GMO1There has been a lot of talk recently about the pros and cons of GMO crops worldwide. GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organism” and is a leading agricultural technology today. In 2011 genetically modified crops were cultivated commercially in 29 countries worldwide. The United State leads the way with 170.5 million acres of GMO crops.  Did you know that 93% of all soy grown in the United States is genetically modified?  Do you read labels? Most processed and frozen food at the grocery stores contains soy in some facet.

There has been a lot of conflicting data in regard to the benefits and concerns of GMO crops. Pro-GMO proponents use powerful lobbyists, corporate lawyers and money to push the GMO agenda. Underfunded grass-roots organizations fiercely fight the muddled propaganda.  Both sides seem to provide convincing arguments and both sides can refute each other’s scientific data. Where does this leave the unassuming consumer?

Here is what we do know: About 90 percent of the corn, cotton and soy grown in the U.S. are genetically modified to be either resistant to pests or tolerant of herbicides. It is true that the harvest from most crops is used to feed domestic livestock but even these animals eventually make it to the dinner table. Further, genetically engineered corn and soy makes its way into our food source; in fact most processed foods and cooking oils contain GMOs. Charles Benbrook, an agricultural expert, states that long-term effects of GMOs just has not been researched.  It turns out the dinner table is the front line for laboratories. The problem is that millions of people are ingesting GMOs and since these products are not labeled or tested by impartial scientists, there is no way to trace back potentially adverse health consequences.  Though it has not been officially proven, GMOs may be responsible for an increase in asthma, allergies, ADHD, gastrointestinal disorders and possibly cancer.

In Kauai, where my Father lives, there is a silent war underway between the locals and chemical giants like DuPont and Sygnenta. What used to be a thriving sugar cane industry is now all GMO corn. Further, cancer rates are spiking on the west side of Kauai and there is evidence that the ground water is contaminated by pesticide spraying. So much for paradise….

It has been said that GMO crops are the food of the future. It is a cheaper and more cost-effective way to feed the masses. But what is the longterm cost? It is companies like Monsanto, Dow and DuPont that spend millions of dollars to keep GMOs in the food source and to keep GMO ingredients off our labels. Why?

Activist Michael Grolm states “there is no good gene technology. It’s like atomic energy. Once you open the door, you can’t close it”.

Who am I?  I am simply a writer observing this conflict from the outside.  My gut tells me corporations like Monsanto and DuPont are not our friends. Most corporations are about the bottom line and their products and services are cost driven and not quality driven.  Unfortunately, most corporation’s interests lie where the money is and it is the consumer that suffers. All I can say is that something stinks here and it is not the fertilizer.

John C. Bader

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Article Reference:  Seeds of Conflict; Discover Magazine

Image courtesy of Anh-usa.org

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