The Adverse Effects of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Have you been noticing all the “NON-GMO Verified” labels on products lately?

There is an ensuing battle to keep our foods free of genetic engineering – mixing one form of plant life or virus with another plant life to make super crops. Something big is happening and  big name companies like Kellogg’s, Dean Foods, Kraft, MiracleGro, Scott’s, and Roundup don’t want you to know about it.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) were introduced as alternatives to pure bred crops in an effort to reduce food waste, save money, extend crop life, and to make food more affordable for the buying public. Unfortunately, much has gone wrong since then.

Probably the most notorious claim GM foods scientists boast is their interest in helping farmers. The argument that genetic alterations to food strands to make crops root rot and insect resistant means more profit for farmers cannot be farther from the truth.

Monsanto, the giant of GM foods, controls 90% of the GM market. Currently, Monsanto seeds are patented so farmers will have to pay for their GM crops each season, making it illegal for United States farmers to save seeds. Even if farmers are not using the GM seeds, if they cross pollinate by wind, storm, or product distribution, the farmers have no rights to Monsanto’s seeds on their own land. Due to the patent, farms can be seized or their entire crop yields destroyed.

Monsanto Canada, Inc. v. Schmeiser is a case in which Canadian Canola farmer, Percy Shmeiser, was sued by Monsanto in the amount of $1 Million for using their seeds without permission. Monsanto seeds had spread into his field through storms and crop drift, cross pollinating with his pure canola crop compromising his product resulting from fifty-years of labor. According to patent laws, no matter how the seeds arrive in an unauthorized farmer’s field, even if the farmer is not planting the seeds himself, Monsanto has the right to destroy that farmer’s entire crop or seize the farm and equipment. Ultimately, Schmeiser elevated the case to the Supreme Court who ruled that Schmeiser did not have to pay Monsanto based on plant life being sacred and the rights a farmer has to his / her land.  Two years following, Schmeiser found Monsanto’s crop in his fields again, upon which Monsanto tried forcing the farmer to revoke his freedom of speech to discuss this matter to anyone. This again was presented to the Supreme Court and Schmeiser had a second victory setting a precedent for farmers everywhere to have control over crop on their lands, regardless of Monsanto’s patent.

Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment. – The Non-GMO Project

Giant GM corporations are trying to take over the food industry.  Though they have not yet fully succeeded, other countries who have succumbed to the industry for profit resulted in taking their lives. SeedFreedom, an organization advocating independent farming and seed saving across the globe notes:

 “While profitable to the few companies producing them, GMO seeds reinforce a model of farming that undermines sustainability of cash-poor farmers, who make up most of the world’s hungry. GMO seeds continue farmers’ dependency on purchased seed and chemical inputs. The most dramatic impact of such dependency is in India, where 270,000 farmers, many trapped in debt for buying seeds and chemicals, committed suicide between 1995 and 2012.

GM crop pollen has been linked to destroyed Monarch butterfly larvae by a study from Cornell assistant professor, John E. Losey, and contamination of indigineous corn crop in Oaxaca, Mexico, proven by UC Berkeley environmental science professor IgnacioChapela. BeyondPesticides.org explains farmers use RoundUp with trace amounts of Bt to kill insects and weeds in crops, but GM plants contain Bt in their pollen yielding stronger plants and stronger bugs. The website also states the following regarding the adverse impact on human health:

 A 1996 study, published in the International Journal of Heath Services, reported that milk from cows injected with recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), a synthetically produced hormone that makes cows produce more milk, contains increased levels of a growth factor that has been linked to breast and gastrointestinal cancers in humans.

GMO corporations paint a vividly different picture promising better health, more abundance, affordable food, and profitable farmers if their seeds are planted. This is only the beginning of scientific evidence reaching the surface. Monsanto and the GM industry seeks control not only for our food, but over our environment. The dangers of GM crops are imminent. Our ecosystem is threatened in a way that has never existed. As crops become radically evolved, our life cycle balance is thrown into disarray. It is not only the crops that are effected, but it is the living animal and insect organisms. GMOs harm our crop yields, our soil, our bodies, and the food chain, but most of all, it compromises sustainable farming practices making family farming less doable in a world valuing convenience over long term production and health.

Stop supporting GM production before our farmers become too poor to defend themselves and our rights to real food!  Here’s how:

1. Contact Congress to make change happen!

2. Purchase NON-GMO Project Verified products. You will see a label with those words in the corners of product packaging.  Find alternative brands here.

3. Make your own food! In an effort to be self-sufficient, I replaced store brought cereal with home made granola, as well as making my own bread and grain products.

4. Support local farms. There are plenty of small farms with heirloom varieties and some farms conduct business all year round.

5. Go organic. Check out this great guide on how to do it affordably!

References:

http://www.organicconsumers.org/wheat.cfm

http://www.organicconsumers.org/gelink.cfm

http://gmoanswers.com/ask/what-gmo?gclid=CjgKEAjw8r6dBRDZprbmndPi90sSJAB2U6dR7zXbfWFZzGn3k-2W9RiEtLDQO1MKya_MnfxJ1mXWofD_BwE

http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/

http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/gmo-myths-and-truths?chronoform=GMO_Myths_and_Truths_PDF&event=submit

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/9/17/percy_schmeiser_vs_monsanto_the_story

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2009/02/yes-its-true-gmos-contaminate-mexican-corn

http://seedfreedom.in/celebrate-the-real-world-food-prize-honour-real-food-heroes/

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/1999/04/toxic-pollen-bt-corn-can-kill-monarch-butterflies

http://www.beyondpesticides.org/gmos/reportsandpublications/gmofactsheet.php

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