- “God (Nature, in my view) makes all things good; man meddles with them and they become evil. He fore’s one soil to yield the products of another, one tree to bear another’s fruit. He confuses and confounds time, place, and natural conditions. He mutilates his dog, his horse, and his slave. He destroys and defaces all things; he loves all that is deformed and monstrous; he will have nothing as nature made it, not even himself, who must learn his paces like a saddle-horse, and be shaped to his master’s taste like the trees in his garden.” ― Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Although I recently wrote about the continuing debate Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) may pose to our health, I feel compelled to bring it up once again due to the abundance of importance this topic poses with regard to our long-term health as well as our rights as American citizens.
Currently, there are 64 nations around the globe that require labeling of genetically modified foods sold to their citizens. This list of nations includes both developed and less developed nations, but the one thing they all have in common is that their citizens are given the right to make informed decisions about the type of food offered in their market places: are they genetically modified or not? If so, a label must be present to identify those foods as GM foods. Many of these countries are industrialized nations such as Australia, Brazil, the European Union, India, Japan, and even China! Here is the complete list of these countries in alphabetical order according to The Center for Food Safety:
Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
According to a recent national survey performed by Consumer Reports National Research Center, 92 per cent of Americans – 92% of Americans – agree that food should be labelled as GM or non-GM. WE, the people, WANT THE RIGHT to make informed decisions that we feel are most important for our family and for our health, but this is not the case. Why are we excluded from the long list of nations that allows it citizens to make these decisions about the type of food they wish to buy for their children when 92% of Americans are demanding to have that right?
In the U.S. many GMO foods are found in processed foods, restaurant foods, and in pseudo-REAL foods. A pseudo-REAL food is one found in the produce area of the grocery that looks and smells like a REAL food, but has been GM. In the author’s opinion when a food has been genetically manipulated through transgenic, gene-splicing techniques to create foods that Nature did not sanction, the food cannot be classified as REAL because its genetic structure was reformulated through biotechnological engineering with unknown health consequences that may develop due to those manipulations. With scientists now capable of creating plants and animals totally unknown to Nature, it becomes our right to know which foods we want to feed our family – GMOs or Nature’s REAL foods – just as the American people have overwhelmingly expressed their concern for choosing.
According to Dr. Thierry Vrain, former research scientist for Agriculture Canada, “Genetic engineering is 40 years old. It is based on the naive understanding of the genome based on the One Gene – one protein hypothesis of 70 years ago, that each gene codes for a single protein. The Human Genome project completed in 2002 showed that this hypothesis is wrong.
The whole paradigm of the genetic engineering technology is based on a misunderstanding. Every scientist now learns that any gene can give more than one protein and that inserting a gene anywhere in a plant eventually creates rogue proteins. Some of these proteins are obviously allergenic or toxic.”
The Non-GMO Project represents the only independent verification system for products made according to best practices for GMO avoidance in North America.
The irony to all of this is that the mega-biotech corporations producing many of our processed foods recognize the public’s demand for non-GMO foods is going through the roof. Nutrition Business Journal has reported that sales of non-GMO processed foods that have either been certified as Organic or that carry the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal has increased by a whopping 80%. This response has caused some food corporations to voluntarily label their products as Non-GMO Project Verified or Organic, but this volunteerism does not extend to all processed foods and certainly not to pseudo-REAL foods which keeps all Americans in the dark about what they are buying for their family.
Dr. Nathan Hendricks is an agricultural economist with Kansas State University. He says, “They are experimenting, in case labeling does become mandatory and boosts demand for non-GMOs. Of course, they may do this without too much fanfare to avoid raising questions about why they’re removing GMOs from some of their products but not others.”
But the GMO issue goes much deeper than most Americans suspect. Corn and soybeans are the two most widely GM crops that are harvested in the U.S. today. Processed foods such as non-organic tortilla chips most likely will be made from GM corn, while all soy processed foods – everything from soy bacon to soy yogurt – will also be made from GM soy crops unless these foods are identified as Organic which does not allow the use of GM ingredients or they are labelled as “Non-GMO Project Verified.” But this lack of identity goes down to the use of many spices and seasoning mixes that often contain soy or corn ingredients with the GM list more pervasive beyond our imagination. Soft drinks (sodas) can easily contain GM ingredients because they contain Corn Syrup. Any ingredient with the word corn or soy is very likely to be a GM food, so the list of GM products on the U.S. market is mind-boggling. GM ingredients also include the artificial sweetener aspartame, and the sweetener glucose as well as citric acid. It is safe to bet that unless the processed food is identified as Organic or Non-GMO Project Verified, then at least some of the ingredients will contain GM ingredients that we are not being told about.
GMO companies such as Monsanto try to make a point that GM crops are good the environment and the crops because the use of pesticides it greatly reduced with these crops. While the use of insecticides that kills bugs has been reduced since the introduction of GM crops in the mid-1990’s, the use of herbicides that are used for killing weeds has soared.
Many GMO corn, soybean and other crops have been genetically engineered to survive the use of the weed killer Roundup, also known as glyphosate which is made by Monsanto. The seeds of these GM plants were introduced 1996 by Monsanto and were specifically engineered to resist destruction from Roundup. But the use of Roundup since that time has increased nearly TENFOLD in order to kill the weeds that now have become resistant to Roundup. Just as our overuse of antibiotics to kill bacterial pathogens responsible for disease caused the creation of Super Bugs antibiotics are no longer able to kill, the overuse of Roundup has resulted in OUR creating an epidemic of FrankenWeeds that have become immune to Roundup which it can no longer destroy. How idiotic can we be given our history with the overuse of antibiotics?
“Via the U.S. Geological Survey
Use of the herbicide glyphosate, known by the brand name Roundup, has expanded since 1992, according to U.S. Geological Survey records. Genetically modified ‘Roundup Ready’ soybeans, which allow farmers to kill weeds without killing the crop, became available in 1994.”
Stratus Agri-Marketing conducts an annual survey of American farmers. The survey has found that the rate at which Roundup-resistant weeds (also known as glyphosate-resistant weeds) are created continues to gain momentum year after year. In 2011, weed resistance was at 34% for American farmers, while in 2012 immune weeds have increased to 49% on U.S. farms using Monsanto GE crops! In 2012 the total number of acres infested with glyphosate-resistant weeds had grown to 61.2 million acres. Increases are being seen in most states across the country with the Midwest especially being affected. Kent Fraser, president of Stratus Agri-Marketing said, “We asked farmers to share their experiences with glyphosate resistance on their farms and we’re clearly seeing the problem intensify. There is a very high rate of resistance in the southern states like Georgia where 92% of growers reported having glyphosate-resistant weeds. And we’re also seeing the problem intensify in the Midwest. In Illinois, 43% of farmers reported having glyphosate-resistant weeds in 2012.”
“Via the U.S. Geological Survey. The graph shows the increase in Roundup usage from 1992 to 2011, with various colors denoting which crop farmers treated with the herbicide.”
And what is the “solution” according to the biotech industry? Create yet more types of GM crops which they have, along with the USDA’s blessing! Dow AgroSciences has recently received the go ahead from the federal government to sell another brand of Enlist GMO corn and soybean crops that will be resistant to both Roundup and to the herbicide, 2,4-D. Charles Benbrook, Ph.D. and research professor at Washington State University says, “Since this is likely to make even more weeds immune to both Roundup and 2,4-D, this ‘solution’ to the super-weed problem makes about as much sense as pouring gasoline on a fire to put it out.”
These increases in the amounts of herbicides used to control these weeds could easily affect consumers’ health. These herbicides can easily wind up in the crops themselves which cannot be washed out. A group of 70 scientists, doctors and health professionals have tried to bring attention to the fact that some studies have found exposure to 2, 4-D linked to increased risks of birth defects, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and reproductive issues.
Questions that need to be asked and answered:
- WHY is our government allowing biotech industries a free hand to grow GMO crops when there are NO long-term studies indicating that they are safe?
- WHY are these crops not being identified in the processed foods they are used as ingredients or in the pseudo-REAL foods found in the produce areas of the grocery or when they used as ingredients in our restaurants?
- WHY can 64 nations around the world clearly identify these GM foods for their citizens, while the U.S. government keeps the American public in the dark when 92% of the populace wants to know?
- How can we ignore the consequences of our misuse of antibiotics and replicate that calamity with yet another tragedy that may have far greater dire consequences than what we are experiencing from our overuse of antibiotics?
- WHO is a safer arbitrator for our health: Man/Government or Nature?