LEGISLATION / POLITICS

Slate’s GMO’s ; A Matter Of Choice?

I recently read an article by Mr William Saletan titled ” The Misleading war on GMO’s: The food is safe. The Rhetoric Is Dangerous”.

“The war against genetically modified organisms is full of fearmongering, errors, and fraud. Labeling them will not make you safer.”

For most of the article, Mr Saletan talks about GM papaya, Golden rice and offers us a brief insight in to the agri-business and its effects on the health of individuals, farmers or the Soil. He makes no mention of plant contamination or the fact that glyphosate has been declared a carcinogenic by the W.H.O. He frames his argument in a very one dimensional perspective,

Anti-GMO proponents are hypocrites , silly and just mad anti-science people.

A quick google search “slate and gmo” shows clearly that Slate has taken a firm stance on this topic and that’s fine but lets start from the best place to start.. The start and shed some light on significant inconvenient truths Mr Saletan left out of his article.

“In 1992 the Food and Drug Administration decided that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are the functional equivalent of conventional foods. They arrived at this decision without testing GMOs for allergenicity, toxicity, anti-biotic resistance and functional characteristics. As a result hundreds of millions of acres of GMO crops were planted in America without the knowledge or consent of the American people

At what point did it become okay for citizens to be turned to human experiments? Today with rising awareness, consumers are demanding products are labelled. In responding to this consumer demand, the likes of Chipolte and Wholefoods are labelled irresponsible? Surely that LABEL (pun intended) is much more suited for the government that put corporate interest before the health considerations of its citizenry.

Profit by any means necessary

The Negativity associated with GMO’s is bigger than genetics, It is a resistance to Agric and food processing businesses putting their bottom-line above the health of consumers. Consumers whose primary aim is to consume food for nourishment not to poison themselves. Substances being sold today as food ought to be re-classified, an example is Mc-donald products which just refuse to decompose even after 2 years.

The real fraud is Mr Selatans attempt to separate GMO’s from Agri-business and in so doing completely side steps the main issues that concern Anti-gmo activist and are at the heart of the conversation.

Monsanto, Sygenta, Dupont and others are first and foremost chemical companies. They happen to be the major proponents behind the emergence of GMO food and they also happen to be the manufacturers of Pesticides and Herbicides.

Monsanto for instance has a long history of making false claims as to the safety of their products. Examples include DDT, Agent Orange, the illegal dumping of PCBS in predominantly black neighborhoods and now glyphosate which has finally been classified as a carcinogen by the WHO. It has also been shown that Monsanto knew about the link to cancer years ago, as they did with DDT, PCBS and Agent Orange.

It is important to understand this links to chemicals because first and foremost these are chemical companies and their bottom line is to sell more chemicals regardless of the effect on the environment or human body they will keep selling said chemicals until the world regains its senses and bans them.

To further this goal, These companies have modified an array of products to withstand these toxic chemicals. These products make up the vast majority of foods in the american food supply chain.

In simple terms,

The Food you eat have been modified so that farmers can douse them with lethal amounts of chemicals which naturally the plant itself will not survive.

Here in lies the problem, because agriculture and food production is focused solely on profit, None of these companies step back to assess the damage they are doing to the environment and health of consumers, their sole focus is to maintain the status quo and make more money.

When weeds or pest become resistant, the same companies simply get the EPA to increase the acceptable concentration of chemicals to be sprayed. No one is allowed to question the effects of glyphosate and similar chemicals in the air and water in farming areas. Questioning it makes one anti-science or fear mongering.

Fortunately people question it;

Dr Andrés Carrasco from the University of Buenos Aires has, meanwhile, proved that birth defects among vertebrates can be caused by herbicide glyphosate. “In most cases, the fetus dies before birth because of its deformities,” Dr Carrasco said in an interview with DW. “The inhalation or the introduction of these agrotoxins kills the embryo.

“Dr Carrasco’s study is refuted by a lot of other scientists as well as by us,” says Luiz Beling, Monsanto’s President for the southern Latin American region.”We weren’t surprised by the results given the methodology used. Embryos are not the best way to test the effectiveness of the products and the impact on human health. The best way to do it is to use live animals.

When test were done on animals, A study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, found that rats fed a type of genetically engineered corn that is prevalent in the US food supply for two years developed massive mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and other serious health problems.

A two-year long French feeding study designed to evaluate the long-term health effects of a genetically engineered corn found that rats fed Monsanto’s maize developed massive breast tumors, kidney and liver damage, and other serious health problems. The major onslaught of diseases set in during the 13th month,Female rats that ate genetically engineered corn died 2-3 times more than controls, and more rapidly, while the male GE-fed rats had tumors that occurred up to a year-and-a-half earlier than rats not fed GE corn .According to results from a 10-year long feeding study on rats, mice, pigs and salmon, genetically engineered feed causes obesity, along with significant changes in the digestive system and major organs, including the liver, kidneys, pancreas, genitals and more. read more here

Mr Saletan makes no mention of all the studies done on the effect of GMO consumption on the gastro-intestinal tract of animals.

Neither does he talk about studies done on the effects of a GM diet on Rats, The study adds to the weight of scientific evidence from others studies which show that rats fed a diet of GMOs grow horrifying cancer tumors and suffer premature death. for more evidence click and click

Instead he wants us to take the word of the worlds leading poison manufacturers, When they say their product was safe. The way we took their word with DDT and Agent Orange.. Unfortunately to a man with a hammer all problems are nails, and to a chemical company that specializes in making products with the “cide” suffix, all problems are solved with poison.

So the question remains why were these studies not done before GMO’s were allowed in to the worlds food chain?

ANSWER -The corruption of the political and regulatory system by these same companies. Mr Selatan does not address the fact that former monsanto employees head the FDA which is supposed to regulate the activities of these companies.

Even worse –

“One thing that surprised us is that US regulators rely almost exclusively on information provided by the biotech crop developer, and those data are not published in journals or subjected to peer review… The picture that emerges from our study of US regulation of GM foods is a rubber-stamp ‘approval process’ designed to increase public confidence in, but not ensure the safety of, genetically engineered foods.” – David Schubert, professor and head, Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute, commenting on a comprehensive peer-reviewed study of US government’s regulation of GMOs.
Contrary to popular belief, the FDA does not have a mandatory GM food safety assessment process and has never approved a GM food as safe. It does not carry out or commission safety tests on GM foods. Instead, the FDA operates a voluntary programme for pre-market review of GM foods.

“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” – Philip Angell,
Monsanto’s director of corporate communications (the FDA is the US government’s Food and Drug Administration, responsible for food safety) “Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety.” – US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
“It is not foreseen that EFSA carry out such [safety] studies as the onus is on the [GM industry] applicant to demonstrate the safety of the GM product in question.” – European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
No….. Mr Selatan would rather throw around “No evidence, no evidence” without explaining why that is. All is sunny because he tells us so.

Dr Anthony Samsel a former contractor for the EPA  talks here about the effects of glyposate and round up consumption on human health

Lets now focus on what Mr Selatan actually said. How golden rice relates to Americans demanding their food is labeled is beyond me. Most Americans are not Vitamin A deficient. The short term thinking of golden rice is very reminiscent of NGO’s that give poor people mosquito nets then get upset when these people use the nets to fish and their intervention is an utter failure. Solutions like this are like putting a plaster on a gun shot wound and more than anything was an excuse to get in to the supply chain. Industrial agriculture as practiced today kills bio-diversity and thus makes huge amounts of plants susceptible to one disease. This fact does not deter Our bio-tech friends, they simply modify the plant further to make it more resistant.

Despite these facts, Large companies with huge payrolls would have people working day and night to discredit any and all who speak up against their products, As was done by the tobacco companies when they insisted cigarettes were safe (only to be shown later that is is heavily linked to cancer), as was done by DDT Producers and is currently done by Glyphosate and other herbicide producers.

BUT

The more interesting question is, when did America, the land of the free, the world crusaders of freedom and justice, lose the freedom to decide what kind of food they want to eat, and the right to know how their food was produced. As an African having to deal with these companies trying to force their way in to my country, It is mind boggling that the American people let this get this far. If Mr Saletan wants to eat GMO’s that’s great for him, he should not begrudge the many people who choose not to eat GMO’s. Its their choice, I mean this is AMERICA we are talking about, Right?

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