Sleeping with the enemy

Local mom confronts truths about the food we eat

Jennifer Davidson is a Northern California writer and eater of organic food
Visit the Organic Consumers Association website, which has launched a Millions Against Monsanto campaign at

After years of flirting with vegetarianism, my willpower finally conquered my weakness and I began a committed relationship with fruits, veggies, legumes and grains. It may not sound exciting, but slaying the beast is pretty damn intoxicating. Jen–1, bacon–0!

I felt pretty smug. Heck, I’d done it; I was the poster child for eating right. Then I was rudely awakened. “Food, Inc.,” my friend said. “You gotta see it.” So I did. Paired with The Future of Food, these two documentaries laid it out—I had no idea what I was consuming. And odds say neither do you.

What’s in a seed? It’s the new million-dollar question. If the seed in your cereal, peanut butter, ketchup, soup, pancake mix, you name it, came from Monsanto, the largest seed company in the world, and it probably did, take note.

Monsanto patents nature. It genetically engineers seeds (some produce foods so highly modified, the food itself is classified as a pesticide) monopolize the market and sell its hybrid products to the growers of food you feed your family. No, the government doesn’t require food labels to identify genetically modified food (GMOs). Also, Monsanto sues unsuspecting small farmers for infringement on its seed patent when its engineered seed is carried by the wind or deposited by a bird into the small farmer’s crop, bankrupting many and forcing others to sell out their entire life’s labor. (Read accounts of these incidents at Read the stories. They are heartbreaking. A judgment upheld by the Supreme Court.

In response to the unintended infiltration of Monsanto seeds in unsuspecting farmers’ crops, the corporate giant developed a seed that commits suicide after one cycle of producing to allow small farmers to rid their crops of the invader. What would happen if Monsanto’s suicide seed recombines with untainted crops all over the world?

Scientifically, what’s wrong with GMOs? Scientists don’t know enough to answer conclusively, but food altered at the cellular level presents arguments as legitimate as those over cloning. Scientists predict increased allergens, immune-response problems and decreased nutritional value, for starters. Laboratory tests show rats developed holes in their stomachs as a side effect and caterpillars died after consumption. Who knows how modified genes will recombine themselves and what effects they will have once they enter our bodies? It’s an experiment, and you are the captive, innocent animal being subjected to the tests.

I went into my kitchen and surveyed my fridge and cupboards. I found I’d been sleeping with the enemy. So I emptied them and read every label. Monsanto had infiltrated my home. Corn (usually in the form of corn syrup), canola and soy, three of Monsanto’s biggest monopolies were in almost every item. I felt shammed by the government and corporate greed. I discarded every unopened box or can—a friend gladly accepted them, GMOs and all.

So how do you fight back? Eat organic—and you become the voice for every little creature on this fragile planet Earth. Because no one is immune.