As the tide turns in the GMO food safety debate, many are left wondering whether it’s worth the time and money to eat non-GMO. The American food safety regulation bureaucracy, headed by none other than former Monsanto attorney Micheal Taylor, claims that any health concern over the use of genetically modified foods are simply conspiracy theories made up by food activists. According the much of America’s mainstream science, often funded by the very companies who make the products they are studying, people who question GM food safety are conspiracy theorists. But in the wake of growing independent research, often done outside the US, It would seem that the concerns over GM crops and correlating pesticides are indeed a huge health and environmental concern. For more on why ‘Monsanto science’ is indeed junk science, read this article from Ecowatch. Image credit: MillionsAgainstMonsanto
INCREASED PESTICIDE USE
Recent data from the US government shows that GM crops and actually increased pesticide use despite industry advertising decreased pesticide use as a selling point to the public. Meanwhile ‘conventional’ crops in Europe which use less pesticides and are non-GMO have seen an increase in crop yields greater than similar American crops that are GM.
“The promise was that you could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield. But let me tell you none of this is true.” — Bill Christison, President of the US National Family Farm Coalition.
GMO FOODS HAVE BEEN SHOWN TO BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH AND UNSAFE TO EAT
Genetic modification is a crude and imprecise way of incorporating foreign genetic material (e.g. from viruses, bacteria) into crops, with unpredictable consequences. The resulting GM foods have undergone little rigorous and no long-term safety testing. However, animal feeding tests have shown that GM foods have toxic effects, including abnormal changes in organs, immune system disturbances, accelerated ageing, and changes in gene expression. Very few studies have been published on the direct effects on humans of eating a GM food. One such study found unexpected effects on gut bacteria, but was never followed up.
It is claimed that Americans have eaten GM foods for years with no ill effects. But these foods are unlabeled in the US and no one has monitored the consequences. With other novel foods like trans fats, it has taken decades to realize that they have caused millions of premature deaths.
GM foods are an imminent threat to humanity’s food supply. Besides the ethical concerns, genetic pollution is self-perpetuating. It can never be reversed or cleaned up. Genetic mistakes will be passed on to all future generations of a species. Wind, rain, birds, bees, and insect pollinators have begun carrying genetically-altered pollen into adjoining fields, polluting the DNA of crops of organic and non-GM farmers. This has been happening all over the world for more than a decade. Theoretically, it genetic pollution continues, it could obliterate the world’s natural organic food supply. Use of herbicide-resistant crops will also lead to a accelerated increase in the use of herbicides, resulting in even greater pollution of our food and water with toxic agrochemicals.
“We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences.” — Dr Suzanne Wuerthele, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicologist.
GM AND NON-GM CANNOT CO-EXIST
GM contamination of conventional and organic food is increasing. An unapproved GM rice that was grown for only one year in field trials was found to have extensively contaminated the world’s rice supply and seed stocks. In Canada, the organic oilseed rape industry has been destroyed by contamination from GM rape. In Spain, a study found that GM maize “has caused a drastic reduction in organic cultivations of this grain and is making their coexistence practically impossible”. The time has come to choose between a GM-based, or a non-GM-based, world food supply.
Alfalfa is the main forage crop for dairy cows and one of the principle foods for beef cows, especially grass-fed cattle. Alfalfa is a perennial, easily lasting five years once planted. And it’s bee-pollinated, which means each year, every non-GM alfalfa plant within five miles of every GM alfalfa plant will likely be contaminated by GM genes.
“If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free of GM. It’s a one way choice, like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia; once it’s made, it can’t be reversed.” — Roger Levett, specialist in sustainable development.
LONG-TERM ECONOMIC DISASTER FOR FARMERS
A 2009 report showed that GM seed prices in America have increased dramatically, compared to non-GM and organic seeds, cutting average farm incomes for US farmers growing GM crops. The report concluded, “At the present time there is a massive disconnect between the sometimes lofty rhetoric from those championing biotechnology as the proven path toward global food security and what is actually happening on farms in the US that have grown dependent on GM seeds and are now dealing with the consequences.”
Farmers are then faced with hundreds of lawsuits filed by agra corps for ‘stealing’ proprietary genetics when it is in fact the GM genetics that are invading farmers’ properties. Not only can this bankrupt small farmers, but it is also a violation of their property rights.
GM COMPANIES CANNOT BE TRUSTED
The big biotech firms pushing their GM foods have a terrible history of toxic contamination and public deception. GM is attractive to them because it gives them patents that allow monopoly control over the world’s food supply. They have taken to harassing and intimidating farmers for the “crime” of saving patented seed or “stealing” patented genes — even if those genes got into the farmer’s fields through accidental contamination by wind or insects.
Monsanto has been the largest player in the GM foods game. They have single handedly made the United States the world’s biggest producer of GM foods, pesticides and herbicides. Founded in 1901, Monsanto has manufactured industrial chemicals (e.g. sulphuric acid), plastics and synthetics, and saccharin, a carcinogenic artificial sweetener. It has also produced or granted production licenses for most of the world’s toxic PCB’s which are now mostly banned worldwide. “Farmers are being sued for having GMOs on their property that they did not buy, do not want, will not use and cannot sell.” — Tom Wiley, North Dakota farmer.