Do Monsanto’s CEOs Eat Genetically Modified Food?

24 Oct

Growing up, my father would tell me stories about how genetic modification was the way of the future. Not just for plants or animals, but for all humanity as we extended our home across the Universe. I understood and agreed with him. If we were to inhabit an alien world, modifying our genetic structure seemed logical and magical.

This may be why my father seemed dumbfounded when two weeks ago, I told him I was against our family eating any GMOs whatsoever. Let me explain…

It’s not that GMO food is bad, it’s why we are genetically modifying our food that counts.

To this day, the main reason we genetically engineer food is to provide that food with resistance to what would otherwise be a deadly dose of chemical poison, usually Glyphosphate (Better known as Roundup), a highly toxic herbicide which has been found to kill human cells. This resistance is achieved by mixing the DNA of certain bacteria with that of the target crop, allowing whole fields to be sprayed but only the weeds die off.

Special “terminator” strains of corn and soy have also been genetically modified to be sterile and die after one growing season, ensuring farmers falling under the tentacles of Monsanto continue to purchase seeds exclusively from them, year after year. About half of Monsanto’s over $10 billion annual revenue now comes from the sale of Roundup Ready products and GMO seeds.

If the GMO strains being used can withstand a higher dose of this chemical, does it mean farmers are using less of it? No. Approximately 100 million pounds of this poison are now used on American farms and lawns every year http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate. This number is sure to climb as recent studies show Roundup resistant superweeds are now a threat.

The fruits and vegetables that are sprayed with Roundup readily absorb it. These fruits and vegetables are then sent to supermarkets directly or refined into thousands of other products, until you and I ultimately purchase them, eat them, and feed them to our children. Remember, scientists have shown that this chemical kills human cells… Feel comfortable washing your food in the sink anymore?

With Proposition 37 in California underway, it has been interesting (and scary) to witness the grand lobby at its worst. Monsanto, Coca-Cola, Dupont, Bayer, Kelloggs, Campbells, Dole, Hersheys, Heinz, McCain, Nestle: the list goes on and on of companies opposing the right to know what is in the food we eat. As many of these opponents are well-educated it must be painstaking for some of them to stand against something as morally righteous as letting consumers know the source of their food. Some pundits have even gone so far as to claim there is no difference between Organic and “regular” food however while nutritional values may be the same, buying organic ensures you are not on the receiving end of a dose of Roundup herbicide (or antibiotics in the case of organic meat and eggs).

In Europe, Genetically Modified Food is labelled as such. The labels are not spectacular, they simply write that the source of a particular ingredient is genetically modified. That’s it. For example, whereas an American label would say “Vegetable Oil”, in Europe the same label would say “Vegetable Oil (Contains genetically modified Soybean Oil)”. Are you being led to believe that this is difficult to enact?

With the vote to take place November 6th, 2012, the opportunity to take our food back is now. My thoughts are with the people of California. I hope you can find the strength to do what is right, and demand proper food labeling for all.

To me, genetic modification is still the way of the future, but for now, we are a caveman playing with new-found fire in a very dry forest.

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