The first GM food crop containing human genes will likely be approved for commercial production shortly. It is a strain of rice that produces some of the human proteins found in breast milk and saliva, which manufacturer Ventria Biosciences believes could be used to treat children with diarrhea.
Ventria has already been given preliminary approval to grow the rice on more than 3,000 acres in Kansas.
Until now, pharmaceutical plants with human-origin genes, which present possible health risks if they become mixed with regular food crops, have been restricted to small test plots.
Many are particularly worried about its use in light of the recent discovery of unapproved genetically engineered traits in the supposedly conventional rice Clearfield CL131. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has told farmers to avoid planting this common variety of rice.
The discovery is of particular concern because the CL131 seeds appear to have taken on the GM traits themselves, rather than having GM seeds from other strains accidentally mixed into the batch.Twenty-two suppliers were sent emergency action notices in an attempt to block planting and distribution of the seed. Planting generally begins in mid to late March, and some farmers may have to plow under just-planted fields. Clearfield CL131 accounts for more than 16 percent of the United States' long-grain rice.
A few months ago, I warned you about the deregulation of a long abandoned species of genetically modified (GM) rice by the USDA. The breaking news stories detailed above should make you even more wary than ever about the food you eat.
For one, the USDA isn't nearly as concerned as they should be about Ventria's transgenic rice. What's to stop stormy weather patterns or tornadoes from scattering these Frankenstein seeds made from human genes onto other farms or grassy areas where no one intended it to grow?
Not much, I'm afraid ...
And that means it could show up in your food supply, just like the Clearfield CL131 rice has apparently crossbred and picked up resistance to the herbicide glyphosate, better known as Roundup, made by Monsanto. If that has already happened, it's pretty much guaranteed that the medical drugs in Ventria's rice will end up in your food supply.
Marvelous. Now you will be getting drugs the next time you eat rice. And the only price you will have to pay is your health.
Please remember, the effects of genetic modification on the environment and on your health are unexplored territory. GM foods are a massive experiment on a scale never before seen in the history of the human race.
You are an involuntary guinea pig in this risky experiment. This isn't a question of whether or not GM plants will mix with non-GM crops, the question is when this will occur. The seeds will inevitably mix through wind-, bird- and insect-facilitated pollen transfer.
Also remember that more than 75 percent of the processed foods you eat contain GM foods, which is all the more reason for you to stay away from processed foods as often as you can, and seek out local sources for healthier whole foods.
On Vital Votes, reader Cathy from Auckland, New Zealand relays the following: