Published 8:24 am Wednesday, June 8, 2016
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herbs for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth. –Psalm 104:14.
Hello folks! Once again, it’s time to talk about the ever-changing trend in our food resources, and this month we will learn a little about genetically modified food. So what exactly are GMO foods? According to Consumer Reports March 2015 issue, GMOs — or genetically modified organisms — are created in a lab by altering the genetic makeup of a plant or an animal.
Ninety-two percent of Americans believe that GMO foods — widely found in kitchens across the country — should be labeled before they’re sold, according to a recent nationally representative survey of 1,004 people from the Consumer Reports National Research Center. (Last year, tests discovered that GMOs were present in many packaged foods, such as breakfast cereals, chips, baking mixes, and protein bars.)
It’s a growing controversy: Should GMO foods always be labeled so consumers are aware that the product contains genetically modified ingredients? There is a real battle going on behind the scenes concerning this issue and of course the companies that grow these plants are using great amounts of time, money and effort to fight this issue.
One main selling point for crops containing GMOs has been that they reduce the use of pesticides. The use of insecticides (which kill bugs) has declined since these crops were introduced in the mid-1990s, but the use of herbicides (which kill weeds) has soared.
The majority of corn, soybeans, and other GMO crops grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered to be resistant to glyphosate, a weed killer better known as Roundup. Roundup is made by Monsanto, which also produces the seeds that enable crops to survive being doused with the herbicide. Since that technology was introduced in 1996, there has been almost a tenfold increase in the use of the herbicide.
According to Jere Gettle, owner of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, who sells only Non-GMO seeds and has done years of research on this matter, these chemical-drenched crops are proving to be dangerous not only to the insects that are considered pests, but also to the very insects that sustain and pollinate our crops. Since the introduction of GMO crops, farmers have seen drastic declines in populations of honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
Frogs, fish and other wildlife are also in decline. Humans are also showing GMO proteins and vast amounts of agricultural chemicals in our bloodstreams, causing untold health issues and allergies. At the same time, the EPA has just ruled that our food can now contain up to 30 times more of the herbicide “Roundup,” a farm chemical linked to cancer and myriad other diseases.
So, what do you think, folks? The next time you ride down the road and see those acres of “Round-up Ready” fields, think about the food that will be produced and how it will affect you. Until next time!
Alice Russell, also known as “Me Me,” is a guest columnist who resides in the Randolph/Saxe area. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.