Did You Know That You Have Been Eating Genetically Modified Food, Since 1996?

What is Genetically Modified Organism’s (GMO), anyhow? It sounds like some sci-fi movie….or invader of the body snatchers.

Here’s the technical definition for GMO’s. Genetic Engineering involves the laboratory process of artificially inserting genes from one species into the DNA of food, other crops, or animals. GMO’s can be engineered with genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. The purpose of a GM crop is to create a crop that has desired traits, and characteristics that are cheaper, and more convenient for the farmer.

Now doesn’t that sound like some weird 60’s sci-fi or maybe an episode of the Twilight Zone? Well the story begins with one of Forbes top multi-billion dollar businesses; Monsanto. Monsanto was founded in 1901. The Monsanto Company originally began its journey as a food additive, and chemical compound business. Now in 2011, Monsanto is the front leader for this elite, but controversial technology. Many people are starting to question the ethical side of by-passing mother nature, by creating seeds in a laboratory setting that will produce the perfect traits, and characteristics that will allow farmers too, with out much effort, mass produce their crops. Can we really blame the farmers for wanting to increase their income? Don’t we all want success in our own lives? But the real question is, at what cost?

By the 1980’s Monsanto created a seed that would withstand insects, deep weeds, and mother earth’s elements. Monsanto guaranteed farmers that the GM seeds would be more reliable and profitable for them.

Monsanto and their crew have been hard at work, trying to come up with new and truly out of this world technology.

Roy Fuchs, a Monsanto biochemist is on his way to developing a new genetically engineered soy bean that will be high in omega-3 fatty acids. A test study was already done on 157 volunteers who all ingested a soybean that contained 2 new genes, and a tasteless oil that is supposed to chemically convert inside the body into the form of omega-3 fatty acid, thought to be good for the heart, just as wild salmon is heart protective, and high in those same essential fatty acids that we need to lower total cholesterol and raise HDL.

“Wouldn’t that be a great and wonderful product to have for sale?” “Stops Heart Disease, and protects the environment, too.” “People could get their nutritional supplements without depleting fish stocks”, states Roy Fuchs.

The most common GM crops around the world:

Corn, Soybean, Cotton, Vegetables, Sugar Cane, and Wheat.

The problem that these farmers are facing once they invest in Monsanto’s GM seeds is; cross-pollination with other non-GM crops, and resistant weeds- which lead to the use of more powerful herbicides. By now I’m sure most everyone has heard of antibiotic resistance because of excessive hormone use in factory farming. Stronger antibiotics are needed because our bodies, and the pathogens in them are building up a resistance because of the over abuse of antibiotics. Similarly farmers are now finding out that weeds are becoming more resistant to the herbicides that are normally used on GM crops. Now more and more farmers have to saturate their crops more than ever, and some farmers have to bring back more potent herbicides that were once banned, and also invent new stronger herbicides. Is anyone concerned about this? I am. This is the same food that is put on our plates ever night, and fed to our families.

Farmers story….

Percy Schmeiser has been a Canadian canola farmer for the past 53 year, and is now being sued by Monsanto, because of the accidental cross-contamination of Monsanto’s GE roundup ready canola genes that drifted onto Percy’s property, and contaminated his crops.
It doesn’t matter that mother natures- natural existence caused this to happen. This is all about survival of the fittest. What chance does a small family owned farm have against a multi-billion dollar corporation? These small farms are being weeded out slowly, no pun intended, forced to go bankrupted, and slowly shut down. What ever happened to the land of the free, and the country of opportunity? It seems that depending on what business someone may choose, someone else might have another agenda for them.

“My case went to court after 2 ½ years, and Monsanto dragged me through those courts” “In pretrial, they did everything to break me. They basically took our retirement funds, because my lawyer’s fees alone, up to date, have been around 200,000”.

In the end, the judge threw the book at Percy. The judge decided that it doesn’t matter if it was because of cross-contamination or not. The fact that Monsanto’s patented genes got into the wrong field- was enough.
Percy is now 70 years old, and travels around the world speaking to people about his experience.

Another farmers story…

Rodney Nelson is another farmer that is being sued by Monsanto for alleged patent infringement.

Rodney stated, “My family has been enduring a living hell since this began”. “I am sure this is what led to my father’s recent heart attack a week back”.

Rodney Nelson wrote a letter to the attorney general, John Ashcroft, and begged him for help with this problem that farmers are facing. His response was that, it is not their policy to get involved in private litigation matters. Later Nelson learned that Judge Ashcroft received the largest campaign contribution from Monsanto, in 2000, more than any other political candidate. Rodney Nelson states that, “It felt like a cold slap in the face.
“It makes a person wonder if all of our governments for sale to the highest bidder.”

What is roundup ready anyhow?

Monsanto released roundup ready in 1996. Roundup ready crops are genetically modified seeds that contain glyphosate (an herbicide) inside the actual gene (seed), which is also the active ingredient in Monsanto’s roundup herbicide. Monsanto’s patented roundup ready cops allow farmers to saturate their crops and crop land with herbicides. This saturation of the roundup ready herbicide is so toxic, it would normally kill regular crops that are not genetically modified with glyphosate, but because the seeds are manmade, and manipulated they are grown with herbicide in them. How scary is that? Mutant plants, I’m sure at some point there was a movie about that also.

Monsanto’s Future…

On July 14th, 2009 Monsanto announced that they were entering the wheat business with WestBred, a Montana based company, for 45 million; paid for in cash. Wheat is the second largest crop grown in the world, fallowing rice. Monsanto’s goal is to use genetic engineering to create drought tolerant wheat crops.

Roundup ready alfalfa is already in the works. On January 15th, 2010, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Monsanto’s roundup ready case for alfalfa.

Environmental and Health Concerns of GMO’s
Effects of growing GM on the environment:

Weeds are becoming more, and more resistant to herbicides. These mutant weeds are creating a need for new, and stronger herbicides, and a need to bring back old, and highly toxic herbicides that were once deemed banned, because of their toxic effect on human health. We can’t forget that these crops that are getting saturated with potent herbicides are the foods that we are ingesting, and serving to the rest of our family.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that glyphosate is rated a class I (severe), for eye irritation. Other studies also question that glyphosate may be an endocrine disruptor.

Smith who has done extensive research in his book The Seeds of Deception, list the environmental and health concerns that GM crops have been proving:

•USDA showed that GM crops increased pesticide use by 50 million pounds from 1996 to 2003 in the United States.

•Roundup herbicide is lethal to frogs and toxic to human placental and embryonic cells. It is used on more than 80% of all GM crops planted in the world.

•Waste from GM corn impairs the growth of aquatic insects.

•Farmers in India, who let their sheep graze on BT cotton plants after the harvest, saw thousands of sheep die.

•Animal studies have shown that DNA in food can travel into organs throughout the body, even into the fetus.

•Rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, low birth weights, and an inability to reproduce.

•Male mice fed GM soy have altered DNA functioning.

•Several US farmers have reported sterility or fertility problems among pigs, and cows fed on GM corn varieties.

•Soy allergies have sky rocketed after the introduction of GM soy.

•Not only are there environmental and heath issues concerning Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds, but also small independent family owned farms are being slowly weeded out, and becoming extinct.

•The wheat industry has dropped from 70 million acres to 59.7million acres in 1994.

•Increasing droughts, and high cost of fertilizers, has put a strain on small farmers, and has caused them to feel trapped into investing in GM seeds.

Don J. Cameron is a farmer in California who grows both organic and conventional cotton. The organic field cost 500$/acre, and he has to weed the fields by hand, versus only 30$ an acres for his GM field.

What foods are genetically modified?

Soy (91%), Cotton (88%). Canola (88%), Corn (85%), Hawaiian Papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (small amount), and tobacco (Quest brand). About 90% 0f the sugar beets grown for sugar are GM.

3 Simple tips to avoiding GMO’s

1. Buy organic. Organic producers are not allowed to use GM seeds.
2. Look for “Non GMO” labels.
3. Avoid at risk ingredients: corn, soybeans, canola, and cottonseed

My thoughts…

I also wanted to add that just last week Whole Foods, and a couple other corporate organic company’s gave into Monsanto’s forced labeling laws. After a very long time of fighting for labeling to be placed on produce, meats, and packaged foods that contain any GMO ingredients, these company’s finally gave into the corporate giant.

It makes me wonder, what’s next? How far will this go? When will people start demanding that our food Not be tampered with? It’s one thing to consciously buy a bag of potato chips, or a box of chemically filled, fake cheddar crackers, but to know that you can’t even walk into your produce isle, and purchase a head of broccoli without having to second guess yourself….Is this man made too?


Langreth, Robert, and Matthews Herber. “The Planet Versus Monsanto.” Forbes. 31Dec2009.www.forbes.com.
Smith, Jeffery. “Genetically Modified Foods.” Institute for Responsible Technology. 2006. Web 11 Feb 2010. www.responsibletechnology.org

Author's Bio: 

I graduated with a B.S. in Nutrition & Food Science. I have passion for nutrition education. I am currently writing a web based News Letter for a local Chicago health clinic, and also am independent contractor for ezarticles; educating people on various health topics.

Right now I'm working toward my goal of having my own nutrition consulting business, being a valuable staple in my community, and bringing cutting edge information to those who want to take their health to the next level.

I've ran the Chicago Marathon 3 times, and look forward to many more.

I am very passionate about disease prevention, and helping others to..."Live Their Best Health Ever!"