The GMO plague and how to fight it, Pt. 1
This is Part 1 of a two-part series of blog posts on the health dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — also known as GM (genetically modified) or GE (genetically engineered) crops – and ways we can fight back against the corporations that produce them. Part 1 talks about the emergence and spread of superweeds, the litany of problems associated with GMOs, and some steps you can take to remove genetically modified (GM) foods from your diet. Part 2 of the series discusses recent developments and some GMO trends, mentions promising anti-GMO phenomena, and lists some things you can do right now to oppose Monsanto and GMOs worldwide. Both posts contain myriad links to resources so readers can learn more about various related topics.
Farmers have been aghast to discover that their Monsanto Roundup crops are spurring Roundup-resistant superweeds. Even scarier, these plants are not only resisting Roundup but also other types and cocktails of pesticides. Nature’s fighting back against corporations’ thoughtless genetic engineering practices — and now it’s getting out of control for both farmers and Monsanto, and there will be repercussions for everyone from India to Argentina.
The problem is getting worse – and quickly — because the resistant weeds are replacing their non-resistant counterparts as well as cross-pollinating them with the resistant gene as they are carried by the wind across vast regions of the U.S.
Mother Jones reports:
“These weeds adapt faster and more vigorously than their weed cousins, choking fields and clogging irrigation ditches so badly water can’t pass through. ‘Pollen can transfer the resistant trait; that’s the problem,’ said Kevin Bradley, a weed scientist with the University of Missouri. ‘There’s not much we can do about pollen flying through the air, and that’s why we see such rapid spread of resistance.’”
What are the problems with GMOs?
- GM crops are dangerous on many levels, including health. GMO pesticides have been linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, miscarriages, birth defects, and other severe ailments.
- A study has found that GM crops causes endocrine disruption, birth defects, cancer, damage to DNA, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and neurotoxicity.
- A 2010 study linked GM corn to organ failure in rats:
“Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted. …These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown.”
Monsanto of course accused the study of being “based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning” and said the findings “do not call into question the safety findings for these products.” Right, Monsanto.
As the Huffington Post reports, the study’s author, Gilles-Eric Séralini, subsequently fired back on the blog Food Freedom:
“Our study contradicts Monsanto conclusions because Monsanto systematically neglects significant health effects in mammals that are different in males and females eating GMOs, or not proportional to the dose. This is a very serious mistake, dramatic for public health. This is the major conclusion revealed by our work, the only careful reanalysis of Monsanto crude statistical data.”
- Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide has led to superweeds that grow a mind-boggling 3 inches a day. Perhaps scarier is the fact that herbicide-resistant weeds will probably have an adverse effect on food production across the globe. The outlook is grim. Superweeds are multiplying across the United States like wildfire. At least 21 weed species have thus far become resistant to Roundup. Food will become more expensive as a result and become harder to obtain for people in financial straits – often the people who are already malnourished or starving and thus in great need of nutritious, safe (read: non-toxic) foods in order for their health to recover. This will affect us everywhere in the world.
“The same selection pressure creating bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics is leading to the rapid evolution of plants that survive modern herbicides. If the trend continues, yields could drop and food costs climb as weeds grow more difficult to uproot,” Fast Company reports.
- Hungary is incurring billions of forints in losses thanks to GM seeds.
- There is evidence suggesting that GM soy, corn, and canola colonize your gut bacteria and genetically alter it to also produce pesticide within your own cells. In other words, eating these food products transform your digestive system into a pesticide factory. Fun!
- Read about how Monsanto has refused to provide independent scientists with seeds for research or else has set restrictive conditions that severely limit outside scientists’ research. The article behind the link also includes information on potential health hazards caused by GM crops.
Some ways to remove GMOs from your diet
There are excellent reasons why we should opt for organic foods, including to not just support organic and local farmers, but also to stop supporting Monsanto. If only organic foods weren’t so expensive! Most of us can’t afford them, of course. So what do you do?
A good idea is to avoid buying foods and food products containing the crops that we know are treated with a deluge of pesticides and the crops that are doused with the evil Monsanto’s Roundup chemicals – corn, soy, canola, and cotton (but you probably don’t eat cotton, so feel free to focus on corn, soy, and canola here). Roundup, by the way, is the most widely used pesticide in the world.
You should also look for “non-GMO” and similar terms on the labels of food products, from cornstarch to legumes. Unlike organic products, many GMO-free foods are only slightly more expensive than regular items.
Hold tight for Part 2 of this two-part series to learn about recent developments and things you can do right now to make an impact against the GMO threat.