The Genetically Modified Food debate
Being fundamentally convinced about the organic movement, and the insanity of much in modern agriculture (do you remember those butter mountains and wine lakes of the 1980s?), I found an article written on http://www.theletterfromamerica.org/ fascinating. This highlights to me that despite the potential for GM crops to improve drought resistance etc all the efforts have been focused on resistance to massively toxic chemical and the sale of hectolitres of pesticides and herbicides that are working their way into our food web. For those without the time to read the entire article here are the salient points: Since GM crops were introduced into the US, they have grown to account for about half (yes half) of agriculture in the US, with some varieties like soya, maize and cotton being almost 100% genetically modified today. The pitch was always that GM crops would improve yields, or the amount of a crop that can be produced on any given area of land. This has proven not to be the case. Their second promise was that it would reduce the need to use pesticides. This has proven quite untrue as well. GM crops are usually designed with one main thing in mind- being able to survive being bombarded by super toxic chemicals that kill everything in their wake. But the result has been the development of super weeds that we no longer know how to kill, having developed resistance to this chemical war fare. The impact on the ecology medium term of releasing super weeds into nature can only be imagined. And if you thought GM crops were not an issue in Europe’s food chain, think again. Most livestock in Europe is fed GM soya from either Brazil or the US. So all those chemical nasties are now feeding into our food web too. From the heroes that brought you Mad Cow by feeding vegetarian cows with animal derived food, we can now count on them to bring us some new health shocks, as we discover the effects of feeding animals glyphosate heavy GM crops. Personally I wouldn’t wait to find out. By eating organic food you are not only protecting your health but helping the planet towards a better future. One day the agro-barons might focus their efforts on modifying for something useful like drought resistance or poor soil, instead of chemical resistance and sterility (so farmers have to repurchase the seeds every year). But I wouldn’t hold your breath.