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The Global Blight of Genetically Modified Crops

January 24, 2006 | 12,682 views

Ever since genetically modified crops were first planted, their acreage has been growing each year at double-digit rates.

It happened again last year, with acres planted increasing 11 percent, to 222 million acres. Small farmers in countries such as China, India, and Brazil are making more use of GMO plants that allow them to grow more crops while reducing pesticide use.

Rice is Next

Rice could be the next important food crop to go GMO; Iran is already using gene-altered rice and China is poised to do so next. Rice comprises nearly half the total calories eaten by the human race.

Widespread Use

Nearly a third of the agricultural land in the United States is planted in gene-altered crops. In Argentina and Paraguay, more than half of the fields are sown with GMO plants. In China, perhaps 2,000 scientists are developing a wide variety of modified crops.

Europe, where advocacy groups have long pointed out the environmental risks of GMO crops, has been slower to adopt them. However, five European countries are now growing some biotech crops, and Spain uses them widely.

 

 

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

 

Even if the U.S. Department of Agriculture starts taking action on the spread of genetically modified crops in the United States, that won't stop their proliferation in other nations.

America currently leads the world in GM crop acreage with 123 million, but it's followed by Argentina (42 million) and Brazil (23 million). Soybeans topped the list of GM crops worldwide at 60 percent, followed by maize (24 percent) and cotton (11 percent).

Although the above report claims the thrust of GM crop growth is an altruistic one -- to alleviate hunger, poverty and malnutrition worldwide --  it is nothing more than a marketing spin. All that tinkering with nature comes at a heavy price: The creation of Frankenstein-like crop combinations that can harm your health.

Chances are very good you've eaten GM foods: At least seven out of 10 items at your neighborhood grocery store contain them. That said, there are some steps you can take that will help you steer clear of them:

  • Reduce or Eliminate Processed Foods. Some 75 percent of processed foods contain GM ingredients. There are many reasons why processed foods are not optimal for your health -- for instance they often contain trans fat, acrylamide and little nutritional value -- so avoiding them will not only help you to cut back on the amount of GM foods you are consuming, but will also boost your health.
  • Read Produce and Food Labels. GM soybeans and corn make up the largest portion of genetically modified crops. When looking at a product label, if any ingredients such as corn flour and meal, dextrin, starch, soy sauce, margarine, and tofu (to name a few) are listed, there's a good chance it has come from GM corn or soy, unless it's listed as organic.
  • Buy Organic Produce. Buying organic is currently the best way to ensure that your food has not been genetically modified. By definition, food that is certified organic must be free from all GM organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs.
  • Look at Produce Stickers. Those little stickers on fruit and vegetables contain different PLU codes depending on whether the fruit was conventionally grown, organically grown or genetically modified. The PLU code for conventionally grown fruit consists of four numbers, organically grown fruit has five numbers prefaced by the number nine, and GM fruit has five numbers prefaced by the number eight.

 

 

 


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