scary GMOs

gmo-orange-kiwiFrankenfoods is the popular name for GMOs or genetically modified organisms.   GMOs can actually be either plants or animals bred for food, but also plants for biofuel or fiber. GMOs involve the deliberate manipulation of genetic material, usually through introduction of DNA foreign to the original organism, to force the alteration of the plant or animal’s genetic make-up.  Brave New World, here we come.

Make no mistake, GMO technology is being used as a solution to agricultural and environmental challenges we have been unable (or dare I say unwilling) to resolve otherwise, such as eradicating world hunger, or agricultural challenges arising from climate change like the need for more drought tolerant crops. The consequences of introducing these questionable man-made creations into nature and our bodies have not been thoroughly enough researched (the time frame has been too short), yet, eager for profit, their launching has been hastened. Some effects are known, some can be anticipated, others will take the population at large by surprise, although already predicted by scientists, but in short they are all worrisome.

Based on research and case studies health consequences may encompass increased exposure to allergens, elevated cancer risks, increased resistance to antibiotics, risks of neurobehavioral defects, doubling the risk of miscarriages in advanced pregnancies, and disruption of the endocrine system.Fish-and-Tomato

Environmental effects are loss of biodiversity, pollen spreading from genetically engineered to non-genetically engineered plants, and interbreeding not only with wild species but also adjacent non-GMO crops. This disrupts the natural ecology and weakens the plants by genetically forcing characteristics external to their own ecosystem on them, which in turn stresses the plants and makes them unfit in the long term. Puerto Rican journalist Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero has written about the large scale environmental problems caused by herbicide-resistant GMO soybeans that have led to deforestation, soil degradation, and pesticide and genetic contamination.  This is huge!

Ricarda Steinbrecher, a molecular geneticist, has documented the scarily unpredictable side effects of genetically modified salmon reared in Scotland that was engineered to grow fast, but which also unpredictably turned green. Oops. And we are finding out that the genes of such Frankensteinian organisms are unstable in later generations.  So who knows what would happen if these green salmon were to escape and mate with nature made salmon.  Scary….

A serious ethical concern, that has farmers already up in arms, is the biochemical companies’ profit driven and complete control over the never ending, and of course unsustainable, dependency cycle on herbicides and pesticides, fertilizers and GMO seeds (Monsanto and others sell them all and require farmers to certify that they will not save seeds from one year to the next!).

gmo-freeTake note that many countries have either never adopted or already banned GMO crops. Our best bet is to refrain from buying, and thus promoting the further use of GMO crops, and supporting GMO labeling. Did you know that open produce in supermarkets is already labeled? A 4-digit fruit label (say #4011) means “conventionally grown banana,” a 5-digit code starting with a 9 (say #94011) means “organically grown banana,” and a 5-digit number with an 8 (say #84011) means “genetically modified banana.” Organic certification forbids the use of GMOs, but almost all conventional soy and corn crops in the US, and much rice and cotton, are now GMO. Why not refrain from buying anything with high fructose corn syrup, and no supermarket cereal – better for your health anyways. And when you buy local corn in late summer ask the farmer – many of our local farmers are aware and don’t grow GMO corn.









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2 Responses to scary GMOs

  1. Russ says:

    Hi Susanne,

    This is good on the health and some of the environmental effects of GMOs and their affiliated poisons, but why does it lead off repeating three of the biggest lies of all, that GMOs can help “feed the world”, that they can help with climate change, and that there’s such a thing as “drought resistant GMOs”?

    Industrial agriculture itself is the worst GHG emitter and destroyer of carbon sinks, and GMO cultivation does nothing but double down on every pathology of industrial agriculture. Meanwhile so-called drought resistant GMOs” are nothing but conventionally bred varieties which then have the Roundup Ready and/or Bt-expressing transgenes inserted. The very concept is a typical industry hoax.

    As for the industry-driven notion that there’s a shortage of food, that’s a classical Big Lie. Right now agriculture produces far more than enough food for everyone on earth (and more than would be needed for even the highest projections of future population). There’s zero problem with the amount of food produced , and zero problem need to produce “more”. 100% of the problem is the distribution system, that people can’t afford the abundant food which already exists.

    The quality of this food is a different story, but again this is inherent to corporate industrial ag as such. It’s designed to produce high calories, high protein, and low nutritional quality. To the extent GMOs have anything to do with food production, they’re to intensify this system based on CAFOs and processed junk food.

    Therefore, strictly speaking GMOs have nothing to do with food at all, they’re strictly commodities. But then we know as a long-established historical fact that corporate-controlled agriculture and food systems cannot end hunger and don’t want to.

    I wrote this because the “Feed the World” Big Lie is by far the most potent lie Monsanto has going, and lots of people who rightfully fear for the safety of their food and would otherwise think it’s worth fighting give up because they surrender to this false idea. Therefore, if there’s to be any hope of victory, all knowledgeable people must make combating this Big Lie a priority, until the lie is fully exposed and routed. At that point the rest of the fight will be much easier, since all the facts and science are on the side of the people and against the poison peddlers. Really the only thing that gives most people pause is the sense of fatalism and futility, including when they falsely think the cause of world hunger is that there’s not enough food.

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