This post is a continuation from What’s the Big Deal about Genetically Modified Foods?
How much do you know about the history of genetically modified foods? Several individuals in the industry are speaking out about what we don’t know about GMOs.
The first commercially grown genetically modified crops appeared during the 1990s. Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, and Dow Chemicals touted their newly patented seeds as fulfilling the noble purpose of feeding the world. We were told that this new technology would increase crop yields dramatically, lower the need for pesticides, and end world hunger. In practice, the only thing to increase as a result of genetically modified crops were the profits of these giant corporations and the instances of cancer among the unsuspecting people consuming these staple foods.
“A 1999 study by Charles Benbrook, Chief Scientist of the Organic Center, found that genetically engineered Roundup Ready soybeans did not increase yields. The report reviewed over 8,200 university trials in 1998 and found that Roundup Ready soybeans had a yield drag of 5.3% across all varieties tested. In addition, the same study found that farmers used 2–5 times more herbicide (Roundup) on Roundup Ready soybeans compared to other popular weed management systems.”
The most frightening problem with genetically modified food is that we just don’t know enough about its long-term effects. Dr. Mercola, an outspoken opponent, wrote in a recent article—
“Agricultural corporations such as Monsanto and Syngenta have restricted independent research on the crops. They have refused to provide independent scientists with seeds, or else have set restrictive conditions that severely limit research. This is legal because under U.S. law, genetically engineered crops are patentable.”
“In the United States, the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition reviews summaries of food safety data developed and voluntarily submitted by developers of engineered foods, in part on the basis of comparability to conventionally-produced foods. There are no specific tests required by FDA to determine safety. FDA does not approve the safety of engineered foods, but after its review, acknowledges that the developer of the food has asserted that it is safe.”
Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology worries about the lack of regulatory oversight in the GM industry—
“One of the most glaring faults in the current regulatory regime is the short duration of animals feeding studies. The industry limits trials to 90 days at most, with some less than a month.”
“Short studies could easily miss many serious effects of GMOs. It is well established that some pesticides and drugs, for example, can create effects that are passed on through generations, only showing up decades later.”
With the current non-organic food supply, American families are being treated as guinea pigs for food ingredients that have never been tested for long-term health effects.
A new paper put out by Environmental Science Europe reveals that consuming GM corn or soybeans results in significant liver and kidney disruption in rats and mice. Other organs such as the heart and spleen were effected as well. The GM varieties of corn and soybeans used in the testing were the same varieties found on store shelves in America today.
In addition to legitimate concern about the health effects of GM crops on human physiology is the environmental destruction that is already becoming apparent.
GM crops have taken over between 85% and 93% of all corn, soybean, and cotton crops planted in the United States. After years of constant application of patented glyphosate herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, new herbicide-resistant “super-weeds” have evolved. These new varieties of weeds require significantly more, not less, herbicide to control. In fact, farmers and scientists in Arkansas, when interviewed for a recent ABC documentary, describe fields overrun with giant pigweed plants that can withstand as much glyphosate as farmers are able to spray. They spoke with one farmer who spent almost $320,000 in three months in a failed attempt to kill the super-weeds. Hundreds of thousands of acres in Arkansas alone have become infested with this new mutant biological plague and much of this land is being abandoned. Detailed data on other agricultural regions isn’t available yet; however it is believed to be similar.
Just because the government says that genetically modified foods are safe doesn’t mean it is true. Reach your own conclusions by doing the research and finding the facts for yourself. You owe it to yourself to know the truth.