By Rob Pell
July 19, 2013
GMOs, genetically modified organisms, are a hot topic lately. Many people have safety concerns, some don't know what to think. The term GMO, usually refers to laboratory created crops that began infiltrating our food supply in the mid nineties. However, most people still don't understand the differences between hybridization and genetic modification.
Natural hybridization is nothing more than a cross between two closely related species – usually two plants. Hybrids have happened naturally throughout history via cross-pollination. Wind, water and animals are common facilitators in this process . Even when gardeners or farmers help the process along, hybridization has always occurred between closely related species. In the animal kingdom, an example of a hybrid is a mule, which is a cross between a male donkey and a female horse. Generally, mules are more patient, sure-footed and more willing workers than either parent.
In contrast, GMOs are created in labs by scientists combining organisms from two totally different biological kingdoms that could never be blended by the forces of nature alone. For example, Monsanto has crossed genetic material from a bacterial pesticide, Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), with corn. The goal was to create a pest-resistant plant. This means that any pests attempting to eat the corn plant will die since the pesticide is part of every cell of the plant. The resultant GMO plant, known as Bt Corn, is itself registered as a pesticide with the EPA so, if you feed this corn to your cattle, your chickens, or yourself, you’ll be feeding them an actual pesticide in every bite. Bt could never naturally become part of the corn seed.
Another example of a patented GMO seed was created when genes from salmon were combined into tomatoes to make the tomatoes more resistant to cold weather.
On the one hand, biotech firms like Monsanto argue that the GMO seeds they create are so unique, they should be patented. On the other hand, the same firms argue that the GMO seeds are “substantially equivalent” to other seeds, so there's no need for labeling, testing, or regulation.. Looks like Monsanto wants a monopoly on the seeds themselves and both sides of the discussion.
Monsanto and the US Environmental Protection Agency were adamant the pesticide in GMO corn, Bt, would only affect insects munching on the crop. They claimed Bt toxin, would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would have no impact on animals and humans.
They were both proven dead wrong. Last year. doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec, found Bt toxin produced by GMO corn in the blood4 of 93 percent of pregnant women tested and in the umbilical blood from 80% of their babies.
Ironically, farmers are now discovering rootworms have become immune to the genetically modified corn. In parts of Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska, where rootworm has made a comeback, farmers have now returned to using chemical pesticides along with the Bt Corn. So humans, animals and the environment are now getting a double dose of toxins.
In addition, the GMO industry claim that their crops can coexist with non-GMOs and remain segregated is flat out wrong. They completely ignore the natural impacts of wind, insects, floods, and animals. Corn pollen can easily drift one-half mile in windy conditions. Peter Thomison of Ohio State University wrote, “even if only a small percentage of the total pollen shed by a field of corn drifts into a neighboring field, there is considerable potential for contamination through cross pollination.” Contamination permanently alters a species' gene pool, undermines the ability of organic and non-GMO farmers to receive fair pay for their efforts and prevents exports to countries that want nothing to do with GMOs. This happened recently when GMO wheat was discovered in Oregon fields and Japan and other countries refused to buy wheat grown in Oregon.
Some GMO crops have been created to withstand massive applications of Monsanto's herbicide Roundup (glyphosate).The thinking is that Roundup will kill the weeds and leave the crops standing tall and healthy. Monsanto's website claims that Roundup is: “a perfect fit with the vision of sustainable agriculture and environmental protection”. Further, it claims that using Roundup creates the benefits of: “Maximum profit, efficiency and convenience”. No where on their site is there any mention of safety concerns.
Seeds for crops that can withstand massive doses of Roundup are called Roundup-ready. While the genetically modified crops are resistant to applications of the weed-killing Roundup, farmers are now increasingly having to deal with Roundup-resistant "superweeds." In many cases they are having to apply more pesticides than ever. It is now estimated that in the period from 1996, when the GMO crops were introduced, to 2011, an additional 404 million pounds of chemical pesticides were applied to US fields, amounting to a 7 per cent increase overall.
It's obvious that when Mosanto talks about “maximum profit, efficiency and convenience” they are speaking for themselves, not for the long-term benefit of the farmers that they've hoodwinked into using their GMO Frakenseeds.
the early 1940s another pesticide, DDT, was considered safe because
it was not immediately acutely toxic. It was 30 years before the devastating
environmental impacts were discovered and acknowledged. Very low,
seemingly harmless concentrations of DDT in streams, lakes and bays,
increased in concentration, an astounding, 10 million times further
up the food chain – 0.000003 ppm (part per million) concentration
in water became 25.0 ppm in carnivorous birds like osprey, eagles
High concentrations of DDT caused the birds to produce eggs with thinner shells that cracked easily during incubation preventing the birds from successfully reproducing, nearly making them extinct.
On Saturday, May 25th, people in 430 cities, in 52 countries participated in the March Against Monsanto. Why was there virtually no mainstream media coverage?
Could it be the fix is in? After all, President Obama appointed a former Monsanto VP, Michael Taylor, as FDA Deputy Commissioner of Foods. Taylor was also the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Policy in the 90s. In between, he was employed by Monsanto as Vice President of Public Policy.
When the top lefty in the govt sells us out on this issue, we have a huge problem. There's little doubt where Romney or McCain would be on this if they had their finger on the GMO button. Both sides of the political aisle have sold out. And they've obviously taken the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and Fox News with them.
Studies have recently been released indicating that Roundup, glyphosate, is not nearly as safe as was originally claimed. To what extent, is not yet known. Further, research now demonstrates that those who regularly eat GMO foods may experience increases in inappropriate immune system over reactions resulting in increased allergies, asthma and even organ damage. .
If the mainstream media gave studies like these any exposure at all, it would likely be devastating to Monsanto and other biotech companies currently fighting tooth and nail to prevent mandatory GMO labeling. After all, who would knowingly eat foods that are designed in laboratories to create their own pesticides and have been proven to accumulate in and be destructive to human bodies?
In Europe, Norway, Austria Germany, the U.K., Spain Italy, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal have GMO restrictions. France has laws that clearly define what GMO-free means on food labels. Ireland has banned all growing of GMOs and the European Union has considered a continent-wide outright ban of GMOs.
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Numerous Asian and African countries have banned the growing and\or distribution of GMOs as well.
72% of the world's GMO foods are produced in the U S even though the long-term genetic effects on humans from consuming the new combinations of proteins produced in GMOs are unknown and there are currently no U.S. laws that require GMO ingredients be identified as such.
Right now, Americans are essentially swimming in a giant test tube at the center of a massive, Monsanto-led, GMO experiment. The only escape is to grow your own or buy foods that are certified “Organic.”
This article originally appeared in The Daily Courier on June 19, 2013.
© 2013 Robert Pell - All Rights Reserve
Website: Sunshine Natural Foods
E-Mail: [email protected]