What’s all the fuss about genetically modified food aka GMOs – genetically modified organisms anyway? Doesn’t creating different types of food other than those that grow naturally give higher yields and feed more people throughout developing countries? Don’t they allow for more resistant crops and give more sustainability to the farmer?
Modified foods are served everywhere from the snacks you eat in a stretch limo to the tables of children in underprivileged households. There is little on the supermarket shelves that hasn’t been touched by the hand of GMO. So why are there so many people opposed to eating foods that have been altered by science?
First let’s get the definition of what GMO means.
According to Wikipedia: “GMOs are plants or animals that have undergone a process wherein scientists alter their genes with DNA from different species of living organisms, bacteria, or viruses to get desired traits such as resistance to disease or tolerance of pesticides.”
With the introduction of hybridization centuries ago food has been modified for general consumption without any notable harm. The problems come in with the new technologies that are being employed to carry off the tasks in the modern world. The company with the most influence in this area is none other than Monsanto. They have their hand in just about anything that involves the world’s food chain. That being said, we the people are not helpless if we don’t want technology to go too far. We need to be as educated about matters like GMOs as much as possible. Knowledge is power and the more we know, the more we can choose what we want for ourselves and future generations. Perhaps GMOs are a good thing.
Why go GMO?
- According to some studies using genetically modified seeds will produce a higher yield.
- There will be less use of herbicides and pesticides since the seeds are internally designed to ward off or tolerate drought, and other natural pests.
- With genetically modifying a plant or animal the amount of nutrition can be manipulated.
- Less food could supply more nutrition.
- Less plowing and tillage of the soil means less emissions of green house gases.
- With trillions of meals already having been served what is the problem?
Are GMO’s Safe?
With all things going according to Monsanto’s plan, research came forth in 1999 that put GMOs under the spotlight. Dr. Arpad Pusztai a leading scientist with 35 years experience in the field of food modification was employed to research and develop a safe insecticide called GNA lectin. While using rats to tests his processes on, he fed the animals GM potatoes. What came to light was that within 10 days of feeding the GM potato diet, all the rats showed signs of pre-cancerous cell growths, and their livers, brains, and testicles grew smaller. Some had atrophied livers and their immune systems were compromised. Red flags began to fly. Other rats were fed normal or non-GMO potatoes and were still subjected to the GNA lectin, but did not develop the same issues as the rats fed the genetically fed vegetable. The only difference was the GMO diet.
When this information was made public Pusztai was met with extraordinary resistance and his project lost its funding and his research team was disbanded. Naturally something like this cannot stay hidden for long – it’s not 1984, and it was later that year that the implication of the severity of the possible consequences involved with a constant diet of GMO food would be dire. So despite trying to keep Pusztai’s finding cloaked the word spread and Dr. Pusztai was called to testify before Parliament in April of 1999. After his testimony, EU manufactures agreed not to use GMOs in their products and began the food revolution that today has enlisted most all the European Nation. A number of studies since have supported Dr. Pusztai’s findings.
As of this writing 61 countries throughout the world have total or at least partial bans on GMOs.The reasons go on for the ban on GMOs, but not all countries are on-board. The food lobbyist have a stronghold on the North American government that keeps the people’s choice to label GMO foods from passing. It’s been an expensive and up and down struggle for the the US consumer.
If you are a US resident, what would you like to see happen with regulations regarding GMOs? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Are you simply not interested, assuming that the big food suppliers have done a good job so far? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think. Do you want to have a voice in this matter?