“Come over to my side of the argument — the view is always so clear from here.” — Ashleigh Brilliant.
Whenever we read an article about how safe GM (genetically modified) foods are, we can be sure that it was written by someone closely associated with the GM industry. They are out to convince us that their products are completely safe and there’s no reason for concern. This is a perfect example of how various facets of the food industry try to convince us that there is no harm — only good — to come from their experimenting with our food. But many well-qualified scientists who are not connected to the industry will tell us otherwise.
The most important reason that we need to avoid GM foods is because there is absolutely no way that anyone knows what the long-term effects that such products may have on human health and the environment. And there are many more reasons that such foods should be labeled or preferably banned. First, I’ll offer some compelling facts that Mol-Wan Ho and Lim Li Ching list in their book, “GMO Free.”
“GM crops are unacceptable because they are by no means safe. They have been introduced without the necessary safeguards and safety assessments through a deeply flawed regulatory system based on a principle of ‘substantial equivalence’ that is aimed at expediting product approval rather than serious safety assessment.
“GM crops have failed to deliver the promised benefits and are posing escalating problems on the farm. Transgenic contamination is now widely acknowledged to be unavoidable and hence there can be no coexistence of GM and non-GM agriculture. Most important of all, … sufficient evidence has emerged to raise serious safety concerns that, if ignored, could result in irreversible damage to health and the environment. GM crops should be firmly rejected now.
“By far the most insidious dangers of genetic engineering are inherent in the process itself which greatly enhances the scope and probability of horizontal gene transfer and recombination, the main route to creating viruses and bacteria that cause disease epidemics.”
If that isn’t enough, listen to Ronnie Cummins who contributed to the book, “Food, Inc.” “The patenting of GE food and widespread biotech food production threatens to eliminate farming as it has been practiced for 12,000 years. GE patents, such as the Terminator Technology, will render seeds infertile and force hundreds of millions of farmers who now save and share their seeds to purchase ever-more expensive GE seeds and chemical imports from a handful of global biotech/seed monopolies. ... Family or indigenous farmers will be driven off the land and consumer food choices will be dictated by a cartel of transnational corporations.”
And finally, from “Safe Food” by my favorite nutrition guru, Marion Nestle: “What, for example, does it mean for us as a democratic society that more than half the foods on supermarket shelves contain genetically modified ingredients, but their presence is not labeled? …Overall, the lack of labeling suggests that something about transgenic foods is best hidden.”
“Until people actually have some choice about whether to consume transgenic foods, there is little reason to accept them. Companies need to label the foods and keep them separate from conventional foods. They also need to make more serious efforts to ensure that transgenics do not escape into the wild.”
A recent editorial in the San Jose Mercury reminded us: “More than 60 nations including every European Union nation, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and Russia require labels on genetically engineered foods. California consumers deserve the same transparency in labeling.”
So please do not believe the protestations of representatives of this speculative enterprise who, along with their employers (like Monsanto) which have been doing everything they can to take over the farming of food worldwide in an all-out effort to convince farmers that they must use GMO seeds for their crops. It’s another case of powerful corporate interests exercising their influence in order to take control of vital natural resources with absolutely no concern for how, in the long term, it may affect the health of humans and other animals and the environment.
Are we going to fail to take action until our food becomes a mere shadow of its natural self? Are we going to expose our grandchildren to a food environment that has the potential to cause any number of health problems that we will not be able to deal with because of their complexity? Is that what the industry is counting on?
As Mr. Brilliant reminds us: “History records no more gallant struggle than humanity against the truth.”
Since 1984, Dorothy Dimitre has written more than 750 columns for various local newspapers. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.