GM oh NO!

There has been some debate and protest over the genetic modification of our food supply. Greenpeace has had an on going campaign to raise awareness about what is actually going on in the fields and in laboratories around the globe. Genetically Modified (GM) crops entered our food supply in 1996 , no labeling was required of modified crops and very little safety studies were done. According to University of Guelph professor of plant physiology, Ann Clark “the approval process has been largely based on assumptions.”

We know our food is being altered, who has not heard of Monsanto’s “round up ready” crops? Seeds that have been modified to grow despite being drenched in herbicide that kills every living green thing it touches.

There is another product of the biotech industry that is commonly overlooked, GM cotton. Used not only for fabric, cotton seeds are processed into pulp for animal feed and cooking oil. Although health Canada assumes that refined oil from these crops raise no concerns related to safety, there are many that would argue the process of creating GM crops can create unpredicted damage in its DNA. These incedental changes could produce dangerous toxins, allergens or carcinogins, which if fat soluble, could end up in the oil and our food. Biotech companies. like big tabacco before them, believe we should assume these products are safe, and Health Canada agrees.

According to the The Royal Society of Canada’s report it was found that “70 percent of the currently availalbe GM crops approved for commerce in Canada, including all the canola and cotton crops have not been subject to any actual lab or animal toxicity testing” The studies that have been done are not conducted by health Canada, but by the biotech companies themselves.

Although more independent studies are needed some tests have shown animals fed GM crops showed profound changes in their livers, kidneys and hearts, and most alarming is the damage to the reproductive organs and DNA function. Even Monsanto’s own studies on trangenic corn MON863 showed toxicity in animals liver and kidneys. The only human feeding study on GM food, published in Nature in 2004, found that genes inserted into GM soybeans transfered into the DNA of human gut bacteria.

It was announced that Health Canada would conduct studies in 2002, but according to a CBC TV report the research was abandoned less than a year later as it was determined to be “too difficult to put an effective surveillance system in place”

The European Union has been fighting to ban all GMO crops and an import ban has been argued by the U.S. that this is in violation of trade agreements. The institute for Responsible Technology is currently running a campaign to stop the poliferation of GMO in our food supply, but have we already gotten to the point of no return? The answer (and seeds) are blowing in the wind.

Image:World map GMO production 2005

  • ██ The five countries producing more than 95% of commercialized GMO

  • legend pattern orange:Other country producing commercialized GMO.
  • orange dot:Only experimental crops.

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