This article first appeared in Shannon's high school magazine, "The Beehive."
When the first genetically modified foods went on the market in 1996, they were heralded as a miracle that would save the world from hunger. But famines still plague the globe today and millions of children still suffer from malnourishment. Ironically we now face something far worse: the "miracle" of genetic engineering threatens life itself.
What exactly is genetic engineering? This science alters the machinery of a cell either by inserting a new gene into its nucleus or by deleting and replacing an unfavorable gene with a better one in hopes of obtaining a particular trait. This process often involves mixing genes from totally unrelated species that would never naturally breed, violating nature's boundaries.
Genetically modified products ("GM") have invaded the American diet. In fact, up to 70% of processed foods on supermarket shelves now contain GM ingredients. They're in ice-cream, salad dressing, taco shells, canola oil, and pizza. Most of us don't realize how difficult it is to avoid these products, even if we wanted to. In the United States, labeling GM ingredients is not even required.
Why is this so disconcerting? There are several reasons. GM products are fast monopolizing the agricultural-food market. Moreover, GM cotton, canola, soy and corn "super seeds" cannot re-germinate on their own, thus making farmers dependent on purchasing further seed. Although technology is available for re-germination, at present farmers must sign an agreement not to save GM seed, which makes them even more dependent on large biotech corporations. With set prices on GM seed, countless family farmers across the globe are being driven to financial ruin. The strangling of small farms leaves the world food supply in the control of a few powerful companies. Consequently, agricultural diversity is shrinking worldwide, endangering the future vitality of our food supply.
But monopolization is only part of the problem. Check out the lab test results. Rats raised on GM potatoes in England developed pre-cancerous cells in their intestines. Their brains, livers and reproductive organs were smaller, plus their immune and hormonal systems were dysfunctional. In another study, 55% of offspring from GM soy fed rats in a Russian lab test died, versus the 9% death rate in normal rats. The GM offspring were smaller, more aggressive, and sterile.
No one knows exactly what effects this new science will have on humans, but a large surge in allergies, neurological defects, sterility and low birth weights in recent years have been directly linked to the consumption of these foods. In short, we humans are being used as guinea pigs in a reckless and potentially lethal experiment.
We are treading on dangerous ground and inadvertently signing our own death warrants. Since when are we smarter than God? Since when do we have the right to disregard the governing laws of nature he created for the earth?
We will reap the damage of our own arrogance. Genetic engineering will never save the world. It will destroy life, but only if we let it.
Through our choices we as consumers have power to dictate what the food manufacturers offer. If the public rejects them, GM foods will become obsolete. According to Jeffrey Smith, one of the leading activists against genetic engineering, "If even a tiny percentage of U.S. consumers—say 5% or 15 million people—started avoiding GMO brands, the millions in lost sales revenue would likely force brands to remove all GM ingredients, like they already have in Europe."
We don't have to be helpless victims. If enough of us refuse to buy GM products, we can reverse this destructive trend and restore the planet as God created it.
50 Harmful Effects of Genetically Modified (GM) Foods," Nathan Batalion, www.raw-wisdom.com/50harmful.
Genetically Modified Foods," Dr. Steve Windely, MD., arch.ttu.edu/w/images/d/d8/Genetically_Modified_Foods.pdf
Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Steritily, Infant Mortality in Hamsters", Jeffrey Smith, www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/genetically-modified-soy_b_544575.html
For Further Reading:
The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, by Jeffrey M. Smith