Are GMO Safe?

April 14, 2015 1

The subject of GMO (genetically modified organisms) has become controversial in recent years. Public awareness was slow when Flavr Savr tomatoes, the first to be approved by the FDA, arrived on supermarket shelves back in 1994. The debate has intensified over the years as more people have become informed on the realities of genetically engineering food. There are many aspects to this argument and many different participants including politicians, corporate executives, nutritionists and scientists - even Bill Nye has joined in! Few people know of the early history of this contentious issue. The door opened for this technology when the Supreme Court voted in favor of granting General Electic the "right" to patent a living organism. This organism was genetically altered with an appetite for oil with the idea of using it for cleaning oil spills. Who knew it would eventually revolutionize the agriculture industry in such a controversial way? A highly contestable aspect is the devestating effect of the large amounts of pesticides involved in GMO farming. While studies done worldwide have shown it to be detrimental to the health of people, animals and the environment, multinational bioengineering firms like Monsanto have lobbied to keep it legal. Since the 1990s activists have attempted to raise awareness of the danger of continual use of toxic chemicals introduced into the environment. From the days of DDT and Agent Orange to today's use of Monsanto's Roundup, toxins have degraded the nutritional content of our soil and poisoned our water. Another concern is the creation of new organisms that have crept into the ecosystem and are wreaking havoc on plant life and livestock alike. One type, "superweeds", are destroying fields as they allow nothing but Roundup-ready crops to survive. The effect on animals has been as extreme as to cause sterility. The contention regarding the application of these chemicals has escalated along with the increase in their use. This is most likely due to connections made to debilitating illnesses like cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and reproductive disorders as well as birth defects and developmental disabilities in children. While Monsanto has been aggressive in their apparent attempt to control the agriculture industry, they are not the only players involved. Dow Chemical has marketed pesticides with their own deadly chemical compounds known as neonicotinoids. These are essentially highly concentrated neurotoxins which have had a devastating effect on bees, butterflies and birds. Residue of neonicotinoids have been detected in the nector of plants consumed by these pollinators and are causing problems ranging from abberant behavior to death. This affects the balance of nature with consequences for the entire food chain. This deadly substance has been banned in Europe and, while still widely used in the U.S., is in the process of being banned from use in wildlife preserves. This is a small but encouraging step in the right direction. With aid from organizations like Organic Consumers Association, Green America and GMO Inside, efforts of conscious consumers can make a difference in reaching a point in this debate which will force companies to remove products from their shelves which contribute to the poisoning of our environment, and ourselves as well. The Squeexe is available to help people looking to avoid GMOs as all of our products are GMO-free - not to mention delicious, too.

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