Do You Know What Genes You Are Serving For Dinner Tonight?
Genetically Modified Foods And The Implications
Have you ever bitten into a kiwi fruit and wondered why it had a hint of banana flavour to it? Or maybe it had a strawberry flavour? Sometimes I think they have the smallest hint of blueberry. People have many ways of describing the flavour of a kiwi. The kiwi is just one example of nature’s mysteries. It was grown that way in nature for thousands of years, maybe even before recorded history. That is the way nature intended for the kiwi to taste – unique.
Now what if you were to take that same kiwi and made it grow twice or even three times faster? What do you think could make it do such a thing? We have all seen those big, juicy-looking, bright-red apples that shone so bright you could swear you saw your reflection. They look simply divine, don’t they? What about those tomatoes that are so large you only need one rather than three.
In some way most of our food today has been subjected to what is termed “Genetic Engineering”, or “Genetic Modification“, and is exactly what it sounds like .. genetic modification. Genetically modified organisms or GMO, has invaded our global food supply in astounding percentages, and we are not even aware of it. There has been little to no testing on humans in many instances, and labels do not tell you that the food you are about to consume has been genetically altered. In North America, suppliers are not required to label GM foods. While having the option, they have opted not to tell us if what we purchase has been altered or modified.
GMO’s are the direct result of DNA modification. That is to say that a specific food has been injected with the DNA of another food to produce a new or enhanced food. A good example of this is the so-called ‘sweet white corn‘. Looks appetising, and will tend to take longer to decay, but has been altered from its true form.
Lab testing began on GMO’s began long before we were even made aware, and the products on our shelves in local supermarkets a few years after the testing stage began. Sounds absurd that we are unaware of this ‘fake’, cancer-inducing phenomenon invading our supermarkets, doesn’t it? It may be absurd, but it is a fact – our governments have allowed these ‘products’ to find their way to our dinner tables without our knowledge.
Originally, the experiments were a part of a quest to feed the world’s hungry. A solution to an age-old dilemma. If we can make food bigger and grow it faster, we can solve hunger issues in deprived countries. That was the twisted thinking that started the ball rolling. But wait! Did thee geniuses consider that altering a specific food’s DNA may cause it to produce unwanted side effects? Nope, this wasn’t in the cards then.
There have been many reports that this type of manipulation has potential to cause specific types of cancer. This modification a can also lead to other worrisome health issues. For starters, these foods produce their own form of pesticides. While we struggle with bans on pesticide use for our private homes, the government allows these labs to feed it to us directly. One of the leading companies producing GMO’s is Monsanto.
Their claim is that through GM foods, they will help farmers produce enough food for the staggering increase in demand. Their plan is “To produce more with less, conserving resources like soil and water” and “to improve lives.” How do they plan to do this claiming, “We do this by selling seeds, traits developed through biotechnology, and crop protection chemicals.”
The socioeconomic ramifications of altering our food in this manner are astounding. Crop uniformity will reduce genetic diversity making them more vulnerable to disease and pests and further the need for pesticides, which the biotech firms are promoting. This furthers the need for pesticides, which biotech companies like Monsanto produce also. Efforts to introduce labeling of GMO’s has repeatedly met resistance from lobbyists and politicians affiliated with companies like Monsanto.
GE is an expensive technology, and farmers of developing countries will not easily afford. Food shortages and hunger will always be something that the poorer countries have to face, if food production is continued in this manner. With the way we are producing genetically altered foods, and the health and environmental damage it causes, this is not the way to go for a developing country that already struggles to feed their hungry. Some argue that there is more than enough food in the world and that the hunger crisis is caused by problems in food distribution and politics, not production.
Which brings me to another related topic – In Vitro Meats. IVM is meat produced from animal tissues, but has never become a living animal. Cultured in labs, this meat has never lived or breathed. It is partial in completion, and genetically engineered, ‘grown’ entirely in labs. This so-called meat is cultured much the same way as GMO’s, in the time frame is greatly reduced in completion. Most meat is animal muscle. The process of developing in vitro meat involves taking muscle cells and applying a protein that helps the cells to grow into large portions of meat. The price of in vitro meat at retail outlets and supermarkets may decrease prices to levels that middle-class consumers consider to be inexpensive, due to technological advancements. Milk, cheese and eggs could also be produced without needing multiple animals.
This may pose many health hazards because large scale production of in vitro meat requires artificial growth hormones and antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections. You may, as I do, find the thought of artificially cultured meat distasteful. Completely unconventional methods of obtaining foods is appalling to many, not to mention the exorbitant costs. Currently, a piece of IVM meat costs approximately $1,000,000 USD. A million dollars that could have been spent on feeding some of the world’s hungry.
A waste of time, energy and resources? We may never see this meat on our shelves in our lifetime, so how much time and money will be spent on researching this technique, instead of putting the money where the hungry mouths are? It really is maddening when you think about it; there are people dying all over the world from hunger, while these people are spending millions, if not billions, playing with test tubes. God gave us land and animals to feed ourselves, so why don’t we accept mother nature as it is and work with her to feed the world’s population?
The complexities of this situation with modifying our food supply is beyond the average person. We will be left in the dark about what we are eating as long as politicians and government itself are connected to and continue to support companies like Monsanto. Time and again, Monsanto and sister companies have battled opposition in court, and won.
Here is a video that will help explain what GMO is. .
So what are the consequences for altering our food supply in this manner? Here are a few of them:
- New toxins and allergens in foods
- Other damaging effects on health caused by unnatural foods (such as cancer and allergies)
- Increased use of chemicals on crops, resulting in increased contamination of our water supply and food
- The creation of herbicide-resistant weeds
- The spread of diseases across species barriers
- Loss of bio-diversity in crops
- The disturbance of ecological balance
- Artificially induced characteristics and inevitable side-effects will be passed on to all later generations and to other related organisms. Once released, they can never be recalled or contained. The consequences of this are incalculable.
Isn’t that enough? We need to leave nature alone and till the land as our ancestors did. It was good enough for them, so why can it not be good enough for us too?
Many thanks to Ant World for the riveting topic and discussions that lead to the general content of this Post.
As an addition to this post, I would like to add a link from The National Post. Take this into consideration …
McDonald’s burger, after one year, exposed to the open air.
In closing, I would like to add that this is information is based on articles I have read on the matter, and is my opinion.