There was a new stall at our local farmer's market so I had to check it out. Some of the items were advertised as organic and on the corner of the table was a big basket of corn. Over the last few years several people in the food biz have told me it is hard to grow corn without pesticides. If you remember eating fresh corn when you were growing up (assuming that was at least 15 years ago), most ears sported a juicy worm wriggling at the top or a brown patch. Not anymore. Now it is the uniformly flawless genetically modified Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) variety.
While the new genetically enhanced stuff is beautiful to look at, studies suggest eating it disrupts the gut ecosystem. Gut ecosystem disruption is the cause of inflammatory bowel disease according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Inflammatory bowel disease incidence has increased since the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). While nobody has proved a direct link, there is a line of smoking guns pointing suspiciously towards GMO consumption. Add to the list disturbing animal studies and a peculiar lack of human research and most reasonable people would choose to avoid food with bug DNA. I mean unknown modifications. Without labeling, the only way to reduce GMO exposure is to buy organic.
"Is this Bt corn?" I asked the friendly woman giving out organic jam samples.
She knew exactly what I was asking. "We are very careful with herbicides because we keep bees," she explained. "But the corn is from the farm next door and I did not ask."
That would be a "no". I passed on the corn and we started talking about fruit. "You want organic local fruit," her husband Mike chimed in. "Then you better train people to buy fruit that looks like this." He pulled out an Asian pear that looked like it had a face. He explained the indentations were caused by bug bites that had healed over.
The east coast organic apples I have seen tended towards the same type of imperfections. I bought a container of the lumpy fruit. It was not as pretty as its commercial cousins but the farmer could legitimately claim no bees died while producing this fruit. And they were delicious.