This is a guest post from Andy Chirch.
Recently there has been some blowback from the science community about the “myth” of GMO dangers. This article does a pretty good job laying out their argument. In a nutshell, “GMO” means, “Genetically Modified Organism.” To qualify as “Genetically Modified”, something merely has to be messed with in some way other than the randomness of nature. An example would be if we had a vineyard of grapes, and one particular vine produced fruit bigger and sweeter than the rest (and let’s say we could easily recognize these grapes because they happened to be purple instead of green). By keeping the seeds from these grapes, and then only replanting those seeds in our new vineyard over time, we end up with an entire vineyard of fat, purple, really sweet grapes instead of the older, smaller, green ones. By selectively cultivating this one grape that itself was a result of a genetic mutation, we now have a whole new orchard of grapes. The argument made by Neil DeGrasse Tyson is that these grapes are “GMO”.
He’s missing the point.
The point, IMO, is that the kind of genetic tinkering, and the pace of modifications is SO rapid now that it has interrupted the natural safety net we’ve always had. If those purple grapes happened to be super sweet, but have poisonous seeds, we’d know. How? Because we would have found the farmer’s son dead after having eaten the fruit from that first plant. Though I’m not suggesting Monsanto creates poisonous grape seeds, I am interested in research by Environmental Working Group, among others, that shows the modifications they have been making as a possible culprit behind all kinds of maladies from cancer to diabetes to autism spectrum disorders. With the modern agro-industrial machine at work, the scale of our farm industry is massive… so massive, in fact, that by the time we discover nasty side effects or unanticipated consequences, thousands, or millions of people may have already been exposed.
In short, yes. The critics are right. We have been living with – and creating GMO’s for thousands of years.
We have not, however, been engineering plants so that we can spray them with poison and then eat them until the past few decades. Now we have plants that have insecticidal compounds built into their genetic structure. Insects are animals and these plants contain enough poison to kill them. In case you’ve forgotten, humans are also animals.
We now have corn and soybeans that are genetically engineered to be resistant to weed killer (Roundup). We spray the entire crop field — soybeans and all — to kill the weeds, and then we go on to eat the beans from these plants. The compounds from the roundup are there in the food.
Evidence is building that the poison *we thought* broke down and didn’t pass through to us actually *does* pass through into our bodies.
Big companies can afford to pay PR firms to craft messages like “our studies show that any toxins in the food are present only in trace amounts and are below the acceptable thresholds allowed by law”.
Those tests are questionable in that they isolate only the product in question (say, soybean oil). The trace amounts of Roundup (grass & weed poison) remaining in ONLY the soybean oil may indeed be very low. What the studies miss is the larger picture:
We aren’t JUST consuming foods made with the soybean oil. This article says that up to 70% of processed foods already contain modified products.
Look through your pantry and refrigerator.
The average American diet consists of processed foods – for some people more than others, but even the stuff marketed as “healthy” options is processed (i.e. if it even has a label, it is likely a processed food).
Add the cumulative effects of “trace” amounts in every single thing you ingest or put on your body. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, popcorn at the movies, your daily triple venti latte, your chewing gum, your shampoo, your hand soap….. get the picture?
If you live the “average” American lifestyle, your body is being bombarded every day with potentially toxic chemicals.
GMO itself is not the problem. The article is correct.
GMO is a giant Trojan horse, though, for high — potentially corrosive — loads of known poisons to enter our bodies.
Will you allow yourself to be distracted by arguments over semantics?
What are you doing in the meantime to protect yourself and your family?
Something to think about, eh?