You’ll find that there will be a lot of posts on this subject as I learn more about it, but for now I’ll give you a basic understanding of Genetically Modified Organisms, and why I believe they should be completely and totally avoided.
A Genetically Modified Organism is an organism whose genetic material has been altered through the genetic engineering process (Thanks Wikipedia for that definition). On one hand you have natural evolution – a species that changes in order to survive, and on the other hand there is forced change in a laboratory.
The first issue is that GMO’s have become so common (especially in the US) and widespread, without proper research into the effects these alterations have on the consumers, especially generational effects. Genetically modified staple crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, canola, maize, etc, as well as cotton are grown in many areas and are used in most processed foods that we buy today.
Let’s just understand how GMO’s are created, first, although depending on the crop and what effect you want to produce, each process is different. So let’s start with corn. The largest seed and chemical company in the world, Monsanto (the makers of Roundup), have produced a corn strain that is weed resistant, disease resistant, and insect resistant. Corn is also commonly altered to increase yield per hectare.
Want to know how they do it? They inject the genes of the corn with Roundup Ready 2-weed control technology, YieldGard Corn Borer, and YieldGard Rootworm insect control. Hang on a second, isn’t Roundup the stuff I spray on my weeds at home? The poison? Yep.
What’s starting to happen now is an increase in crop failures. GM Maize (corn) planted in South Africa (where 3 different altered varieties were sown) saw anywhere between 25% and 80% (depending on who you believe – the lower value is Monsanto’s prediction and the higher is an independent reviewer) produce no corn seeds within the husk! A healthy outer shell with no actual corn! Read the article here: http://digitaljournal.com/article/270101
You’d get a much better result with organic heirloom corn…
As I research more, I will provide much more information on what is happening right now with GM crops around the world, as well as new research articles and reports.
A lot of the crops grown as GMO’s are used as animal feed for mass meat production. The effects of GMO’s can be seen more in animals than in humans because their lifespan is shorter. In the US, cattle industries are reporting an escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over the past few years to coincide with feeding their animals GM crops and allowing for generational effects to take place. Infertility has increased over 20% and spontaneous abortions are as high as 45% (sourced from Acres USA, May 2011).
This will then inevitably flow onto humans, not only through direct consumption of GM products, but through our meat and dairy industries as well! When you drink a glass of milk, what else is in it? Toxins produced by GM insect resistant crops are being identified in blood samples of humans, especially women, and are also being passed through into foetal blood (I speak of the Bt toxin particularly, a Canadian research has found that that toxin does not get destroyed in the gut, as pro-GM scientists have led us to believe. These toxins were clearly seen to cross the placenta into the foetus.). What is lacking is long term and generational studies as to the effects of GMO’s.
FYI… the Bt toxin (according to my mate Wiki): Bacillus thuringiensis is a Gram-positive, soil-dwelling bacterium, commonly used as a biological pesticide; alternatively, the Cry toxin may be extracted and used as a pesticide. B. thuringiensis also occurs naturally in the gut of caterpillars of various types of moths and butterflies, as well as on the dark surfaces of plants. Get it?
You can extract parts of it and make pesticide. Or inject it into a seed. Whatever.
This is just scratching the surface. Not even denting it, there is just so much more to know. To learn. To be outraged about. Here is an article written by a woman who attempted to go without buying Monsanto by-products.
She gives sound advice, although it may seem a bit far-fetched when you first read it… but what price do you put on your body? On your health? On yourself?
Here's what you CAN do: Be aware of what you are buying. Some companies go out of their way to mention they are GM free, and proud. Buy them instead. Eat fresh and local wherever you can. Most cities and towns have farmers markets, do they not? Your veggies will last a whole week in the fridge, because they were picked just the week before - not kept in cold storage for ages. Buy certified organic products where you can (but more on that in another post!). Don't spray chemicals needlessly in your garden! Research alternative ways (or better yet, wait for me to do it for you!)...