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GMO Promise

 
Eating GMO Food?
Am I eating genetically engineered foods? Want to know, click here.
 
What's Wrong?
So what's wrong with GMOs? new genes and combinations of genes made in the laboratory, which have never existed in billions of years of evolution, are being introduced into our food chain Read More, click here.
 
Bees are Dying
Bees are dying in such dramatic numbers across the country that the economic consequences could soon be dire. No one knows for sure what is causing the bees to perish, but some experts believe that the large-scale use of genetically modified plants in the US could be a factor. Read More, click here.
 


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What was the GMO Promise and did it deliver?

You might be asking at this point, how on earth did GMO foods get the ok to enter our food supply. And why didn't we know about it. And were the promises made fulfilled?

Certain companies, Monsanto in particular, came to the FDA and others with promises of super foods, less need for toxic pesticides and herbicides & higher yields, and better way to feed the poor of the world. And least I forget this little lie, that messing with the genetic DNA of a plant or animal is no different than cross breeding has been going on for a hundreds of years. Those promises and a whole bunch of money and influence got the FDA and USDA to give their blessings. That was in the mid 1990's.

Is that what we have today?

bulletThat little lie turns out to be a pretty good size lie. When you cross pollinate different corn plants to get the hybrid corn we have today, that is part of a natural process. Sure man intervened but nature had this system down. Playing with the DNA is a whole different situation. You disrupt the DNA sequences of genes that have evolved over the last million years when you arbitrarily inject some foreign DNA into it. The human DNA pattern has over 30,000 genes in it. Where do you drop the one that makes you glow in the dark? According to Michael Meacher, MP Environmental Minister UK, "Because genes are multifunctional and operate in networks we don't (yet) understand, it is not known how to control artificially a single function of a gene without triggering other unpredicted and undesired effects. It may well destabilize the biochemical structure of the plant in damaging ways which are not exposed till much later." The harmony in Nature that has evolved over a million years comes from the harmony in the DNA. No one has any idea what is going to happen from this playing of GOD? No one is even studying it to find out.
 
bulletThe Canadian National Farmers Union is not as enthusiastic today about GMO crops as they were in 1996. The yields have declined over the non-GMO crops and they had to increase herbicide use due to the weeds from the last harvest. Monsanto created Roundup-Ready (RR) soy, corn and cotton specifically so that farmers would continue to buy Roundup, the company's best-selling chemical weed killer, which is sold with RR seeds3.

 Instead of reducing pesticide use, one study of more than 8,000 university-based field trials suggested that farmers who plant RR soy use two to five times more herbicide than non-GE farmers who use integrated weed-control methods. In fact Monsanto wanted to develop food crops that were resistant to RoundUp through genetic manipulation so that farmers would buy more RR herbicide. Roundup produces half Monsanto's revenues. It is already the largest selling chemical in the world.

GE crops may be the greatest threat to sustainable agriculture on the planet. The advent of genetically engineered, insect-resistant crops is likely to lead to insects that are immune to this natural pesticide. When this biological pesticide is rendered ineffective, other farmers will turn to increasingly toxic chemicals to deal with the "superbugs" created by GE crops. Meanwhile, organic farmers will be out of options.(2)
 
bulletAs for the idea of creating super foods to help feed the poor of the world, that was smoke and mirrors. Among other things, Monsanto proposed seeds that produce plants whose seeds are sterile. The idea was introduced to answer the question about how to stop cross pollination of GMO and non-GMO crops. Make the seeds sterile. All the small farmers of the world get their seeds for next year's crop from the current crop. Plants that produce sterile seeds would be a disaster to them. The problem isn't the need for GMO super foods, it is a distribution problem. "The real reasons for world poverty and starvation are the inferior trading position of the developing countries in the world economy, bad and corrupt governments, maldistribution of land, and the failures of population management. If these problems could be dealt with, the role of GM crops would be miniscule by comparison." (1)

Delegates to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Plant Genetic Resources told Monsanto what they could do with their "terminator" seeds:
"In the advertising campaign Europeans are asked to give an unconditional green light to gene technology so that chemical corporations such as Monsanto can start harvesting their profits from it. We do not believe that such companies or gene technologies will help our farmers to produce the food that is needed in the 21st century. On the contrary, we think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia and that it will thus undermine our capacity to feed ourselves."(3)

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A Monsanto official told the New York Times, October 25, 1998, that the corporation should not have to take responsibility for the safety of its food products.

"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food," said Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications. "Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job."

What does the FDA think about this?

Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety.” — FDA,  “Statement  of  Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties”
(GMO Policy), Federal Register, Vol. 57, No. 104 (1992), p. 22991

(This is the same approach Monsanto takes on the other chemicals produced for use in our environment. The fact that those chemicals are toxic to children and other living things is not Monsanto's problem or concern.)

Links:

bullet Meeting on the Safety and Labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms - Statement of Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest
to the Food and Drug Administration Chicago, Illinois • November 18, 1999

Footnotes:

bullet(1) Michael Meacher - GM: why I think it matters
bullet(2) Myths and Realities of Genetically Engineered foods - True Foods Now
bullet(3) LET NATURE’S HARVEST CONTINUE - African Counter-Statement to Monsanto An invitation to stand in solidarity to resist gene technology From Delegates to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Plant Genetic Resources
 

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