Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Other countries worry about genetically modified food--but not US

Little is noted in the media about the dangers posted by genetically modified food. That's especially true in Missouri because of the presence of Monsanto, the company leading the way with bioengineering of plants, or biotechnology.

In other countries, though, people worry and fear about what GM food will do to the food chain. That's especially true in India. Here's an excerpt from The Pioneer:

Public concerns about BT Brinjal cannot be dismissed; the survival of the Indian farmer and people is at stake. The experience with BT Cotton is anyway disastrous. BT Cotton has failed in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, and is synonymous with farmer suicides there; nearly two lakh farmers committed suicide in the decade between 1997 and 2007, because of the sheer debts incurred raising the crop.

To begin with, the seed’s USP — resistance to pests — is untrue. BT-resistant pests, especially bollworm, and Roundup-tolerant super-weeds are growing worldwide, making GM seeds useless. Moreover, GM seeds cost many times more than traditional organic seeds and are lesser in quantity. The seeds from the standing crop are sterile and cannot be used for the next year’s crop as in traditional farming; this compels eternal farmer-dependence upon companies for seed, thus eternally perpetuating corporate profits! The ultimate aim is to bring all agriculture under bondage of a few Western firms.

Nor is there guarantee of harvest; the crop can fail for various reasons. GM crops need double or triple the quantity of water needed by traditional seeds, and can fail in the event of water shortage. The marketing companies claim that the crops do not need fertilizers, but the reality is different; hence the indebtedness that drives farmers to despair. Land once used for GM crops can only accept GM seeds thereafter and, after three or four harvests, the land becomes barren.

The GM experience is thus an aggravated form of the disaster now visiting Punjab, where the soil has been ravaged by Green Revolution-induced fertilizer and pesticide poison, which has leeched into the underground water and is causing an epidemic of cancers and other diseases, the true dimensions of which are being concealed by the Government. The false prosperity of two generations has wrought untold disaster; yet the Government is flirting with this poison seed.

The Monsanto seed contains a ‘suicide gene’ that can put the entire food chain in danger as it spreads to other native plants and inhibits their natural reproduction — crop genocide. Experts say that GM crops are unfit for human consumption as the toxic compounds they contain (which are supposed to destroy pests) are retained in the crop and would naturally affect the human body. In Andhra Pradesh some years ago, four animals died after eating BT Cotton stalks, but the issue was hushed up.

These biotechnologically engineered seeds also lead to "superweeds" and you can read more by clicking on the link to The Pioneer.

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