October 01, 2016

Are GMO Crops & Food Really Safe? A 2016 Summary

There is a lot of content on the Internet claiming that the debate is over, that GMO food is completely safe and that there is no threat to the environment, because certain authorities claim it is so. But the debate is really not over in 2016. A lot of “what ifs” and facts remain that challenge these claims of food and environmental safety. This subject is especially poignant considering that behemoth chemical and pesticide giant Bayer just bought GMO giant Monsanto this week.

1. What if the authorities that claim GMO food is perfectly safe personally choose organic food for themselves and their families?

2. What if the largest investors in GMO were shown to be stockpiling pure heirloom, organic non-GMO seeds for their own posterity?

3. What if the GMO food industry was set up in such a manner as to make it basically legally impossible to try to challenge the safety of GMO foods in public without a lawsuit?

4. What if GMO behemoths are creating a monopolization of agriculture within the control of an extremely limited amount of companies?

5. What if the increase of pesticides used in conjunction with GMO agriculture is inherently destroying bee populations and, thus, helping to destroy the environment in general, not just personal health?

6. What if weeds and pests have been increasingly resistant to GMO pesticides and GMO pesticide use is increasing dramatically, exacerbating the negative effects on the environment?

7. What if the long term use of glyphosate, the most popular herbicide, is destroying the soil?

8. What if large GMO companies were hiring propaganda artists to spread lies about GMO safety?

I've supported the first two points in a previous article, linked here, but wish to show evidence of the latter six points here in this post.

A Legally Protected Hazard – GMO seeds are usually patented. The use of the patented seeds, in any manner, requires contractual permission. Rich Dupre pointed out, "Ever since the introduction of genetically modified crops into the food chain, the tussle has been largely between farmers and Monsanto , which says since 1997 it has filed 145 lawsuits against farmers who've improperly reused its patented seeds, or on average about one lawsuit every three weeks for 16 straight years." Also, if a testing laboratory does not have contractual permission to test GMO seeds then theoretically it could be sued for violating intellectual patent law. I believe that this motivates independent laboratories to avoid important testing and only those under the control of GMO firms are likely to be approved for such testing. Nevertheless, Egypt did publish a study in 2012 that found GMO foods conducive to organ failure. The study was titled, “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize” is the longest GMO feeding study ever to be conducted on rats.


The Monopolization of Food – Aside from water and clean air, food is a fundamental human necessity. If the US Standard Oil Company was broken up due to a threat of monopolization, how much more should the monopolization of agriculture, through patented seeds, be considered a threat? India has taken to banning GMO seeds and has pointed out the obvious threat: “Seed sovereignty is not a baseless ideological position, but a pragmatic approach. It is an integral part of food security and sovereignty of a community or a nation." Instead of raising such warnings, President Obama appointed the former vice president of Monsanto, Michael Taylor, as the head of the FDA, giving even more inherent control and protection to Monsanto and the GMO industry. Chemical giant Bayer just bought Monsanto for $66 billion, making the monopoly even bigger. It has become clear that lobbyists, not public interest, control politics and laws in the US today, even as the US Congress and President Obama ushered in the "DARK Act" in 2016 preventing readable labeling of GMO products.


Destruction of the Bee Population – Since 2012, at least four studies have confirmed a link between pesticide use and harm to bee colonies. An EPA report, published January 4, 2016, concluded: “At low concentrations, neonicotinoids cause excessive nervous stimulation and at high concentrations, insect paralysis and death will occur.” Neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) mimic nictotine and over-stimulate the nervous system of insects and are believed to possibly weaken, disorient and kill honeybees. Monsanto's GM soybeans are coated with bee-toxic neonics and Bayer CropScience is the leading producer in the US, with Neonicotinoids making up 80% of all seed treatment sales in 2008. Popular systemic pesticides are designed to last longer in the environment. Bees carry traces back to the hive and residue is placed in the pollen. In the next generation, the bees tend to die off. Because bees do not immediately die upon initial contact, the EPA has considered these pesticides safe. As of 2016, seven bee species are on the endangered species list in the US.


Resistant Super Weeds and Pests Require More Pesticides – According to Washington State University in 2012, “The use of herbicides in the production of three genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops -- cotton, soybeans and corn -- has actually increased, according to a new study. This counterintuitive finding is based on an exhaustive analysis of publicly available data.”  Additionally, A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that, “Initially, the rootworm was only resistant to one of the three varieties of Bt corn. However, scientists have now found resistance to a second variety as well. In addition, developing resistance to one variety increases the chance of developing resistance to a second. So the effort of biotech companies to create new genetically engineered seeds with “stacked traits” in one doesn’t seem like that good of an idea anymore.” The US Union of Concerned Scientists concluded, "In what may sound like science fiction but is all too real, “superweeds” are overrunning America’s farm landscape, immune to the herbicides that used to keep crop-choking weeds largely in check."


Destruction of the Soil by Glyphosate - Glyphosate is touted as the “safest” of all the agricultural herbicides and has become the most common crop weed control agent throughout the world. However, Dr. Robert Kremer's study in the peer-reviewed Journal of European Agronomy highlights that soil is basically ruined over time, as described: "damage to beneficial microbes in the soil increasing the likelihood of infection of a crop by soil pathogens, interference with nutrient uptake by the plant, reduced efficiency of symbiotic nitrogen fixation, overall lower-than-expected plant productivity."

False Propaganda by GMO Firms - When a company begins to revert to outright lies and propaganda, then it is pretty obvious that there is probably an underlying problem. Maryam Henein, director of a documentary film titled Vanishing of the Bees (2009), has countered three top lies by GMO apologist, Jon Entine. LIE #1: Mounting Evidence Shows Neonics Are Safe for Bees; LIE #2: Honeybee Colonies Are on the Rise; LIE #3: Bees Are Thriving in Australia Despite Neonics. So why is Entine shilling for big biotech? Mother Jones found that Entine was being paid to defend Monsanto: “Entine also runs a consultancy, ESG MediaMetrics. The firm'shomepage lists Monsanto as a "select client." Among its "core services," it lists "Media strategy, writing, speechwriting, and engagement with critics."


I don't know about you, but I'd like to try and be a good steward of my body, my family's health, and the environment. All of life is about choices and consequences. This is common sense and also scriptural: "I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live." (Deuteronomy 30.19b NIV) Why not choose life when it comes to food, agriculture and the environment in general? I hope that you will share this information with others.

Tags: Monsanto-Bayer merger, monopoly of food, GMO controversy continues, GMO update, Bayer buys Monsanto merging, summary facts about GMO food and crops, bee population dying, pesticides kill, harm bees, super weeds, super bugs, super pests, food freedom, US even bee species on endangered species list, neonics kill bees, Jon Entine lies, GMO propaganda, colony collapse disorder (CCD)

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