A disquieting and meditative look at the issue that started the biggest food fight of our time--GMOs. From a journalist and mother who learned that genetically modified corn was the culprit behind what was making her and her child sick, a must-read book for anyone trying to parse the incendiary discussion about genetically modified foods.
*One of Publishers Weekly's Best Books 2016*
"More so than definitive answers, the questions that Shetterly advances are a persuasive reminder of how important the continued fight for true transparency in the food industry is." --Goop
GMO products are among the most consumed and the least understood substances in the United States today. They appear not only in the food we eat, but in everything from the interior coating of paper coffee cups and medicines to diapers and toothpaste. We are often completely unaware of their presence.
Caitlin Shetterly discovered the importance of GMOs the hard way. Shortly after she learned that her son had an alarming sensitivity to GMO corn, she was told that she had the same condition, and her family’s daily existence changed forever. An expansion of Shetterly’s viral Elle article “The Bad Seed,” Modified delves deep into the heart of the matter—from the cornfields of Nebraska to the beekeeping conventions in Brussels—to shine a light on the people, the science, and the corporations behind the food we serve ourselves and our families every day. Deeper than an exposé, and written by a mother and journalist whose journey had no agenda other than to understand the nuance and confusion behind GMOs, Modified is a rare breed of book that will at once make you weep at the majestic beauty of our Great Plains and force you to harvest deep seeds of doubt about the invisible monsters currently infiltrating our food and our land and threatening our future.
In this alarming journalistic work, Shetterly (Made for You and Me) investigates genetically modified organisms, their associated pesticides, and the biotech megacorporations that produce and sell them. Shetterly begins by detailing her own debilitating but undiagnosed illness, which only abated after an allergist suggested that she had "developed a reaction to genetically modified corn" and she followed his advice to eliminate corn from her diet. This work, a follow-up to Shetterly's piece for Elle magazine describing that experience, is structured around visits to a few people on both sides of the issue of the use of genetically modified crops as well as her additional research to understand more about GMOs and what is at stake. That turns out to be billions of dollars, and, more broadly, public health. For example, many genetically modified crops are created to be "Roundup Ready" so that they will survive the application of the Roundup pesticide, which by no coincidence is also sold by Monsanto, the producer of the seeds. This troubling conflict of interest is exacerbated by a complete lack of transparency; the biotech giants conducting the studies that claim their products are safe don't make that research publicly available. Shetterly's accessible, well-researched, and damning work brings clarity to an often fuzzy debate.