Thursday, February 14, 2008

What is in our food and how will it change us?

For some time now I have been a fan of Kim Harrison and her Dead Witch Walking series with Rachel Morgan. I have enjoyed how her characters have evolved, and her books are interesting in an alternate universe type of way. I love the mix of mythological characters that are all based in history and fairytales. What I find very interesting is the concept that humanity became more interested in chemical and biological science instead of space and machine weapons in this reality. And yet they still manage to almost kill themselves off.

What makes this so interesting is that in the last ten to twenty years we have started investing a lot more into chemical and biological research. The fact that we are cloning and changing the biological makeup of our food falls right into her stories. The idea is that someone created a weapon based on biological science that made it out of the research lab to make changes in a genetically altered strain of tomato. It causes a change that almost destroyed the human race. That is something we can actually do today, be it by human error or by design. The very fact that we are making changes in our food has already made changes in us, the people who eat it. It is true, you are what you eat.

If there is a cow that produces unusual large amounts of milk we don’t just breed to keep that trait anymore, we clone the cow. There are cows that have been genetically altered to produce more milk. Then we feed our chickens growth hormones to speed up their development so they can be sold sooner. Um, we are eating those hormones when we eat the chicken. Then we have the changes in our vegetables and fruits. They are changed to grow faster and larger, and sometimes changed so far from the original source that it becomes a new strain. This can be seen in a lot of grains, which is used to feed animals and us. It is scary when you think about this. What are all these changes in genetics and hormones doing to us?

I used to think people buying organic were just funny, now I think they have the right idea. The problem is that it is too expensive for the average family. So now we have girls starting the change to womanhood before they are even teenagers. There are girls out there who are 10 years old having menstrual cycles and accelerated development. They look like they are 18 not 10. We have children growing exceedingly fast, and taller then any other time in history. Now I do know that as adults we are getting fatter, and the same hormones and chemicals that are used to grow our food can cause this in some part. A fat pig is a good pig for market, not so good when we eat it with the hormones that caused it to get so fat. Don’t get me wrong; the side of fries and large pop with our ham sandwich does not help any. But you get the idea.

How long before something mutates and becomes harmful to us? Or the changes we have made to our foods changes us?