There you are, loading up your grocery cart with organic produce every week, thinking you’re doing your best to avoid foods that have been modified by the hands of humans – no labs, no lab coats, and no forced mutations — namely, those pesky GMOs we’ve all heard so much about lately.

Well, I hope you’re sitting down, because it turns out, even your organic stuff may have been modified – just in a different manner.

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Were you aware that mutagenesis, the process of applying “chemical, physical, or radiation stress is applied to a cell to scramble its genetic makeup and force mutation” is not only considered to be a traditional, natural breeding technique, but, in some parts of the world, its produce results can be considered organic?

In an article out this week from the Epoch Times, a big question is considered: if its genes were scrambled with gamma rays, how can something be labeled organic? Better yet, is mutagenesis the new GMO?

Plants mutated with gamma radiation or chemicals (including benzene, a known carcinogen) aren’t even subject to health or environmental testing.

The Epoch Times explains, “Although cells will end up scrambled or partly “frozen” genetically, they will not contain recombinant DNA (DNA recombined in a laboratory) after mutagenesis. For this reason, and because the practice has been in use since the 1940s, mutagenesis is considered a traditional breeding technique and safe enough for unregulated and unlabeled public release in America.”

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Ok, so we’ve probably been eating organic mutagenesis produce? Um…yikes?!

In Canada, mutagenesis foods are considered GMOs by law. And in Europe, mutagenesis is not allowed in organic farming.

Whether mutagenesis is considered to “mimic natural mutations” or not, the key word here is “mimic.” Other key words here include “radiation,” “chemicals,” and “untested.”  And the fact that it’s happening in organic produce, for that matter, makes this even more astounding. Whether our government considers it natural or not, I’d prefer my food unscrambled and not mutated, please and thank you — especially considering we haven’t even tested this on health and the environment.

Is it finally time we all farm every piece of our food ourselves so we’re not subject to this constant level of mutated everything? I think I’m headed out to buy my supplies now.

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Image source: The Atlantic / Creative Commons

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