At present we have over three hundred million people, and growing, living in the United States. Not that long ago it seemed like two hundred million people were more than the planet could support with food. Ralph Nader wrote a book about population growth called Zero Population Growth concerning the expanding population. It is simply wonderful how the agricultural and scientific communities have combined to increase the food supply. With a little manipulation of genes and introduction of a chromosome here or there it is overwhelming as to how the scientific community created answers where once there was only concern. Production per acre compared to only a few decades ago is unimaginable, not only to the layman but to the farmer as well. Nothing is all good or all bad. Is there a cost to the increased production of food, remembering that it is done with gene manipulation? Up to this point there is no published research to indicate that there is any harm in the genetically modified produce. But then look at cigarettes and the amount of time it took to publish cigarettes’ harmful effects. This is information that the tobacco industry was aware of and buried. They attempted to protect their income and not the people who used their product. If their information had been released to the public it would have affected the sales of tobacco. Could a similar scenario be in play with the food we consume? The unscientific observation that brings this question to mind is of how many people are adversely affected by what is produced on most farms. One of these is the peanut allergy. Not that long ago it didn’t seem as though there were many people allergic to anything. It was unusual to have allergies before G.M.O.s. And let us not forget the steroids and antibiotics that are injected into livestock. Today it seems that wherever you go you see warnings about peanut exposure. There are those who, if they are in the same room with anything made from peanuts, have a reaction.
The other allergy that comes to mind is Celiac disease, basically, a reaction to grain products. Those who have this allergy resort to gluten- free foods. Being Lactose intolerant is nothing new. There are pages of additives that the F.D.A. approves for food. About one- tenth of the way through the count of forty, the counting was discontinued. The authorities keep bombarding us with messages of eating healthy, but how can one follow these directives with the numerous additives in food? Notation was made that Europeans are healthier than Americans. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that Europeans don’t have additives in their diet unless the food comes from the United States. Their diet is said to be the answer to their health. It seems that the content of the food would be closer to the answer. The question begs, why would something be placed on the market if it hadn’t been screened for safety? The food chain may also be affected. Could it be that business is more concerned for themselves than the safety of the consumer? What a sad commentary on society that the financial gain of a few be the only measure of marketing a product.
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