GMOs are fruits, vegetables, grains, animals, and insects that are altered on a molecular level for a variety of reasons, including making them more resistant to extreme temperatures and diseases, and to manipulate their strengths, weaknesses, sizes, colors, tastes, smells, and even their lifespans.
If you were using or consuming products made with or containing GMOs, would you want to know? Would you care?
Please take a moment to examine some critical points concerning this issue. There are three major products being genetically modified and promoted on a large scale in the United States: corn, soy, and canola (rapeseed). Less common but still a concern are alfalfa, sweet potatoes, rice, and cotton.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Genome Programs, as of 2006, more than half of the world’s genetically modified crops were in the United States.
Cotton is the least cause for concern because people don’t eat it. Some people are concerned that GMOs are hazardous to their health. As of right now, there’s still much speculation and no studies conducted showing concrete significant indications that GMOs are unhealthy for human consumption. However, there’s also a lack of evidence indicating that they are perfectly safe. It’s very difficult to conduct a controlled study on humans because we eat a variety of things. Individual environmental factors also have to be taken into consideration.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Genome Programs, as of 2006, more than half of the world’s genetically modified crops were in the United States. In studies that were conducted on rats and baby chickens in which one group was given entirely GMO feed while the others were given exclusively non-GMO feed, the subjects fed only GMOs all died for unknown reasons. You would hope that necessary studies on humans would be conducted before products made with these substances are put on the grocery shelf. However, according to Mothers For Natural Law,
“There are about 40 varieties of genetically engineered crop approved for marketing in the U.S. As a result, 60–70% of the foods on your grocery shelves contain genetically engineered (GE) components.”
In Europe, the use of GMOs has been made more public than in North America. As a result of people’s concerns, all nutrition labels on consumable products have been required to indicate which ingredients, if any, are GMOs. In the United States and Canada, such labeling is still not a federal mandate. However, in the United States, some health-conscious food companies have taken the initiative to print “non-GMO” on the labels of certain products made with no GMOs.
All of this became a major, yet very quiet legal issue. GMOs are not born in nature. They are created in a laboratory. Even though they are created in laboratories, they are living organisms nonetheless. So, companies can patent new ideas and inventions, but can they legally patent a newly created living organism? According to the U.S. and Canadian Supreme Courts, the answer is yes. In the 2004 Percy Schmeiser case, seed from corporate-run farms with GMOs blew over to and were found growing on Schmeiser’s adjacent, family-run farm. A corporation sued the private, family-owned farm for patent infringement.
Ultimately, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled in favor of the corporation, even though the family-run farm had no knowledge of or anything to do with the GMO plants growing on its property. They were still held responsible and were forced to destroy hundreds of plants and/or seeds that were potentially “contaminated” with the GMO seed. In many cases, some small family-run farms have cultivated their seeds for many generations. To be forced to destroy an entire generation of seed may set them back a decade or more in seed production.
Introduction of a GMO into nature sometimes goes unnoticed. When pollen from these plants is introduced into nature, it’s very difficult to keep it from pollinating non-GMO plants and mixing in its DNA.
Intermixing of DNA between GMOs and non-GMOs has been happening, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA). A 2004 OTA report,
“Genetically Engineered Crop Contamination Threatens Consumer Choice,” states, “Consumers seeking products that contain no genetically engineered materials may be denied their choice because of inadvertent contamination.”
Companies that manufacture GMO seeds in their laboratories soon realized that after corporate-run farms bought seed for a growing season, they could collect the seed year after year and wouldn’t need to purchase any more. Eventually, GMO companies selling the genetically altered seeds realized that they were putting themselves out of business. To prevent this, they designed “terminator” seeds that are only good for one generation, after which they become sterile. Terminator seeds guarantee that farm-run corporations will have to return to the same GMO seed-selling company year after year to purchase more seed. This creates a financial interdependency between companies, the corporate-run farms, food processing companies, food distributors, and ultimately the consumer. - Andrew Darin, The Epoch Times