GMO products are controversial and we aren’t able to access quality information about their effect on us or our environment. Companies want to prosper, we all do but at what cost?
Prosperity is something that each and everyone deserve to experience in our lives, everyday and in everyway. We live in a world where there is so much; nature has provided so much for us to ensure our survival and yet the bulk of the world’s population will never know its kiss. How is it that such highly educated, well informed, dominant cultures can continue to deny so much to so many? How can we allow others around the globe to live in conditions that would never be acceptable to us? Why does western society feel such a sense of financial entitlement that it happily grows rich on the back of the misery of so many others; women, children and men who exist without the basic requirements of life so that we in the west can have more? It’s a sobering thought! And yet, even as we command all of this, emotional prosperity eludes us. Western societies have become ‘pharma-ised’ gobbling down anti depressants and other mental health drugs at an alarming rate. This comes as little surprise considering the continued medicalisation of our society whereby people have become enslaved to allopathic medicine and the advice of its Doctor’s. But is our emotional downturn attributable to something more sinister, because these emotional issues are jogging alongside the rise in chronic health issues and cancers, should we be paying more attention to what’s happening to our food supply, I think the answer to that is a resounding YES!
On Saturday 25 May at 2.00pm my family and I set off for the ‘March against Monsanto’, a global event to bring attention to the GMO threat to the world food supply. We weren’t expecting a big turn out but when we arrived we were quite overwhelmed. The march itself extended about a length and a half of a city block. It was a stunning attendance and a wonderful mix of older activists, young families and independent young persons deeply concerned about the future of our food and our organic farming communities. The speakers were articulate and thoughtful, providing excellent information and education without the hysteria. The message was clear Hands off our Food, Genetically Modified seed and food is not welcome in Australia and further, the assault on our health and environment along with the oppression of our small farming operations will not be tolerated.
Monsanto contribution to GMO
Monsanto is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation with its headquarters in the USA. It produces Genetically Modified seed and markets the poison herbicide Roundup across the globe. This is the company responsible for the production of other nasties such as DDT, PCB’s and the infamous Agent Orange. The business model of Monsanto, applied to agriculture, relies on heavy investment into research and development funded by the heavy hand of biological patents. The registration of GMO seed patents effectively means that if farmers do not buy seed from Monsanto for farming purposes but continue with the traditional approach of seed saving and sharing amongst farming communities, and neighbouring GMO seed finds its way into the traditional farmers paddock litigation is commenced against the small farmer. With the clout of big money and massive legal teams the small farmers don’t stand a chance. Monsanto’s desire to dominate and control the world’s food supply is controversial to say the least. Monsanto seed dominates the US production of soybean, maize, cotton, sugar beet and canola. It also produces agricultural seeds that have been genetically modified to make its own insecticidal protein. This includes potato plants, approved for sale by the EPA in 1995. It’s interesting to note that among the members of the Monsanto Board are Janice L Fields, President of McDonald’s USA and C.Steven McMillan, former Chairman and CEO of the Sara Lee Corporation.
GMO and labeling
One of the large concerns in relation to GM foods is the lack of labelling of GM products so that consumers know what they are purchasing. In California, Proposition 37, a bill which will require simple labels on food products clearly identifying genetically engineered ingredients is being fought strongly by companies who would prefer to keep their GMO ingredients secret. The big GMO producers have put up a staggering $25 million dollars to stop GMO labelling. It has been said that almost 80% of all processed, non organic food in the USA would require labelling. These include well known companies like Kelloggs, Campbell Soup and Ocean Spray Cranberries who have joined hands with the big GMO producers to silence Proposition 37. Mr Norman Braksick president of a subsidiary of Monsanto told a Kansas newspaper in 1994 “If you put a label on genetically engineered food, you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it”. A key point to remember is that these foods are often sold to the consumer as being ‘Natural’ or ‘all natural’ which is clearly misleading. Further, as a precondition to buying seed either to plant for crops or to use in research study an End User Agreement must be signed with Monsanto and other gene giant companies which explicitly forbid independent research being undertaken into the effects of the product on humans or the environment. The only studies allowed to be circulated are those undertaken by Monsanto itself.
Negative health affects of GMO foods
Some of the alleged negative effects of consuming GM foods are health issues such as allergies, behavioural disorders, birth defects, cancers and degenerative disease such as autoimmune disease. The fundamental argument is one of choice as independent free thinking human beings we all deserve the right to choice about what we consume and feed to our family and friends. If these huge companies have nothing to hide from the consumer, then why the commitment to secrecy, and why the continued drive against labelling of GM products? It just doesn’t add up.
We sometimes forget that we have a lot of power when we stand together and take action. I urge you to get informed; help to keep our lives and the lives of future generations prosperous by keeping our bodies and our environment protected from contamination. At the very least we should be given the right to informed consent and that means openness and transparency. There are a number of wonderful organisations that need your help to keep our food, animals and environment, and our wonderful organic farmers safe, here are a couple of sites if you want to start getting more information:
www.madge.org.au (Mothers Are Demystifying Genetic Engineering)
Some things are worth fighting for and safe food is definitely worth fighting for.
For further reading please see the below links
Non-GMO Shopping Guide: www.nongmoshoppingguide.com
Non-GMO Project: www.nongmoproject.org
Organic Consumers Association: www.organicconsumers.org
Institute for Responsible Technology: www.responsibletechnology.org
Studies & Reports:
“Are GM Crops Killing Bees?”
“A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health”
“Quantification of toxins in a Cry1Ac + CpTI cotton cultivar and its potential effects on the honey bee Apis mellifera L.”
“Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Produce Teratogenic Effects on Vertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid Signaling”
Journal of Environmental Protection
 Genetically Altered Potato Ok’d for Crops, Lawrence Journal World – May 6 1995