GM Food, Genetic Roulette!

On Christmas day in 1859, 24 rabbits were released into the Australian countryside so that settlers could hunt them and feel “more at home”. The rabbit population increased rapidly (as we all know that rabbits do) to over 200 million and spread over 4 million square kilometres. That Christmas present now cost Australians approximately $600 million per year.
Looking back, this of course was a mistake. But have we learned from our mistakes? We do know that man-made interventions have to be dealt with cautiously. The ramifications of these acts can exist for years and expose the population to unpredictable and dangerous situations.

The same can be said for GM food crops. Do we really know what will happen down the road? Have there been enough studies to prove that these foods will not somehow affect our health?

When GM technology was developed, we were at the beginning of understanding DNA and scientists are still researching. Our bodies are extremely complex. Will we ever understand completely, this complexity. With that said how is it possible that genetically modified food has made it to our tables so quickly.

It was in the 1970’s that scientists could transfer genes from the DNA of one species into another. They’ve worked on some interesting combinations. Jellyfish genes could light up pig’s noses in the dark, Arctic fish genes allowed strawberries and tomatoes to become more frost tolerant and potatoes glowed in the dark when thirsty. Yikes!!!!

Plant and animal breeders have been working with natural breeding for years. Breeding one cow with another to create a stronger milker or larger beef cow, or selecting desired characteristics from one tomato to another has been going on for thousands of years. Cows mate with cows, tomatoes mate with tomatoes. But cows can’t mate with tomatoes. Genetic engineering transfers genes across natural barriers that have separated species over a million years of evolution.

The five major GM crops are sugar beets, soybeans, corn, canola and cotton. The single most dominant GM trait is herbicide tolerance(HT)These HT crops are designed to survive toxic doses of weed killer and have dramatically increased the use of herbicide. The herbicide used is glyphosate. Glyphosate is a synthetic compound used as a broad spectrum, non selective herbicide to kill perennial weeds. Studies have linked glyphosate with cancer, micro flora imbalance, impaired liver function, vitamin D deficiency, leaky gut, Alzheimer’s, hormone deficiencies and Autism.

Have we lost our right to access good clean food?

Consumer resistance to GM foods in Europe forced the food industry to respond. Unilever committed to remove GM ingredients from its European brands and thereafter major food companies followed suit. Can we say the same for Canada. Until recently, I really didn’t know much about GM food and am continuing to learn. After delving into an assortment of materials and chatting with people who are knowledgeable in the field, I can say that I am disturbed by what I know. I think there are far too many variables and a lack of understanding of what genetically modified can do to us. The increased use of herbicides alone are linked to many illnesses. As consumers we should expect nothing but the best for our families and environment. Vote with your dollar, grow your own garden, raise chickens, rabbits, goats and insist on good food! That is an absolute right that you have!

* Research taken from “Genetic Roulette” by Jeffrey M. Smith

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