I haven’t talked about the dangers of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in a while.
It seems the public outcry has died down a bit as even bigger problems swamp the world’s attention. While that’s good news for companies who make enormous profits on them, it’s not such good news for you (or your table).
GMOs are also called genetically engineered or biotech goods. These refer to anything – plant or animal – that is tweaked in a lab to make something supposedly better than the original.
A few quick facts…
- Approximately 70% of all processed foods contain GMOs
- When surveyed, most Americans do not believe they’ve ever eaten GMO foods
- If you don’t grow your own food, it’s likely you’ve consumed GMOs
- Chemical engineering of our food supply is largely unregulated
- S. food companies who use GMOs are not required to label their products
- The companies who make GMO foods are primarily chemical manufacturers
- Right now, in the U.S., more than 94% of soy crops, 89% of corn crops, 91% of cotton crops, and 90% of sugar beets are genetically modified.
GMO dangers involve more than the food supply.
I believe, as do many doctors, scientists, and experts around the world, that we’re playing with something we don’t understand fully – and it involves our food.
GMOs flooded the marketplace without adequate testing (outside of the chemical companies that produce them). We don’t know all the long-term effects of GMOs on our health yet but we suspect it’s going to be an unpleasant moment in mankind’s history.
The whole thing is like a science fiction movie.
- Evil company hijacks the food supply by making as many farmers buy their GMO seeds from them and making them sign contracts not to grow other crops.
- Evil company forces farmers to spray their crops with the pesticide bred into the seeds.
- Evil company insists on constant planting for highest return on their investment, stripping the soil of essential nutrients humans need.
- Evil company ignores initial concerns of scientists and consumers about blending food with industrial chemicals, the massive use of pesticides, and the lower nutrient content of commercially farmed crops.
- Evil company gradually forces out farmers who don’t want to grow their franken-seeds.
- Evil company lobbies politicians to prevent labeling of food – consumers won’t complain if they don’t know. They bring lawsuits against farmers who speak out.
- Evil company makes insane profits while the independent farmers are pushed out of what is likely a family business passed down for generations.
- Evil company waves off initial reports of increased food intolerance, cancer, gastric lesions, kidney and liver damage, and severe allergic reactions as hearsay from hippie types who don’t “understand how much food we need to grow.”
- Evil company wins…and wins…and wins.
That’s not the new plot for a science fiction novel. All of that – all of it – is true. It’s already happened or is happening now. There are two things pro-GMO people like to bring up.
One, we’ve always “modified” our food – we’re just better at it now. Two, we need to make as much food as possible because places in the world are starving.
Farmers and Food Modification
It’s true that crops have been “modified” by farmers themselves throughout history. Blending two types of tomatoes to make bigger or stronger tomatoes, growing specific herbs among the food crops to keep certain insects away, and coming up with faster, easier ways to farm.
Independent farmers understood things like crop rotation. This is an ancient practice that protects soil fertility (and nutritional content), minimizes pest infestation, and ensures better yield per crop, per season.
Now, the same crops are planted over and over again by the agriculture giants, depleting the natural nutrients found in the soil, increasing pest population, and creating crops that are simply less in appearance and strength.
What independent farmers did is not the same as what is now being done on a mass scale.
Farming was almost always a family business and after World War II, farmers represented almost 50% of the population in the United States. They now represent 1% of the population and yet, we need food now more than ever.
Farmers no longer farm for us. Huge commercial companies wiped out all the little guys, they churn out sub-par food with ever-shrinking nutrients, they’re making “super pests” and “super weeds” that are increasingly resistant to their chemicals (because we didn’t learn with antibiotics), and humans are likely sustaining damage on the cellular level.
Why Do We Need So Much Food?
The United States is the largest producer of GMO crops. We are also the #1 country in regard to food waste in the world.
More than 50% of our grown produce and 33% of all other foods end up in landfills. If we’re throwing half of the food we’re growing in the trash…why are we growing it?
Again, it’s all about profit but some countries care less about profit than the health of their citizens. The European Union, Japan, France, and Russia have bans on these products being grown or imported after a study a few years ago connected the dangers of GMO to tumor growth in rats. Also, they state that food created in a lab could have “unknown long-term side effects.”
Companies that do allow GMOs (Canada, Australia, China, Mexico) have incredible restrictions in place – while we in the United States have almost no restrictions.
GMO crops will be released again and again into our environment and will have become an even bigger part of our food source. Can we afford to take that risk?
When most people talk about GMO dangers, they’re talking about the very real threat of chemical splicing our food seeds to non-plant or non-animal DNA.
There’s actually a bigger threat no one really talks about. If Evil Company eventually controls most of the food supply of an entire nation – what kind of power does that represent? Given their actions up to this point, I imagine they won’t use the power for the good of all mankind.
From a science fiction movie perspective, ask yourself, “How do I want this movie to end?”