photo by Dave Hoisington/CIMMYT
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. The most frequent use of the term GMO is in relation to the food that we eat, in that many crops and factory-made foods are created from genetically modified ingredients. Genes from other plants, viruses, bacteria, animals, etc. are inserted into the genes of certain products such as corn to make them more stable and resistant to drought, disease and pesticides. However, because of this cross-breeding, the safety of such foods has not been able to have been proven and other countries (and some counties in the U.S.) have banned the modified foods from being imported and/or grown.
Another terrible thing about these GMO crops is that the new genes have been patented, so if they are spread even accidentally and unknowingly to other non-GMO commercial fields and that farmer selects the modified plants for subsequent planting, then the patent holder has the right to control the use of those crops. Yep, you read that right. If a farmer downwind of you is using GMO seeds, and they happen to go up in the air and pollinate your organic non-GMO crops, the patent owner (most likely Mosanto) now OWNS YOUR CROPS. Don’t believe me? See Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser. Sounds fair, right?
How about the new breed of these seeds that they are trying to get into the market called “Terminator” seeds that require yearly application of chemicals in order for that same seed to germinate again? Remember how your mom would plant seeds once and they would continue to grow every year? Not so with these seeds, which happen to be under “construction” and the patent for them happens to be co-owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. No more multiple season seeds, as you would have to either buy new ones every season and/or cover them with a certain chemical to get them to grow again.
Now on to the health aspects of GMO’s. Though the goal of GMO crops is to make them less susceptible to pests, more resistant to drought and stronger overall, the actual result is that stronger pesticides will be needed for the stronger weeds and disease, just as overuse of antibiotics has created stronger strains of disease in humans. Do we really want stronger pesticides to be used on the food that we eat? I know I don’t, and that’s why I try to do as much shopping as possible at my local organic farmer’s market. But still there are boxed foods in the grocery store that also have GMO ingredients in them, and as of today there are no rules that say that they must be labeled as such. And I am not comfortable with eating “Franken – Food” that is not only not in a natural state, but also genetically modified. Even scientists from the FDA said that “The possibility of unexpected, accidental changes in genetically engineered plants” might produce “unexpected high concentrations of plant toxicants.” GM crops, they said, might have R 20;Increased levels of known naturally occurring toxins, . . . appearance of new, not previously identified” toxins, and an increased tendency to gather “toxic substances from the environment” such as “pesticides or heavy metals.”
Anyway, as usual make your own decision about these kind of things. For us, we try as much as possible to avoid any and all GMO foods that we KNOW to be modified. There are no comprehensive lists out there, but there are a few sites that have some products and more information listed. Check them out if you are concerned about GMO’s.
Say No To GMO’s!
True Food Now