G.M.O’s: Are They Really That Bad? You Bet They Are

We are what we eat. A clean body is a clean mind. These are sayings we all say, but how many actually believe it? I mean, really believe it? Base on our eating habits as a whole, I would have to say very few. Why is that? Is it out of convenience that we eat what we eat? Is it out of lack of knowledge that we eat what we eat? How about a blind trust in feeling that those who prepare our food know what’s best for us? I would say the answer to these questions is yes, and of course, there are many other reasons we consume what we consume. So what do we consume? Do we really know? And who produces, makes, and prepares our foods? This is where the story gets not only complicated, but strange. It’s pesticide companies, not farmers. At least on a large scale.

Before I continue let me expand on the last statement I made. No, not all food is made by pesticide companies and, yes, many farmers are still selling their foods that we consume, but the amount of food consumed by pesticide companies is alarming. Who are these companies that I keep referring to? And what is G.M.O’s? G.M.O.’s stand for genetically modified organism and play a large role in our food supply today.

Now to the companies that I have been talking about. I will list the main players in the field of genetically modified organisms. They include, but are not limited to, BASF (Germany), Bayer (Germany), Dupont (USA), Dow Chemical Company (USA), Syngenta (Switerland), and the most talked about, Monsanto (USA). What else do these companies have in common? They all also own the world’s seeds, pesticides, and biotechnology industry.

I could talk about each individual corporation, however, I want to focus on one specifically. And that is Monsanto. Monsanto has had a huge impact on the information out there regarding our food supply and their involvement to control the world’s food Industry. There is a lot of information I could write when it comes to Monsanto, but the one troubling fact that really has people scratching their heads is why is Monsanto, through the courts, trying to stop our food from being labeled? That really is troubling since we should have the right to know what we are putting in our bodies.

The research as it pertains to G.M.O.’s is often biased as it is conducted by the biotech industry itself and third party investigations into the harms of G.M.O.’s is never really taken serious or looked further into. Let’s think about that for a second. To use the old saying, that’s like the fox investigating the hen house. The research is often biased to fit the biotech’s wants and need and not the consumer’s right to eat healthy. Why so secretive?

Another argument about genetically modified organisms is the amount of chemicals that are used to produce these products as well as the “drift” of the product on other farmer’s crop. This has happened several times and in some instances has cost the affected farmer their entire crop – at the innocent farmer’s expense. This is where I wish the environmental police were on our side. Often times, through lobbyist, a blind eye is turned.

So many of the crops that fall in the G.M.O. category are designed to repel some weed killers like the carcinogenic Roundup. What this leads to is an increased amount of chemicals that the farmer has to use in order to maintain a G.M.O. crop. This presents a problem. Where does the chemical end up? It’s a common sense question and the answer is right in front of us. It ends up in the environment. This is a health risk to the farmer and his workers as well as the water supply, streams, and rivers the leaching of these chemical make their way to. Once again, the E.P.A. and other environmental groups are lobbied so hard that a blind eye is to often the result.

How about the insect or pest that the chemical itself is designed to treat? Well as we know, they build up over time an immunity to the chemical making the farmer have to use more product and in more ways. Only compounding the health risk to the workers and the environment as well. It is a ten fold problem with no real solution at hand due to lack of oversight.

How about the argument that we need G.M.O.’s to feed the world due to a rapid increase in world population? Well that sounds great! After all, we should feed the world. Everyone has a natural right to be feed, right? Using a saying I like to say, “slow down buckaroo.” The facts doesn’t support the claim that G.M.O.’s increase the world’s food supply. More like this is an excuse to try to get people on board with G.M.O.’s by tugging on their heart strings rather than using facts.

The evidence that G.M.O.’s produce a higher yield, or return simply isn’t true. Research has shown that the genetically modified crops results in little to no higher yield than conventional crops, but instead still present a much higher risk in environmental damage. That means that organic farming can produce about the same amount of yield with much less risk to not only the environment, but the workers as well. Anytime we can eliminate chemical use as it pertains to our food that we consume, we should.

So is there any risk to our health when we eat G.M.O.’s or is the only risk to the workers and environment? Yes, there are a numerous amount of risk to the individual consuming these foods. In my research of health risk one of the main risk that kept coming up was allergies. Allergic reactions typically are brought on by proteins. Nearly every transfer of genetic material from one host into a new one results in the creation of novel proteins. Genetic engineering can increase the levels of a naturally occurring allergen already present in a food or insert allergenic properties into a food that did not previously contain them.

How about the antibiotic resistance? One article I read put it like this. “Genetic engineers rely heavily on antibiotics to guide experiments. It works like this: Not all host cells will take up foreign genes, so engineers attach a trait for a particular type of antibiotic resistance to the gene they introduce into host cells. After they’ve introduced the gene into the cells, they douse all the cells with the antibiotic to see which ones survive. The surviving cells are antibiotic-resistant, and therefore engineers know they have taken up the foreign gene.”

This, too, is a multi-layered problem as it will add cost to health care, which is already under attack because of the amount of money it is costing to treat people today. So why compound the problem? I mean when our house is on fire, we don’t add more gas to it, right? Well here that is the exact scenario. To use another silly analogy, it’s like cutting off our right foot to save the left foot.

There are many many more risk that I will touch on in future articles as I am really trying to grasp this G.M.O. debate myself, but the science isn’t there to support the pro G.M.O. crowd. From every angle there is a risk with very little reward. I understand in today’s busy life that convenience, and other factors play a large role in how we eat and what we eat, but it’s time to slow down and get this science and information correct. Corporations are playing a large role in our lives already. We don’t need them to take over our health at the expense of our busy lives. It’s time to understand what these biotech companies are doing to us and their agenda behind it. So far in my research the biotech companies are wanting complete control over the world’s food supply. That on any level is a loss for all of us.

I will be writing more on this topic and following the science very closely. What can we do? First, demand that our food is properly labeled and learn the science behind genetically modified organism. Always buy from local farmer markets when available. This will not only help you in buying truly organic foods, but will also support your local economy as well. A multi-layered solution there! Another thing we can do is find out where your Representatives and Senators stand on this issue and make your voice known. They are suppose to be our voice, but they depend on us to let them know how we feel. Finally, seek a physician that is aware of the risk and talk to them about an organic diet. Pick their brain and come up with a good nutritional diet that can eliminate or greatly reduce the amount of non organic foods you consume. Stay away from processed foods.

We can also defeat this by using the free market. Stop buying non organic foods and hit the biotech companies where it really hurts them – their wallets. This also includes reducing the amount of times we eat out. Like I stated, I understand we are living in busy times, but we need to learn beneficial eating habits and understand what we are eating. This is a topic that I will be writing more about in the coming weeks and I will be trying, myself, to get on track to a healthier lifestyle.

Written by: Michael Howell

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