About Genetically Modified foods (GMO)
About Genetically Modified food (GMO)
There are multiple aspects that should be considered when talking about GMO.
- First one has to do with the way how new genes are inserted into the target Organism. This process can be compared to hammering a pickup truck to look like a bicycle. After countless failed attempts you end up with a something that looks like and rides a bicycle – but you wouldn’t know if it is also leaking gasoline. More about the GMO techniques in a separate post.
- The nature of a gene inserted into the target organism. All living things tend to spread and reproduce, bees carry pollen from plant to a plant, and fish can escape from its captivity. Are we as the people would you be comfortable if this new genetic material would spread in the wild?
Example 1: Company called StarLink created GMO corn with pesticide called Cry9C. This corn was not meant for human consumption, but in the year 2000, independent research group detected a GMO StarLink in the tacos, which was confirmed by FDA. These tacos were immediately pulled off the market. Per EPA, (From: EPA). The StarLink corn was meant to be used as a domestic animal feed (From: EPA).
Example 2. GMO Salmon, currently being evaluated. This genetic modification causes salmon to release extra growth hormone, so farm raised salmon grows much faster. For safety sake, all such salmon are sexually sterile – but it takes only one mutation to reverse it. Problem occurs when one non-sterile GMO salmon escapes from the farm. GMO salmon exhibits agonistic (aggressive encounters between members of the same species) and cannibalistic behavior, which causes population collapse and extinction. (From: FDA and NIH).
- Legal aspects.: Farmer A is growing GMO corn. Corn pollen can travel in the wind for 1/2 mile with a 15 mph wind in a couple of minutes(OSU), thus reaching farmer B’s corn field and pollinate his non-GMO crop. Not only farmer B ends up with GMO harvest, which could be disastrous for an organic farmer, but on many occasions, Monstanto would sue farmer B for “stealing” the copyrighted genetic material.(news)
In 2010, 73% of all non-organic corn in USA was GMO. In this genetic modification, a gene from a soil bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) was transplanted into corn. As a result, BT corn produces special protein, called Delta-Endotoxins, which is an insecticide. (From: USDA). Government agencies state that BT corn is safe (From: EPA). Meanwhile, BT insecticide is also used to kill mosquitoes in the standing water.
However, BT toxin is only permitted to be used for standing water in “home and garden”, and it is illegal to add BT into water drains into public drinking water sources (From: Washington State Dept. of Agriculture).
P.P.S. Insects are developing resistance to BT crops as we speak. (From: NIH)
One of the main Monsanto product lines is called “Roundup Ready” (From: Monsanto). This GMO variety of various crops is engineered to be tolerant of a herbicidal product called “Roundup”. Active ingredient in Roundup is a herbicide called “glyphosate” (From: NIH). Glyphosate even in low concentrations causes brain damage in embryos. (From NIH: Link_1 and Link_2). “Roundup Ready” crops are grown all over USA (From: USDA). As a result of “Roundup Ready” GMO crops, glyphosate is now heavily used all across USA. (From: EPA 1998 map) Compared to the map as of 1998, usage of glyphosate went up rapidly (From: USGS. It is even used on US public lands (From: FWS.GOV).
Bottom line: Country-wide use of GMO “Roundup Ready” crops acts as a catalyst in country-wide use of embryo toxin glyphosat.
Common GMO Crops and Seed Materials: Alfalfa, Barley, Canola, Cantaloupe, Corn, Cotton, Dry Beans, Flax, Mustard, Oats, Papaya, Peanuts, Potato, Radicchio, Rapeseed, Rice, Rye, Safflower, Sorghum, Soybean, Squash, Sugarcane, Sugar Beet, Sunflower, Sweet Potato, Tobacco, Tomato, Watermelon, Wheat, Zucchini. Forage and Legume Inoculants. (From: WA Dept. of Agriculture).
Resource: USDA Database of GMO crops for food and feed: Govt Bio DB