There is a conspiracy of selling out happening in America. Politics and personal interest it would seem determine government policies over and above health and safety issues. When President Obama appointed Michael Taylor in 2009 as senior adviser for the FDA, a fierce protest ensued from consumer groups and environmentalists. Why? Taylor used to be vice president for Monsanto, a multinational interested in marketing genetically modified (GM) food. It was during his term that GMO’s were approved in the US without undergoing tests to determine if they were safe for human consumption.
The danger of GMO’s
The question of whether or not genetically modified foods (GMO’s) are safe for human consumption is an ongoing debate that does not seem to see any resolution except in the arena of public opinion. Due to lack of labeling, Americans are still left at a loss as to whether or not what is on the table is genetically modified. This lack of information makes the avoiding and tracking of GM foods an exercise in futility. Below are just some of the food products popularly identified to be genetically modified:
1. Corn – Corn has been modified to create its own insecticide. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared that tons of genetically modified corn has been introduced for human consumption. Monsanto has revealed that half of the US’s sweet corn farms are planted with genetically modified seed. Mice fed with GM corn were discovered to have smaller offspring and fertility problems.
2. Soy – Soy has also been genetically modified to resist herbicides. Soy products include soy flour, tofu, soy beverages, soybean oil and other products that may include pastries, baked products and edible oil. Hamsters fed with GM soy were unable to have offspring and suffered a high mortality rate.
3. Cotton – Like corn and soy, cotton has been designed to resist pesticides. It is considered food because its oil can be consumed. Its introduction in Chinese agriculture has produced a chemical that kills cotton bollworm, reducing the incidences of pests not only in cotton crops but also in neighboring fields of soybeans and corn. Incidentally, thousands of Indian farmers suffered severe rashes upon exposure to BT cotton.
4. Papaya – The virus-resistant variety of papaya was commercially introduced in Hawaii in 1999. Transgenic papayas comprised three-fourths of the total Hawaiian papaya crop. Monsanto bestowed upon Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore technology for developing papaya resistant to the ringspot virus in India.
5. Rice – This staple food from South East Asia has now been genetically modified to contain a high amount of vitamin A. Allegedly, there are reports of rice varieties containing human genes to be grown in the US. The rice will create human proteins useful for dealing with infant diarrhea in the 3rd world. China Daily, an online journal, reported potential serious public health and environment problems with genetically modified rice considering its tendency to cause allergic reactions with the concurrent possibility of gene transfers.