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Frankenfood

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Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are the by-products of splicing genes from one species into the DNA of another, explains Aaran Stephans, founder of Nature’s Path Foods. Numerous environmentalists and scientists believe the creation of GMO technology is fraught with unknown dangerous and serious long-term consequences for our health and the environment.

The American-based Say No to GMO organization describes genetically modified crops and foods as ‘…a new technology that forces genetic information across the protective species barrier in an unnatural way.’ Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) explains how with GMO technology, ‘…any gene from any plant, animal, bacterium, fungus or virus can be inserted into the DNA in reproductive cells of any other organism.’ Frances Moore Lappé, author and food advocate, questions genetically modified foods’ place in our society with; ‘None of us called for genetic manipulation of seeds. Not one of us said, yes, this new technology will benefit me, my family, and my community’.

Most North Americans aren’t even aware that they are consuming genetically modified foods at every meal.

Regardless of citizen input, biotech companies are making it their business to systematically industrialize the world’s natural food supply into genetically modified Frankenfoods. Unfortunately, most North Americans aren’t even aware that they are consuming genetically modified foods at every meal.

Not All GMO Foods Are Created Equal

Crops can be engineered as ‘pesticide crops’ designed to produce a pesticide within the plant. Seeds of Deception author Jeffery M. Smith explains many genetically modified crops are ‘herbicide tolerant crops’, crops that have been genetically engineered to be tolerant of specific herbicides, for example numerous GM crops are Roundup Ready® (a registered trade-mark of Monsanto). ‘Virus Resistant Crops’ are crops engineered to resist specific viruses, like some brands of US squash and papaya. ‘Terminator Seeds or Crops’, are very controversial in North America; these seeds have been modified to restrict their own use. PANNA explains, ‘…Terminator seeds grow ‘normally’, but produce sterile seeds, forcing farmers to buy new seed each year instead of being able to save, share and breed them’.

Terminology
GE: Genetically engineered
GM: Genetically modified
GMO: Genetically modified organisms
Terminator Seeds: Seeds that become sterile after one use

Follow The Money

By controlling the entire food production chain from genetically modified seed (with built in pesticides or resistance to certain pesticides also owned by the biotech companies) to farmers signing contracts to use specific pesticides on their crops to terminator seeds that become sterile after one use, the genetically modified food stream is a multi-billion dollar business that benefits no one but the companies who engineer, patent and control the engineered foods. Monsanto currently owns more than 91% of the genetically modified food market, according to Jeffery M. Smith.

Health Effects

Human health ramification of various types of genetically engineered (GE) food is of growing concern for many nations around the world. Some of the possible dangers from ingesting genetically engineered foods include; increased allergies; allergies to soy have increased by 50% in the UK which is believed to coincide with soy imports from the USA, transferring allergens; many individuals have developed allergies after consuming foods containing unlabeled allergens in the GE foods, ingesting toxins; much of the GM crops are either herbicide ready or are sprayed with pesticides. There is also the very real possibility of lowered nutritional quality in GE foods when consuming foods designed to become sterile after one use or involving heavy applications of pesticides.

The USA is the largest producer of genetically engineered crops. 75% of US soybeans, 25% of corn, 72% of cotton are genetically engineered in the USA.
—Pesticide Action Network North America

Environmental Effects

Increased pesticide use with genetically modified crops is a serious concern. According to PANNA, ‘Despite biotechnology industry PR about eliminating pesticides, virtually all genetically engineered crops are either designed to work in concert with conventional pesticides or do themselves contain pesticides’.

Greenpeace International reports spreading GE crops could contaminate non-GE environments and food crops for future generations in an unforeseeable manner. Greenpeace adds ‘Their release is 'genetic pollution' and is a major threat because GMOs cannot be recalled once released into the environment.’

GE crops are a threat to crop diversity. GE Free New Zealand believes the recent contamination of Mexico’s indigenous maize stock with GE crops is a warning of what may happen around the world if the same Biotech companies push for global commercial release of GE crops. Greenpeace explains, ‘Crop genetic diversity is critical to the continuing development of varieties resistant to new pests, diseases, changing climatic and environmental conditions.’

Animal Effects

Increasingly, non-organic North American farm animals are being fed genetically modified grains and feeds. Unless otherwise specifically labeled as non-organic or GMO free, most animal food supplies contain at least some component of GE grains such as soy or corn. Yet numerous anecdotal observations from farmers demonstrate when animals —both wild and domestic —are given free choice between GE or natural feed, the animals always choose the natural feed. However, when animals are given no choice but to consume genetically modified foods or starve to death, they choose to consume the GMOs.

The only way to ensure you are not ingesting genetically modified ingredients is to consume organic food.

Wild creatures like bees, birds and butterflies are experiencing the negative ramifications of ingesting genetically modified crops. Jeffery M. Smith reports the problem isn’t so much that the GM crops directly reduce insect and bird friendly weeds, but ‘…it’s the herbicide they are engineered to withstand that does the damage.’ Jeffery M. Smith describes, of the estimated 70 million acres of GM food planted around the world; about 80% have had their DNA altered to survive applications of herbicide.

Genetically Modified Future

Although currently the most common genetically modified crops are corn, soy, canola and cotton, Frankenfood giant Monsanto (the makers of Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War) has no intention of stopping there. All American milk (and diary products made from milk), unless otherwise labeled, contains Monsanto’s rbGH (bovine growth hormone); the rbGH is injected into cows to increase milk production.

Past experiments with GMOs have included potatoes that created their own insecticide, tomatoes crossed with a cold water flounder engineered to resist frost, pigs that produce a human growth hormone, cotton that produces its own pesticide called Bt and a highly toxic yeast designed to increase fermentation.

North American consumers are going to have a lot more foods to avoid in the future. According to PANNA more genetically engineered foods are on their way: ‘…approvals have been granted for thousands of new field trials of genetically modified plants. Foods being readied for market include: genetically engineered fish and seafood, lettuce, melons, peas, rice, wheat, strawberries, raspberries, pineapples, bananas, apples and pigs’.

North America Has No Labeling

Although the European Union introduced legislation that food with more than .9% genetically modified content needs to be labeled for consumers, no such rules exist in North America. The only way to ensure you are not ingesting genetically modified ingredients is to consume organic food. However not all organic food companies test for genetically modified ingredients in their foods.

North American consumers are going to have a lot more foods to avoid in the future. According to PANNA more genetically engineered foods are on their way: ‘…approvals have been granted for thousands of new field trials of genetically modified plants. Foods being readied for market include: genetically engineered fish and seafood, lettuce, melons, peas, rice, wheat, strawberries, raspberries, pineapples, bananas, apples and pigs’.

Check Your Labels

Jeffery M. Smith includes a list of some of the most common locations of GMOs in his best-selling book Seeds of Deception; foods containing GM soy or corn derivatives or GM vegetable oils include: infant formula, bread, cereal, salad dressing, hotdogs, margarine, mayonnaise, crackers, cookies, chocolate, fried foods, chips, veggie burgers, meat substitutes, ice cream, protein powder, tofu, soy sauce, tomato sauce, alcohol, peanut butter, and pasta. For a complete list visit: www.seedsofdeception.com

What You Can Do

  • Try to avoid eating North American processed foods
  • Support farmers that use non-genetically modified crops
  • Buy organic foods
  • Buy organic cotton
  • Contact companies directly to ask if their foods contain genetically modified ingredients
  • Contact your federal government and tell them you demand all genetically modified foods be clearly labeled
  • Lobby your government to refuse Terminator Seed technology

Resources

Ban Terminator Seeds: http://www.banterminator.org/
Genetically Engineered Food Alert: http://www.gefoodalert.org/
Say No to GMO: http://www.saynotogmos.org/
Seeds of Deception: http://www.seedsofdeception.com
North American Organic Consumers: http://www.organicconsumers.org/

 

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