Back in July there was a lot of justified outrage when Canadians learned that First Nations people had been subjected to government-run nutritional experiments for a decade starting in 1942.
The barbarity of the “research” was astounding. Without consent or knowledge of what was taking place, some 1,300 children and adults were systematically kept undernourished and denied milk, vitamin supplements and dental care.
In Sechelt, residential school survivors said they believed the government’s net was cast much wider and that a malnutrition protocol of sorts was generally imposed on Aboriginals long after 1952.
Today’s federal politicians were naturally appalled after food historian Ian Mosby’s research into the nutritional experiments was publicized.
“Abhorrent,” Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt told CBC.
But will politicians be saying the same thing 50 years from now about what is happening today, on their watch? Will future studies show that all Canadians were exposed to “food products” that were healthy only in terms of corporate profits?
That view is held, already, by a growing number of people who are speaking out about the transformation of our natural food supply to biotech commodities.
Tying in with World Food Day this week (Saturday, Oct. 12), marches are planned in 52 countries as activists call for a permanent boycott of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and harmful agro-chemicals. On the Sunshine Coast, a GMO Awareness March is scheduled to start at noon at the Sechelt Public Library.
Speaking at an organic food conference in Regina last year, scientist Don Huber issued a dire warning about the use of glyphosate and genetically modified crops.
“Historians,” he said, “may look back and write about how willing we are to sacrifice our children and jeopardize future generations with a massive experiment that is based on false promises and flawed science just to benefit the bottom line of a commercial enterprise.”
Huber, an emeritus professor in plant pathology at Purdue University in Indiana, has worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to curb plant disease outbreaks. He notes that the increasing use of glyphosate is making plants more susceptible to soil-borne diseases that could impact human health.
“You could say what you’re doing with glyphosate is you’re giving the plant a bad case of AIDS. You’ve shut down the immune system or the defence system.”
GMO critics and skeptics are demanding proper safety evaluations and unbiased research, which they allege have been prevented because of sweetheart deals between government and industry.
Meanwhile, the magnitude of the situation was brought home earlier this year at yet another organic food conference, this time in Guelph, by Dag Falck, organic program manager with Nature’s Path.
As reported in Western Producer, Falck told the conference that it was a common misconception that organic food is GMO-free. In fact, he said, organic food made from corn, soybeans, canola and sugar do contain GMOs.
“If you are going to stop eating all those things, you will be able to be GMO-free,” he said.
The range of personal choice, when it comes to the integrity of the foods we eat, appears to be shrinking.
We are all captives of this experiment.