Genetically modified organisms (or GMO’s) are plants, animals or microorganisms that through scientific intervention and splicing of genes have been, in a sense, edited in a lab to include the genetic code from other products it would not naturally mix with. The process of genetic engineering looks at genes like legos (a highly contested perspective) that can be mixed and matched to achieve superior products. Examples of this are genes from human beings in rice to grow pharmaceuticals or a bacteria gene inserted into corn and cotton to produce internal pesticides.
“In 2006, 252 million acres of transgenic crops were planted in 22 countries by 10.3 million farmers. The majority of these crops were herbicide- and insect-resistant soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, and alfalfa.” (Human Genome Project)
Are GMO’s dangerous?
All indications suggest, yes. Very much so. While the initial intention behind GMO’s are potentially good (cutting farmer costs with self-producing pesticide corn or making healthier products for consumers with vitamin infused strawberries) the realities of GMO’s is that it is currently a science beyond our understanding due to a plethora of unpredictable elements like unexpected mutations and mistakes in the DNA chain. Raw-wisdom.com provides an extensive and source cited list of 50 examples of GMO dangers for both the short and long term of consumption, food production and the environment. Some of the highlighted risks include: Increased allergies, cancer or other degenerative diseases, potential for superviruses, shorter life-spans, raised soil toxicity, extinction of seed varieties and a lot more. I encourage you to read Raw Wisdom’s article and go over the many cited cases of dangers.
A shining example of GMO dangers is a study in 1999 by Dr. Arpad Pusztai at Rowett Institute in Scotland. Dr. Pusztai fed GMO’s to rats and found “they developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers and testicles, partially atrophied livers, and showed signs of a damaged immune system.”
How can I avoid GMO’s?
Scary enough, GMO’s could be anywhere and we wouldn’t know it. While regulations have begun to come down on GMO’s and you can find products with “GMO Free” or “Organic” labels, because of the unreliable nature of evolution, GMO’s can, will and have found themselves into other crops. Examples of this is genetically modified corn seeds getting mixed into organic crops by the wind, or modified fish mating with naturally raised fish. Without halting the GM process completely or creating strict regulations, nature itself will spread GMO’s and risk the possibility of damaging bio-diversity. What would happen if only one type of corn existed? Or one type of fish? Should a disease effect that crop we could see the end of a product as we know it. While that is certainly a worst case scenario the unpredictability of GMO’s creates that possibility.
The realities of GMO’s are that they are dangerous and unless consumers make a serious effort to combat inclusion into our food supply, humanity runs real risks of disease, environmental destruction and damage to our argricultural chain.
Want to know more about GMO’s and the fight against them?
If you have the time, take a look at this lecture from Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception and a leader in the anti-GMO movement. (He’s a blatantly enthusiastic about discussing GMO’s and his book, but you’ll see why.)
Another great video is an interview with Jeffrey Smith, founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology: