One of the most recent developments in agriculture is the introduction of genetic modification. A genetically modified organism (GMO) is one in which the DNA has been altered by a scientist. This is usually done to increase yield or make the crop resistant to chemicals or climate.
And while the biotechnology companies that inflict these experiments on crops claim that using GMOs is a safe and effective way of increasing the food supply, they may actually be doing more harm than good.
A Factory in Your Belly
Genetically modified foods have not undergone any long-term tests to determine their safety for human consumption. One of few tests on humans found that a gene inserted into a GM soybean crop transferred to intestinal bacteria, as well as the co-factor that keeps it constantly turned on.
Some crops are altered to produce pesticides on a cellular level. Based on the evidence from that test, there is a chance that those pesticide-producing qualities are passed to humans when we eat that GMO food.
As those altered genes continue to function long after the plant has broken down, the concern is that eating a crop altered to produce pesticides can cause the creation of a pesticide factory in the human digestive tract.
And the plants that are instead engineered to resist external pesticide use are sprayed heavily with herbicides and insecticides, which also pass to us when we eat those foods.
While usually hidden from mainstream media, more and more evidence is appearing about the ill effects of GMO consumption on health. People who live near GMO fields develop more cases of respiratory and digestive illnesses, extreme allergies, and other health troubles.
The End of Food?
The PR campaigns of the large GMO producing companies insist that genetically modifying crops is the way to food security. But many of the GM seeds that are sold to farmers are terminator seeds.
In traditional agriculture, the seeds of some plants in most crops can be saved to grow that crop again the following year. This allows the farmer to grow crops year after year once he has the initial seeds, as long as enough of them grow to seeding.
GM terminator seeds, however, produce crops that do not give off seeds. This makes it so the farmer must buy new seed each year, along with all of the fertilizer and pesticides required to grow and protect that seed. What appears on the surface to be helpful actually ends up costing the farmers more money.
And the danger of those terminator seeds contaminating nearby non-GMO farms, thus wiping out an entire species of plants, is not to be overlooked.
Lastly, the increased herbicide and insecticide use on certain resistant GM crops takes a heavy toll on birds, amphibians, soil organisms, and all aspects of ecosystems.
So, are GMOs safe?
While they may have seemed like the cure for world hunger, GMOs are actually destroying our food supply literally from the inside out. To me, this seems like one more reason to get organic produce from local small farms whenever possible, and avoid GMOs that can come in the form of conventional soy, corn, and wheat.
This is also one of the many reasons I buy organic food. At the very least, let us question a system that seems to end life, instead of fulfilling its promise to give it.