GE sugar is here

Like GE corn and GE soy, products containing GE sugar will not be labeled as such.

Genetically engineered (GE) sugar will soon be in your cereal, drinks, ice cream and sugar bowl. This unnatural product will harm your body sooner than you think.

American Crystal, a large Wyoming-based sugar company, that ironically has launched an “organic” line of sugar, and several other leading U.S. sugar providers have announced they will be sourcing their sugar from genetically engineered sugar beets beginning this year. It will begin arriving in stores in 2008.

Like GE corn and GE soy, products containing GE sugar will not be labeled as such. Since half of the granulated sugar in the U.S. comes from sugar beets, a move toward biotech beets marks a dramatic alteration of the U.S. food supply.

Currently, up to 40 percent of U.S. corn and 80 percent of soybeans are genetically engineered. These GE sugars, along with GE corn and soy, are and will be found in many conventional food products, exposing us to genetically engineered ingredients in almost every non-organic, multiple-ingredient product purchased. It has been estimated that more than 60 percent of the processed foods on supermarket shelves — from soda to soup, crackers to condiments — contain GE ingredients.

The GE sugar beet is designed to withstand strong doses of Monsanto’s controversial, broad-spectrum herbicide, Roundup®. Studies indicate farmers planting “Roundup Ready” corn and soy spray large amounts of the herbicide, contaminating both soil and water. Farmers planting GE sugar beets are told they may be able to apply the herbicide up to five times per year. Sugar beets are grown on 1.4 million acres by 12,000 farmers in the U.S.

Meanwhile, candy companies like Hershey’s® are urging farmers not to plant GE sugar beets, noting that consumer surveys suggest resistance to the product. Also, the European Union has not approved GE sugar beets for human consumption.

The genetic engineering of plants and animals is looming as one of the greatest and most intractable environmental challenges. It has invaded our food by fundamentally altering some of our most important staple crops.

 

Resources: www.organicconsumers.org and www.thecenterforfoodsafety.org.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 1, February/March 2008.

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