I was having dinner and conservation with two dear friends the other evening. We talked about all kinds of stuff…then one asked “What’s the big deal with GMO’s? And even if they eventually passed labeling laws, what good will it do?”
Many things went through my mind. I asked what either of them knew about GMO’s and they really didn’t know much. Genetically Modified Organisms are introduced into various crop seed (such as corn, soy and so on) for some of the following reasons:
Some GMO’s are bred to be resistant to herbicides (such as Monsanto’s Round Up). Monsanto spent quite a bit of money to produce this technology. Are you with me so far? Seed crops that are resistant to Round Up are doused with said herbicide to keep the field weeds down. As GMO crops grow, they may be treated with Round Up several times before they are harvested. When these crops are processed, you are ingesting that residual poison that was sprayed on the plants. Pesticides may also end up in the water supply, but that’s another topic. And as far as I know, there is no research that has shown it is safe for people to eat GMO’s, let alone all of the extra pesticides.
In the 1950’s, Rachel Carson wrote a book called “Silent Spring”. She noticed that the local birds had all but disappeared; it was found that they were poisoned by pesticides.
There has been strong research since the 1960/70’s that proves people who are exposed to herbicides develop disease related illnesses. In the USA today, you have a 1 in 6 chance of receiving a cancer diagnosis. In my private practice, I have met 35 clients with a cancer diagnosis in the last 6 years…It is a bit ironic that we already know that pesticides= increase cancer risks, yet our food supply has more chemicals sprayed on it than ever. I wonder why the FDA allows it? Heck, I wonder why WE allow it?
Other types of GMO’s have bacteria called Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis introduced into the DNA of the seed. What does Bt do? It kills caterpillars. Why is it in the seed? So that as the plant grows, any caterpillar that comes along and eats it is going to croak. After these crops are harvested and processed, humans are then exposed to Bt in their food. What effect does eating Bt have on humans? Who knows???! There have been no studies done on the effect of Bt GMO’s and the human diet. The FDA has allowed these products to be introduced into our food chain with no research about side effects.
Also, I kind of miss the moths and butterflies…Bt is an indiscriminate killer- it doesn’t tell the pests from the beneficial. And yes, there are beneficial moths and butterflies.
One last thing I will mention about the GMO’s is that many of these crops are wind pollinated. Anytime the pollen is ripe and the wind is blowing- that pollen is flying around everywhere trying to land in the spot where they can get lucky. Why is that a big deal? Because there are farmers (believe it or not!) who prefer to grow plants the old fashioned way: without GMO’s. When the wind blows, if a neighboring farmer is using GMO’s, the pollen from those crops may contaminate one who isn’t.
Now for another little kicker- Monsanto has a marker that they insert into their wind pollinated seed and are suing when their marker shows up in a field where a farmer didn’t purchase Monsanto seed. I sort of think it should be the other way around: the farmers who don’t want the stuff oughta be able to protect their crops and Monsanto should contain their GMO’s.
Onward and thanks for sticking with me so far. Now I am going to tell you just a bit about the term “resistance”. Some insects under good weather conditions can reproduce entire generations in 5-10 days. Many plants can reproduce seed once a year and some mutate very easily. Remember, human reproduction takes decades. When pesticides are sprayed repeatedly, most of the pests are killed. However, those few that were unaffected are able to reproduce, and as the susceptible population dies, the resistant ones take over. This applies to insects, fungus, bacteria…Just like the killer staph infections that resist antibiotics and you probably have already heard about that. So “new & improved” toxic sprays are needed and the cycle repeats. And I mentioned the human reproduction cycle takes much longer, so we do not adapt as fast. In fact, it may take a generation or two before we even see how serious the damage is.
Right now, there are no labeling laws. We are eating GMO’s with no guarantee of safety; no studies have been done on how they affect human health. Sugar beets, potatoes, tomatoes, soybeans, cottonseed oil and every corn product and (including high fructose corn syrup) that you eat or drink, you are also ingesting GMO’s. And believe me, the few products that are not GMO are very happy to tell you so. I just saw the GMO’s are also in our pet foods!
For me, I would like to know so that I could fully support farmers who do not use GMO seed. Show me the label and let me vote with my dollars. The farmers who want to continue funding a company like Mosanto are free to do so, and I want to be free to NOT!
Enhance your health, it’s a precious gift and thanks for checking in,
Jane Ann, massage pro, NCH, CHt