In a previous article we considered the possibility that genetically modified food is here to stay (in fact, it has been here for more than 20 years) – whether we like it or not but are we aware that most of us probably eat a certain amount of it every single day of our lives? Wether we have or haven’t we’ve now reached the stage where we need to put the hysteria surrounding it behind us and take a different approach to the whole thing because a solution for chronic world hunger will have to be found sooner rather than later and the only feasible way to do that, is to accept that more and more of our food will be genetically modified!
But is genetically modified food necessarily such a bad thing? To engineer GM food, scientists isolate specific genes and insert them in seeds in order to make food more resistant to pests, richer in nutrients and to make it grow more efficiently – something that is crucial at this stage of the world’s development. The fact that they are interfering with nature and could, potentially, damage both our health and our ecosystem has probably been considered and discussed by the scientists but apart from brief statements insisting that “it’s fine to eat it” very little is told to the public. Hence the hysteria. However, one does get the feeling that most of the hysteria is generated by a few people with very limited knowledge of the subject …. unless, unbeknown to us, it is the scientists themselves that are becoming increasingly terrified …. and then we do have a problem indeed. Soy and corn are the most heavily modified (with soy the leader of the pack) but corn is wind-pollinated which creates an additional problem because nearby fields can become unintentionally contaminated – and this can happen over huge distances! In 2001 scientists even found GM material in wild corn in Mexico even though only relatively few of the American corn fields in that region actually contained genetically modified corn. By 2007 over 50% of the world’s soy was genetically modified – but there are various reasons why soy is so heavily modified. Soy is modified to increase its resistance to insects and fungus and in order to enrich it’s vitamin, fat and protein content for animal feed. This will not only affect soy yoghurts, soy milk and tofu (image below) but also many types of bread, ice-cream and even chocolate – all of which can contain quite a bit of genetically modified soy, which will therefore, be as heavily (if not more) modified
as ordinary cows milk. Remember that cow’s milk which has been affected for some time now (rBGH – recombinant bovine growth hormone brings about higher milk yields by keeping milk-producing cells alive in cows for longer than normal) has been on the market for year even though there’s really not too much difference between the two types of milk except that rBGH cows are more disease prone. The EU and Australia have banned rBGH but everywhere else it’s legal as long as it’s labelled clearly so that everyone can make their own choice. Finally we have to include one of the most interesting genetically modified foods, Canola oil (rapeseed oil) – in a place like Western Canada, 80% of the rapeseed crops are transgenic and, in that case, the rapeseed has been altered to be resistant to certain herbicides with the theoretical result that the farmers use less pesticides to control weeds and thus produce larger crops. But what if the rapeseed transfers it’s resistance to the pests? Then there’s the bee discussion – about 30% of the pollen in the Canadian honey comes from the GM rapeseed …… would the honey from Canada then be considered genetically modified? For those of you that would like to read a little more about the subject, we recommend that you read Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating by Jeffrey M Smith – certainly food for thought. So, if you want to be perfectly sure that you don’t ever eat anything that has been genetically modified – just stick to organic food and try the recipe below.
WILD MUSHROOM PASTA
- 250 g mixed wild mushrooms (shiitake, portobello, oyster, porcini and chanterelle)- wiped clean, stemmed and thickly sliced
- 100 g green asparagus
- 250 g penne rigate
- 1 large lemon, zest only
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, removed from the stalk and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 splash extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed and finely diced
- ½ tsp fennel seeds, toasted
- 2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
- 125 ml fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste
- Fresh parsley to garnish
- Melt butter in heated olive oil and then add the garlic and stir fry over moderate heat until just golden.
- Add the mushrooms, the fennel seeds, the sesame seeds, the rosemary, the lemon zest and a little salt and pepper and fry, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are tender and 5 minutes before the end of the cooking period, add the asparagus.
- Boil the penne in a plenty of salted water until al dente, drain well – shaking to remove any excess water and add it to the mushroom mixture, check and correct the seasoning and then add the basil and parmesan to taste.
- Serve with additional parmesan and olive oil.