Most Americans, roughly 90% of us, believe that genetically modified foods, or GMO’s, should be labeled as such. Yet if you asked that same 90% to name a GMO food, could they? Would they, and are you, surprised to learn that about 80% of the processed food we eat contain GMO’s, and a significant portion of our farm crops are grown with GMO patented seed? I know I was.
I’ve probably read over a dozen articles, pro and con GMO’s, trying to get a handle on this issue. It’s not as simple as I thought. As with most vigorous debates, the rhetoric can be emotionally charged. Reading about ‘Agent Orange Corn’ , ‘Frankenfoods’, ‘Monsanto Sues Nature’ (great cartoons!), and ‘Enviropig‘ shows just how complex the debate is. The thing that bothered me the most, however, is not the fact that researchers are working to find ways to feed a hungrier planet in the throes of a changing climate. I get that. It’s just how much huge corporations are creating a strangle-hold on the world’s food supply.
Here’s an unbelievable example of how small farmers are losing out to big agri-business. Farmer A is growing organic, non GMO corn. Farmer B down the road is using Monsanto’s GMO corn in his field. Bird A, Insect A and Breeze A inadvertantly pick up some pollen from Farmer B’s corn and deposit it on Farmer A’s corn, (called cross-pollination), corrupting the ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ corn Farmer A’s customers are waiting to buy. That’s not good you say. Well, it just gets better. Monsanto has actually sued HUNDREDS of farmers for patent infringement, because they’re now growing Monsanto patented corn! Unable to afford the legal defense, many farmers have had no choice but to sell to big ag, and Monsanto’s profits have soared.
We can read the emotional pleas about saving the family farm and bemoan the ever increasing price of food. Our farm policies were built with farmers in mind, but until Congress figures out how to protect the rights of individual farmers with substantial changes to our farm policies, big business and BIG MONEY will continue to take over our food supply. Now that’s what I call Frankenfood!
Stay green and healthy!
Photo by Muffet