightmare that could be caused if some gene of a major allergen were inserted into another plant and then blindly tested on the general public? It might do nothing, but it might just cause a lot of harm. Needless to say, I DON'T want to support this industry. I want to have the right to avoid it. I do buy mostly organic produce, which is supposed to be GMO-free, but there are times when I reluctantly end up buying conventional produce when I can't find an alternative. Roadside vegetable stands usually aren't certified organic, and I probably don't have anything to worry about, but I do wonder. GMO crops also have the potential to corrupt organic crops because of pollen drift. On the happy meat front, the Bush administration actually tried to weaken the dolphin-free tuna label, but an appeals court turned away their efforts. True, the deaths of both dolphins and tunas are horrible no matter how you put it, but it just reveals the extent that these maniacs in charge of our government will go to enrich their buddies at everyone else's expense. Some rich fish killer probably complained to a Bush lackey that the law cost him money and was inconvenient. The Bushies also fought tooth and nail to prevent the labeling of cow flesh to indicate where it came from. Maybe they are trying to protect producers from retribution when the next major disease outbreak strikes. Perhaps, they don't want consumers to be allowed to know what is being produced locally or not? Who knows their twisted reasoning for these things. Anyway, I'd like to see more voters become interested in the transparency of our food system. It really is an important issue, regardless of how you choose to eat. It's one thing to choose between organic or conventional; it's another when you aren't even sure what the choices are.

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