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GMOs Are Not Real Food

Learn all about GMOs in a four-part series.

[Editor's Note: This is Part I of a four-part blog series.]

Some of you may have heard some chatter recently about genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), but I am guessing most of you are asking yourselves right now, "what are GMOs?"  

When I first learned about GMOs a few years ago, my initial reaction was a mixture of fear and anger. You should expect a similar reaction, especially if this is the first you are really hearing of GMOs.  

It is my hope that this blog, and all my blogs for that matter, will help you make educated decisions about the food you eat. No matter what you decide in terms of eating GMOs or not eating GMOs, you should at least have all the necessary information.  So, please read on!

First of all, GMOs are NOT real food. GMOs are genetically modified organisms that are produced by taking the genes from one species (i.e. animals, plants, bacteria or viruses) and literally forcing those genes into the DNA of a food crop or an animal to introduce a new trait. Does that even sound like food to you?

Sounds more like science fiction to me. GMOs were created by biotech companies in order to make a lot of money. But, the last time I checked there were no biotech companies necessary when growing vegetables or raising an animal, right? That used to be the responsibility of farmers alone. So how did biotech companies get involved in our food?  

It's a really long story. You can read that story in the fantastic book "Seeds of Deception" by Jeffrey Smith. But essentially, GMOs are the result of what happened when biotech companies got greedy, the government neglected to regulate and protect Americans (I use the word neglected very loosely as this was a purposeful oversight), and the American people were taken advantage of. 

WHAT ARE GMOS?

There are currently five widespread GM Food Crops on the market: (1) Soy; (2) Corn; (3) Canola; (4) Cotton; and (5) Sugar Beets. GMOs have been engineered to be either herbicide resistant, pesticide producing, or both. Many dairy farms in the United states are also injecting the cows with a genetically engineered hormone called rbGH or rbST.    

HERBICIDE RESISTANT

Herbicide resistant crops are able to survive a high dose of herbicides which are used to kill weeds. You can imagine that when the crop is resistant to a particular herbicide, the farmers can spray extra herbicide to kill the surrounding weeds which means a much greater herbicide residue on the vegetable crop being grown specially for you. One particular herbicide resistant crop is the Round Up Ready Soybean. The company, Monsanto, engineered a Soybean that is resistant to Round Up and now currently sells the herbicide as a package with its Round Up ready soybean seed which accounts for at least 40 percent of the companies annual revenue.  

A small amount of Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, and squash have also been genetically modified to resist a plant virus. Previously there were GMO tomatoes and potatoes but they have been taken off the market.     

PESTICIDE PRODUCING

Pesticide producing crops include corn and cotton. A gene from BT (Bacillus thurgiensis), a bacteria found in soil, was inserted into the plant's DNA which then caused the crops to literally produce their own pesticide by secreting BT toxin.

Essentially, pesticide-producing crops have been engineered to release their own poison.     

GROWTH HORMONES - rbGH, rbST

Cows, like humans, produce their own hormones. Bovine somatotropin is a hormone produced by the cow's pituitary gland. Through technology, the hormone can now be created in labs and delivered to a dairy farm near you under the names rbGH, rbST, or artificial growth hormone. Let it be known that the United States is the only developed country where it is legal to use these artificial growth hormones in cows that are producing dairy for human consumption. Australia, Cananda, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand have all outlawed the use of artificial growth hormones. Does that concern any of you? If using artificial growth hormones is too dangerous for the citizens of all those countries, it's too dangerous for Americans as well.       

www.taracook-littman-realfoodforreallife.blogspot.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

chick45 April 19, 2012 at 11:30 AM
For those of you who don't believe that GMo's and pesticide are ok read this. http://www.panna.org/blog/mother-takes-monsanto-wins-global-prize
Siwanoy April 19, 2012 at 05:23 PM
ehhh... "The explosion of GE soy production in Argentina has brought with it dramatic increases in pesticide use, and specifically aerial spraying of Monsanto's weedkiller, RoundUp. Spraying of the antiquated insecticide endosulfan was also common until this year." the blog it self makes it seem more of a spraying round up issue then GMO's so I fail to see the connection.
Siwanoy April 19, 2012 at 05:25 PM
These special interest blogs are making patch less and less of a go to for news. I come here to get news about the community, not to read biased blog posts. Patch needs to decide if they are just a collection of blog postings with some news in there, or they are a news source.
Leslie Yager April 19, 2012 at 10:23 PM
really makes you think...what's safe and sustainable?
Gavin Curran April 22, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Siwanoy you realize that pesticide use is an inherent part of the GM-based agricultural system? As I explained above, plants are modified to be resistant to a particular pesticide, typically glyphosate (which is carcinogenic). The ecological effects of GM crops cannot be understood without the context of how they are grown.

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