GMOs – genetically modified organisms – are taking over the world. Food as we commonly think of it is becoming a thing of the past. Big agri-business is changing the food we eat, the wilderness around us, and our very bodies – and they don’t want you to know about it.
The United Nations defines a genetically modified organism as one in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur in nature. Humans are manipulating the building block of life, and nowhere more so than in food production.
Companies are creating more and more genetically modified crops, and that means a scary future for all of us. Here are five reasons why.
You won’t know you’re eating them
In the United States there is no requirement for food companies to inform consumers that their food products contain GMOs. Indeed, in 2015 a bill was passed that prevented the US Food and Drug administration from mandating a nation-wide labeling system for GMOs. Even in other countries where there is provision for GMO labeling, agri-business is intensively lobbying governments to reverse it.
The companies making genetically modified food are doing everything they can to stop consumers knowing what they are eating; which begs the question why? What are they hiding?
We can’t know what they are doing to our bodies
GMOs are a modern technology, so there is no way we can know what the long-term effects of eating them will be on our bodies. How will genetic mutations interact with our own genetic makeup? Will it make us more susceptible to disease? The answers to questions like these are unknown, so you would think it wise to err on the side of extreme caution.
But no; the same US bill that effectively outlawed GMO food labeling also handed the reviewing system for the safety of genetically modified food to the industry creating them, not a government agency or an independent body. It’s a bit like asking the tobacco industry to decide what constitutes safe smoking. Does anyone believe consumer safety is a top priority for these private companies intent on maximizing profits at all costs?
They mean more chemical use
Genetically modified plants need large amounts of chemicals, herbicides and pesticides. Some food companies even genetically modify their seed crops so that farmers HAVE to buy their brands of herbicides in order to protect the crop. These chemicals are toxins and contaminate the soil, and run off into groundwater and other water sources, and get into the food we eat. GMOs mean you are eating more toxins.
They contaminate other plants
Once GMOs are out there, there’s no getting them back. Seeds, plants and pollen from GMOs inevitably get transported away from the parent crop. That means that they cross-pollinate with wild plants, changing the genetic make-up of native species and so making them more prone to disease.
It also means that the GMOs contaminate other farms that are growing traditional or organic crops. Not only is this bad for consumers who don’t want to eat GMOs it also puts wild animals at risk as their sources of food become mutated. GMOs and their attendant pesticides are a major cause of the dramatic decline in bee numbers – the number one pollinator of our food.
They don’t work
Producers claim that genetically modified crops are necessary to increase yield to meet the food demands of the global population. But you know what? They don’t even do that. In 2008, a report authored by hundreds of scientists from across the globe and backed by more than 50 governments found that GM crop yield varied widely and in many cases actually declined in comparison to traditionally farmed crops. So GMOs wont do anything to prevent hunger or improve nutrition, and in fact they divert precious resources away from methods that could actually achieve those goals.
We need to say no to big agri-business, no to the suppression of the facts, no to being kept in the dark about what the food we eat contains, and no a practice that puts everything – the wilderness, our food and our health – at risk for the sake of the bottom line. If we don’t the future of food will get a whole lot scarier.