By S. Rubens
On a road trip, one stop at a service station brings home the brutality of what corporations have done to food in the US.
Lining the stores are walls of refrigerated soft drinks, each loaded with genetically engineered sugar or GE-high fructose corn syrup, and topped off with aspartame. Coffee is loaded with pesticides and the sweeteners are cream with GE-bovine growth hormone in it or non-dairy creamer concocted of chemicals. Corn chips are genetically engineered. Cheese doodles are made from GE-corn or GE-soy or both, and to whatever degree there is any cheese in them, have GE-hormones in that. Candy, row upon row, comes from GE-sugar or GE-high fructose corn syrup.
Bread is made from GE-soy or GE-corn. Cooking oils are all GE-corn or GE-soy or GE-canola. Cheeses are … (see below about what has happened to milk). Meat – on top of GE-feed and slaughterhouse waste for animals to eat, the growth hormones to make them grow and antibiotics to cover how sick they are – is filled with cancer-causing colors and preservatives, and often meat glue is used and ammonia injected into the meat to try to kill off the salmonella ….
What have they done to the US?
The dangerous contempt with which US agribusiness and the biotech industry hold the American people disgusts, but it glares in light of what Europeans eat. There, antibiotics, hormones and slaughterhouse waste are banned, and GE-junk (it’s not food) is labeled and is avoided (along with the drenching of pesticides used to grow it). There, food is still food – not genetically engineered (though corporations have started to give the animals GE-”feed” so it is percolating through to people now) – and one can stop along the road as one travels and count on finding real food to eat.
Standing in a U.S. service station, unable to find anything to eat, the predicament of Orthodox Jews who keep kosher and can only eat at home (or with those sharing the same dietary principles) comes to mind.
It’s suddenly shockingly clear – all GE-nonfood is treif.
What is treif? Traditionally, anything that is considered vile and non-kosher in the Hebrew faith. Contemporarily, something dirty and nasty you don’t want around, much less want to consume or touch.
The new kosher is to eat only normal food and to avoid mutant GE-nonfood.
That avoidance has been happening already but until now hadn’t been given a descriptive name – keeping kosher.
This new use of the term is as based on religious principle under Jewish kosher laws. It raises fundamental questions. How can kashrut (the set of Jewish dietary laws) which rejects certain kinds of meat altogether and which then separates meat and milk, accept the consuming of human DNA (now in rice)? And if rabbis are allowing the consumption of human DNA (from whom? from where? aborted fetuses?), why do they allow it to be used in combination with milk (such as rice puddings)?
Keeping kosher in this new way is appropriate because the alteration in food that occurred over the last two decades is so radical as to have upset the division of species, and left behind profound differences, creating two biologically distinct classes – normal food as nature (or God if you will) made it, and food as originated in laboratories by corporations.
Normal foodSustaining: Food from nature has sustained mankind for thousands of years, with a perfect synchrony between the human body and the food it was taking in. That food is rich in the essential nutrients needed to live.
Healing: Natural food has for millennia been the source of healing, and the basis of Chinese medicine, aryuvedic medicine, African and other medicinal traditions internationally.
Democratically available: Since the beginning of human life and since the beginning of agriculture, humanity has found and grown food as their birthright.
Source: Food is considered a gift from nature and God and comes from the earth.
Corporate GE-nonfoodNot-sustaining: The new corporate crops, though claimed to be legally “substantially equivalent,” are lacking in various nutrients and appear to have created a mismatch between human and animals’ digestive systems. In animals studies they are associated with causing ulceration of stomach and colon. In humans, they are associated with diabetes, and in the decade since their introduction in 1996, diabetes in the US has increased by 90%.
Disease inducing: After only 15 years since it was first introduced, laboratory derived crops are already associated with cancers, organ damage, diabetes, infertility, spontaneous abortions, birth defects, and death.
Private ownership: Over history, kings and the wealthy have at times prevented people from accessing food on their land: in wars, one side has stolen or destroyed crops to starve people; and empire have tried to claim rights to fundamental foods (such as in India when the British claimed to own salt, essential for life), but social revolt has been the result. Monsanto and other biotech companies claim to own through patents GE-nonfood as inventions, and are simultaneously contaminating normal food, have written laws to eliminate access to it, and have gotten healing foods banned.
Source: Corporations, having stolen DNA by various means, from plants, animals and even humans, make GE-nonfood in laboratories.
The division is based on extreme changes to food for which there is no comparison in the history of mankind and which nature itself defends against, and is stark at every level – biologic health, biologic survival, legal, economic, democratic, … and moral.
While new “keeping kosher” rejects the health threats of GE-nonfood, it is out of an awakening to the indivisibility of nature and of human beings’ place within it and natural rights to it, that the moral dimension takes hold.
One sees this reflected in Monsanto being called the most evil corporation on the planet. A core religious sensibility in the public has been tapped.
Nature (or God, if you will) has boundaries set up across the human, plant, animal, fish, and insect world to prevent species from mixing at the level of DNA. So primary to life and to order in the natural world is the walling off of distinct species, that the very idea of a man combined with a fly could be used as the basis of a horror movie. Monsanto and other biotech companies have transgressed against the most fundamental of natural laws (a law of God, if one will), one that orders the biologic world, and out of hubris and greed, have exposed the world of man-made nightmares that grow and multiply.
The bizarre threats posed by Monsanto have given birth to a drive to protect the food nature provides, as well as inspired a spiritual reverence for all that food means to humanity.
One sees this ”hunger” for real food in people are becoming more and more deeply connected to food, to its sources, to its history, to growing it themselves, to supporting farmers. Its wonders are being expressed across the culture – by journalists, by foodies, by chefs, by slow food groups, by ordinary people. There is gratitude to those who produce it, to the animals who provide fertilizer for it, to the soil it is raised in, to the sun that makes it grow, to the water it depends on, and to community.
In seeking normal food, people are finding a lost wholeness with nature (God, if you will), with their communities, and with well-being.
This pantheistic appreciation of food (nature as whole, God as nature, food as blessing) is imbedded in all the major religions, in their rites and prayers.
Every Sabbath, Jews give thanks for the gift of a day of rest and for not one but two kinds of food:
“Blessed art thou, o Lord our God, who brings forth bread from the earth.”
“Blessed art thou, o Lord our God, who brings forth fruit from the vine.”
Food is often inseparable from religious observance. So spiritual is the taking in of food, that Catholics “eat” the body and blood of Jesus in the form of wafers and wine. Eggs, associated with new life, are part of the observance of Easter. Greens of al kinds are part of the Iranian observance of their New Year in the spring, as life is renewed with their appearance. Most Jewish holidays are centered around food, often very specific ones such as on Sabbath or Passover) and their preparation. Brides and grooms in many cultures feed each other a special food (often sweet) during the weeding ceremony or in the celebration following it.
Hindu women celebrate a bride to be by covering her in turmeric, a healing spice.
For Hindus, food and God are inextricably bound together.
In its material sense, prasada is created by a process of giving and receiving between a human devotee and the divine god. For example, a devotee makes an offering of a material substance such as flowers, fruits, or sweets—which is called naivedya. The deity then ‘enjoys’ or tastes a bit of the offering, which is then temporarily known as bhogya. This now-divinely invested substance is called prasāda, and is received by the devotee to be ingested, worn, etc. It may be the same material that was originally offered, or material offered by others and then re-distributed to other devotees. In many temples, several kinds of prasada (e.g. nuts, sweets) are distributed to the devotees.
Some strict … devotees, will eat only prasada, i.e. everything they eat is first offered to Lord Krishna, not simply a few items like most other Hindus do.
Prasad, an NGO, conveys how spiritually and socially and physically significant food and a reverence for it.
“Prasad is an offering of sustainable organic cuisine to nourish and heal the mind, body and soul. Here to honor our earth, community and one another, we gratefully utilize the precious ingredients of dedicated farmers, fostering change to provide a future of health, love and respect for all.”
In the Bible, God named all that was created (including plants and animals that are eaten) and pronounced it good. On the corporate side, they play God in altering nature and claiming then to own it, but the corporations work not to put a name to what they create. In their not labeling it, they pronounce it not good.
Humanity is pronouncing it evil.
The difference between good and evil can be seen in milk.
Normal milk comes from cows who live out in the sun eat grasses full of nutrients and from those grasses and that sunlight produce milk that is an absolutely complete and perfect food.
Corporate milk comes from cows who do not eat grasses (not getting the abundant array of vitamins and minerals provided by the grasses). They do not live out in the sun (not developing normal levels of vitamin D), whose diet is primarily from grains (not a normal part of their diet) and the grains themselves have been genetically engineered and are grown using some of the most dangerous pesticides known. Cows avoid those grains if given choice (wild animals such as rats, deer, and geese avoid it). The cows vomit from eating the grains and studies are now showing the a 20% infertility rate across dairy cattle eating them and a 45% spontaneous abortion rate. In addition to this diet, the corporate cow is pumped full of a genetically engineered hormone (rBGH) forcing it to produce much more milk than it normally would, giving the cows mastitis so that pus gets into the milk. The cow itself is burned out in only a few lactation cycles so it killed early and made into hamburger meat. The cow is also fed slaughterhouse waste as part of its food, which is the means by which animals can get develop mad cow disease. Because the dairy cows on a GE-hormones are burned out quickly, they are killed so young that any signs of Mad Cow disease are not detectable as they would be in older cows (who would then not be used for meat).
People are keeping a new kosher now. The essence of their dietary laws comes down to eating to what nature made and avoiding corporate GE-nonfood. It is a division between what is holy and what is treif or unholy and actually evil (toward the earth, toward plants, toward animals, toward humans, toward children’s future, toward democracy, toward human birthrights).
On religious and spiritual grounds, those keeping kosher require the labeling of what is treif – GE-nonfood.
For their religious and spiritual observance, they participate in and worship nature (God, if you will) by consuming food purely from nature (God), and by rejecting man-made cross-species abominations.
In understanding that, the profound religious and spiritual dimension behind rejecting mutant GE-nonfood becomes apparent. Refusing to label it forces people to eat it involuntarily, against their deeply held religious beliefs.
Corporate/government refusal to label interferes directly with religious practice and is an severe violation of the constitutional right to freedom of religion.