creators home
creators.com lifestyle web
shawn dell joyce

Recently

Eating Earth Our Mother Earth has about 22 billion acres of usable land. This is contains about 3.3 billion acres of farmland, 8.4 billion acres of pastureland and 10.1 billion acres of forestland. Not all of the land is fertile, which will affect its ability to …Read more. Earth Day Our earth is the playing field, the staging ground, the backdrop of all this human drama. In the words of the late Carl Sagan, "Every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every …Read more. Earth Day "May there only be peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life." —United Nations Secretary-General U Thant, 1971 …Read more. Earth Day Our earth is the playing field, the staging ground, the backdrop of all this human drama. In the words of the late Carl Sagan, "Every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every …Read more.
more articles

The Rise of the Frankenfoods

Comment

Some 200 million acres of the world's farms grew biotech crops last year, with over 90 percent of the genetically engineered (GE) seeds coming from U.S.-based Monsanto. Scientists have taken genetic materials from one organism (like a soil bacterium), along with an antibiotic-resistant marker gene, and spliced both into a food crop (like corn) to create a genetically modified crop that resists specific diseases and pests.

There has been no long-term independent testing on the impacts of these "frankenfoods" on the ecosystem or human health. Instead, there's a long litany of concealed truths, strong-arm tactics and even outright bribery by the world's biotech giants.

In the early 1990s, when frankenfoods were being evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, several FDA scientists warned that GE crops could cause negative health effects. These scientists were ignored, and blanket approvals of GE crops were passed. Perhaps one reason for the quick approval process is the revolving door at the FDA, which allows corporate executives from biotech giants to hold decision-making positions in the FDA.

Michael Taylor was an attorney for Monsanto before being appointed deputy commissioner of the FDA in 1991. Taylor hastened approval of GE crops through the FDA and then returned to Monsanto to become the vice president for public policy.

It's very difficult to avoid eating genetically modified organisms (GMO's) in our country because they're so pervasive in the food system and unlabeled in the grocery stores. In our country, 89 percent of all soy, 61 percent of all corn, and 75 percent of all canola are genetically altered. Other foods contain GMOs: commercially grown papaya, zucchini and tomatoes; several fish species; food additives (enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame, or NutraSweet); and rennet that's used to make hard cheeses.

To complicate matters, GMOs move around in the ecosystem through pollen, wind and natural cross-fertilization.

The Union of Concerned Scientists conducted two separate independent laboratory tests on non-GM seeds "representing a substantial proportion of the traditional seed supply" for corn, soy and oilseed rape. The test found that half the corn and soy and 83 percent of the oilseed rape were contaminated with GM genes eight years after the GM varieties were first grown on a large scale in the U.S.

The reports state, "Heedlessly allowing the contamination of traditional plant varieties with genetically engineered sequences amounts to a huge wager on our ability to understand a complicated technology that manipulates life at the most elemental level." There could be "serious risks to health" if drugs and industrial chemicals from the next generation of GM crops were consumed in food.

What can you do to avoid GMO's?

—Know how your food is grown by buying directly from local farmers.

—Support organic agriculture and food producers who label their ingredients, particularly dairy farmers.

—Eat pastured meat raised on organic feed. The only way to ensure this is to buy from someone you know.

—Support farmers who are sued by biotech giants. Monsanto has set aside an annual budget of $10 million dollars and a staff of 75 devoted solely to investigating and prosecuting more than 150 farmers for a total of more than $15 million dollars.

—Demand labeling on all GMO-containing products so that we at least have a choice!

Shawn Dell Joyce is an award-winning columnist and founder of the Wallkill River School in Orange County, N.Y. You can contact her at Shawn@ShawnDellJoyce.com. To find out more about Shawn Dell Joyce and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM




Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Shawn Dell Joyce
Apr. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 1 2 3
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month