Biotechnology is a vital issue that impacts all of us. Largely between 1997 and 1999, gene-modified (GM) ingredients suddenly appeared in two thirds of all U.S. processed foods. A single Supreme Court ruling fueled this food alteration. It allowed, for the first time, the patenting of life forms for commercialization. Since then thousands of applications for experimental GM organisms have been filed with the U.S. Patent Office alone, and many more abroad. Furthermore an economic war broke out to own equity in firms, which either have such patent rights or control the food-related organisms to which they apply. This has been the key factor behind the scenes of the largest food/agri-chemical company mergers in history. Few consumers are aware this has been going on and is continuing. Yet if you recently ate soy sauce in a Chinese restaurant, you’ve undoubtedly ingested this new type of food. You may have, at the time, known exactly how much salt, fat and carbohydrates were in each of these foods because regulations mandate their labeling for dietary purposes. But you would not know if the bulk of these foods, and literally every cell, had been genetically altered!
In just three years, as much as one quarter of all American agricultural lands — or 70 – 80 million acres — were quickly converted to raise GM crops. Yet in most other countries, the same approach is subject to moratoriums, partially banned, restricted or requiring labeling — and with stiff penalties for non-compliance. This refers to laws in Great Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Ireland and Austria — or in virtually all European nations. The same trend has further spread to Latin America, the Near East and Asia.
By contrast, an unregulated, quiet and lightning speed expansion has been spearheaded in the U.S. by a handful of companies in the wake of consolidations. We hear from their sales departments that nothing but positive results will follow — for everyone from farmers to middlemen and the ultimate consumers. The “breakthrough” technology will aid the environment by reducing toxic chemical use, increasing food production to stave off world hunger and leading to an agricultural boom. In addition, it will provide nutritionally heightened and much better storing and tasting foods. Finally, all of this is based on nothing but “good science” — which in the long run will convince the wary public that GM foods are either equivalent to or better than ordinary foods.
The size of a technology’s market penetration — one quarter of U.S. agriculture is not necessarily indicative that the majority of these claims are true. Biotechnology attempts a deeper “control” over nature. But a powerful temporary control is illusionary. For example, a farmer in Ottawa planted three different kinds of GM canola seeds that came from three leading producers (Monsanto’s Roundup, Cyanamid’s Pursuit and Advantis’ Liberty). At first he was happy to see he needed to use less costly herbicides. But within just three years, “superweeds” had taken in the genes of all three types of plants! This ultimately forced him to not only use more herbicides, but far more lethal products.
The central problem underlying all of this technology is not just its short-term benefits and long-term drawbacks, but the overall attempt to “control” living nature based on an erroneous, mechanistic view.
Consuming organic living food, much of which can be grown in your own home, through biologically grown, non-genetically engineered seeds will assure you and your family protection from experimental genetics. Non-organic foods are potentially biogenetically altered and you can suspect that the majority, if not all, will be in the near future. As of now, North American organics, as well as much of European biologically grown foods have not been tainted by this bizarre technology. This “Frankenfoods” process may create a personal likeness to his monster in generations to come if we do not put an immediate halt to this chromosome-changing nightmare.
Vol 19 Issue 4 Page 1