GMO in our Food Chain - Mountain-River Naturopathic Clinic

taxmanstrongBiotechnology

Dec 11, 2012 (4 years and 8 months ago)

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GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) in our Food Chain


Scientists associated with corporate agri
-
business have claimed for years that genetically modified
crops would improve agriculture and improve lives. Monsanto
is the mother of biotechnology

in
agriculture, and the creator of products that have included Agent Orange, PCBs, DDT, Round
-
up,
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) and aspartame (nutrasweet).
¹ They have introduced a
number of genetically modified crops to the American market sin
ce the mid 1990's: soy, cotton, corn,
canola, sugar beets, zucchini, Hawaiian papaya and a crook
-
neck squash.²


From a business model, genetic modification makes great sense. A Roundup Ready
® plant can be
sprayed with more pesticide, so you have more sa
les of weed
-
killer. Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling
that allows the patenting of novel seed technology, written by former Monsanto lawyer Clarence
Thomas, Monsanto began patenting seeds in the mid
-
1990's. When Monsanto owns the patent on a
seed, and gen
etically engineers it to not reproduce, farmers are forced to buy their seed the next year.
Farmers with neighboring fields have been sued, and driven out of business by Monsanto lawyers
because their crops have gotten cross
-
pollinated with patented GMO p
roteins. When Monsanto sells
plenty of their patented GMO seeds, and their weed
-
killer that those plants are made to resist,
profitability soars. When competitors that have regular seeds are driven out of business, it is a virtual
monopoly.


Since the
introduction of GM crops, the US has seen herbicide use increase by over 300 million
pounds. Big Biotech originally claimed that weeds would not develop resistance to glyphosate
(RoundUp), but the weeds have developed resistance.
³

Monsanto has fought thi
s weed
-
resistant trend
by introduced a new GMO corn that has the pesticide built into it. This corn is now regulated by the
environmental protection agency as an insecticide.
4

BT Toxin
®
, which is released by Monsanto's
patented BT
-
corn is designed to rup
ture the stomach of any insect that feeds on it. Monsanto claims the
toxin will break down before it reaches your dinner table, but rats fed on the GM corn showed organ
failure and the toxin has been detected in the bodies of pregnant women.
5


If there we
re an unlabeled toxin in your food, would you want to know about it?


One published human feeding study showed that genes inserted into the Roundup Ready
®
soybeans
transferred to the DNA of bacteria living inside the intestines, and continued to function.

We may have
these lab
-
created Roundup Ready
®
proteins produced continuously inside us long after we stop eating
GMOs.
2

Unfortunately, there isn't much independent research on health risks associated with
genetically engineered foods, because access to t
he genetically modified seeds is denied to scientists on
the grounds that Monsanto has patents and proprietary information. Those independent scientists that
discover health risks are typically threatened, stripped of responsibility, denied funding, or fi
red.



The United States has the highest rates of cancer of any country on the planet. According migration
studies, if you were to move here from a country like Japan, your chances of getting cancer would
increase four
-
fold.
6

Soy and corn are among the

top ten most common allergens.
7

The US spends
more on health care than any other country on the planet: 16% of our GDP goes back to disease
management.
4



Countries around the world have demanded labeling of GM products or outright banned them. Yet in
a
normal U.S. supermarket, 70% of the food (9 out of 10 processed foods) contain GMO corn & soy
products, sugar beet, canola and cottonseed oil. It all goes back to an FDA policy that started in 1992,
stating the agency is not aware of any information sho
wing that GM foods are different. Interestingly,
that policy was started by FDA food safety director Michael Taylor, who was a former lawyer and vice
president for Monsanto. The FDA leaves it entirely up to the companies that make GMOs to determine
if th
ey are safe, and p
oliticians of both parties seem to be listening to corporations instead of citizenry,
who overwhelmingly favor labeling of genetically modified foods in the marketplace.


A ballot initiative in California crafted by concerned citizens i
s making its way to the polls on
November 6, 2012. It is called “proposition 37” and a yes vote would mandate labeling of foods
containing GM ingredients. If this ballot initiative were to pass in the State with the world's 6
th

largest
GDP, labeling of
GMOs in other states could follow. It's enough to drive Monsanto to spend $4.2
million so far on a campaign to defeat it. With the help of Dupont ($1.27 million) and Dow Agro
($1.18 million), the corporations are outspending the grassroots movement by a
margin of 7 to 1. If
you are interested in helping Americans rights to know what we're eating, support California's “right to
know” initiative. www.carighttoknow.org


Failing at improving lives AND agriculture.


I have seen well
-
educated people repeat t
he PR claim generated by Monsanto that “genetic engineering
is no different from plant breeding”
8

The truth is, genetically modified organisms do not occur in
nature, are not an extension of natural breeding, and are full of unpredictable side effects. W
hen
Monsanto created Roundup Ready
®

corn & soy, a new protein was inserted into the plant DNA that
was created in the lab, and BT corn has Monsanto's patented pesticide built into it. That is a far cry
from selective breeding that has gone on for generati
ons.


As for creating drought
-
resistant plants, our own US Department of Agriculture has said that
Monsanto's “DroughtGuard” corn seeds won't help farmers withstand extreme droughts or reduce water
usage. In contrast, studies have shown that organic fa
rming methods could improve drought year
yields by up to 96%. As one group says, “Monsanto's version of 21
st

century farming relies on
engineered seeds that require more pesticides, reduce biodiversity, and increase cost to farmers.


1 Mercola, Joseph
Dr., “Massive Fund Attack on GMO Labeling Proposal in California”. Mercola Newsletter, September 13, 2012.

2 Wilson, Lindsay; interview with Jeffrey Smith, “Genetic Engineering: a Science Experiement with Our Food.” Natural Grocer
s Newsletter, May 201
1

3 Melinda Suelflow, “USDA Fast
-
Tracks GMO Crop Approval Process”. Organic Consumers Association Update, August 15, 2012.

4 O'Brien, Robyn, “TEDxAustin: What is in our food?“. March 24, 2011.

5 Union of Concerned Scientists publication. 2011.

6 Am
erican Cancer Society & LiveStrong statistics, 2011

7 American Academy of Allegy, Asthma & Immunology statistics, 2012.

8 Stolen, Joanne Dr., “Don't Fear Genetically Modified Food” Summit Daily News, August 25, 2010.