Time to Pass on the Papayas Again?

 Author:  Lee Ann Rush

Like many other people, I’ve become much more cognizant of the strong connection between diet and health over the last 15 years or so.  I’m happy to say that my newfound awareness has not only gotten me to adopt healthier eating habits, it’s made cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients much more enjoyable for me, and also prompted me to use foods I’d rarely even looked at before.  One of these foods is the papaya, or papaw (which is also the name I called my paternal grandfather when I was little).   A tropical tree melon, the papaya comes in red- and yellow-fleshed varieties and is widely known as a wonder fruit for the plethora of essential vitamins and beneficial enzymes it contains, including the histamine inhibitor bromelain, as well as pro-digestive enzymes and anti-inflammatory properties.

However, there’s a problem with the papayas.  During the early 1990s, much of the Hawaiian papaya crop was decimated by papaya ringspot virus (PRV), a disease that causes premature molting and malformation of the leaves, and drastically reduces the fruit yield.  Fear that the state’s papaya industry would be destroyed if the virus remained unchecked prompted researchers at the University of Hawaii to attempt the development of a papaya cultivar that would prove resistant to PRV.  The quest was successful, and since 1998, genetically-modified papayas have been grown in Hawaii, even in areas where PRV is widespread.  However, GMO papayas have been banned throughout the European Union due to concerns about their health risks.

The FDA, though, has no problem with GMO papayas; not surprising at all given the fact that they’ve all but handed over the job of policy-making in this arena to Monsanto and its ilk.  After all, former Monsanto Vice President and lobbyist Michael Taylor was appointed last year by none other than President Barack Obama (whose First Lady Michelle is, ironically, always shown in the press touting healthy eating habits for children) to the position of Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of the FDA!  Taylor is the same person who held the position of U.S. Food Safety Czar during the time when GMO foods were first permitted to enter the American food supply without any testing to determine their safety or lack thereof.   Hasn’t anyone in the administration ever heard of a conflict of interest?  To paraphrase S.D. Wells of NaturalNews.com, this is akin to handing over the American food supply to the terrorists.  With Taylor, the individual likely responsible for more food-related illnesses and deaths than anyone else in the course of history, at the helm, Monsanto will have carte blanche to feed carcinogenic GMO foods and pesticide-laden produce to all Americans who don’t practice strictly-organic eating habits.  This is not science fiction; sadly, this is today’s America.

On October 12, 2013, a giant March Against Monsanto is planned, with events in cities across the United States and around the world.  I’ll post more about it next time.