Just when is a tomato not a tomato and a papaya not a papaya?  I know that this sounds like a riddle that's going to have some ridiculous answer, but the answer is not funny in the least bit.  Genetic engineering is possibly one of the most diabolic ventures of our scientists ever on the face of this earth and it may have implications that are so far reaching as to completely destroy forever our food.
    Most people buying food off the shelves of the supermarkets today have no clue that a large percentage of products already contain genetically engineered foods.  Unlike European countries, in the good old US of A, genetically engineered foods don't have to be labeled.  Because of this, no one is keeping track of where they end up, so you really have no way of knowing where they are, except that certain foods are more widely grown with engineered seeds.  Corn, soybeans and tomatoes are some, but the list keeps growing so incredibly fast.
    For those who don't know, genetic engineering is a fancy term for manipulating the gene structure of a particular food whereby genetic material is borrowed or inserted from another food or non-food.  The first such item put onto the market was a tomato that had a fish gene in it.  Now that's bad news for vegetarians, but it gets worse.  Our scientists are hard at work inserting virus and bacteria into certain foods.  The idea is that as certain virus or bacteria are immune to particular things, the food that is now part bacteria or virus will also probably be immune to the offending disease or problem.  
    Thankfully, for now at least, genetically engineered foods are not permitted in foods that are "Certified Organic", although the federal government recently tried to include genetically engineered foods into the new organic food standards.  
    The other good news is that most fruits are not being genetically engineered, for many reasons.  Most fruits trees take a long time to grow and are not "ripe" for tinkering, compared with annual crops.  Most fruit trees are grafted and not grown from seed, which makes genetic engineering even more difficult.
    The bad news is that certain fruits have a quick turn around time and therefore are easier to manipulate.  I used to say that papayas were the perfect fruit because they are so incredibly prolific in such a small space and so incredibly good and nutritious and produce fruit from seed in a year or less.  As it turns out, that is their downfall.  In recent years, papaya growers in Hawaii have had severe problems with something known as "ringspot virus" that has pretty much threatened to wipe out the whole industry.  I believe the problem stems from the fact that papayas are such fast growers and they are grown in areas that have practically no soil, but just volcanic rock and ash, and that organic matter needs to be imported.  I have seen beautiful, incredible papaya plants that were organically grown nearby commercial groves that were suffering miserably due to ringspot virus.  
    So, you guessed it, our agricultural scientists have come up with a genetically engineered papaya that is completely immune to the ringspot virus and the scientists are being heralded as saving the day.  Problem is they don't look past the day.  What about the future?  What kind of long-term implications does it have to include a virus gene in with the papaya?  Even organic papayas may be affected because of open pollination.  In time, all papayas may be "tainted".  Common sense should tell us that these phony papayas can't be as healthy, nor taste as a good as a real papaya.
    When pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers were introduced, we were told to bow down before the chemical companies and be ever so thankful for the great contribution to our society.  In time we've come to see what a travesty it has truly been.  It has taken our society 50 years to realize as a whole that our foods and our lands have been poisoned so that companies like Monsanto and DuPont can rake in the profits.  It's not surprising that some of these same companies are responsible for unleashing the atrocities of genetic engineering on our world.  Their shortsighted vision has the potential to ruin forever what is possibly the most valuable thing to us on this planet, and that is our food supply.  When all our food is forever ruined, then what will we do?  Science can create the problem, but it's unlikely that science could fix the problem.
    We may seem helpless in light of what's being done to our food, but there are some steps we can take to help the situation:
    #1  Eat organic food.  By law, (for now) organic produce cannot contain genetically engineered materials.
    #2  Grow your own food.  For now, no one can tinker with your fruit trees.  Many fruit trees live to be 100 years old or more, so a lot of the trees you plant will outlive you.  Plant some fruit trees as soon as you can.
    #3 Oppose any legislation that threatens that facilitates increased consumption of genetically engineered foods, especially the inclusion of genetically engineered foods into organically grown foods.
    As I write this, scientists are working hard on other incredibly insane items, such as genetic manipulation of foods so that they could include vaccines, so that routine innoculations could be a thing of the past, a frightening thought indeed considering how dangerous vaccines truly are, and how could you control the amounts consumed, it would be difficult.
    There are many more experiments going on, most of which I'd probably rather not know.  It is clear to me that our science is evolving faster and faster without any thought to moral, spiritual, or even environmental implications.  
    We may be telling our granchildren about the old days when tomatoes were tomatoes and papayas were papayas.  We need to return to the natural way.  Our science is sheer insanity.  Working with nature is the only way to produce healthy food, healthy people and a healthy planet.
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