But overuse of this approach to weed control is becoming a problem. Use of Roundup has increased to the point that weeds are also becoming resistant to the chemical.
That means that farmers have to start using additional herbicides, some of them even more toxic than Roundup.
More than 80 percent of the corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States are genetically engineered.
The National Research Council report, which is being described as “the first comprehensive assessment of how genetically modified (GM) crops are affecting all U.S. farmers,” paints a dangerously rosy picture about genetically engineered crops.
While touting benefits like lower production costs, higher yields and declines in insecticide use, the report does not give justice to the seriousness of one glaring, and potentially devastating, finding: Superweeds.
GM Crops Create Superweeds and Super-Pests!
Since 1996, when GM crops were first introduced, at least nine species of U.S. weeds have developed resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp herbicide.
In case you’re not familiar with Roundup, Roundup Ready soybean, cotton and corn crops are the world’s largest group of genetically modified crops. This particular variety of GM crops became so popular because it allows farmers to spray Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide directly onto their fields without harming the crops. Ordinarily, if you were to spray Roundup, or any other glyphosate-based herbicide, onto a plant, it would die.
As you might imagine, the use of Roundup herbicide has increased dramatically since the GM Roundup Ready crops were introduced, and now the repeated exposures have given Mother Nature all she needs to stage her comeback.
Weeds have evolved so that they’re resistant to Roundup, and as a result, farmers are applying even more herbicides to crops. This is, in fact, the National Research Council’s advice to farmers who are facing issues with superweeds:
“In particular, farmers who grow GE herbicide-resistant crops should not rely exclusively on glyphosate and need to incorporate a range of weed management practices, including using other herbicide mixes.”
In other words, if applying loads of Roundup no longer works, simply start dousing your crops with other chemical mixtures and one of them is bound to work! Problem solved!
Of course, it is not nearly that simple.
80-90 Percent of Some U.S. Crops are Genetically Modified
One day, perhaps, when the health and environmental risks of GM foods have been widely accepted, more people will look back on this statistic and shake their heads.
For now, however, while several European countries have banned GM corn and other GM crops, the United States has allowed the technology to overwhelm much of commercial farming.
As of right now, about 85 percent of the corn grown in the United States is genetically engineered to either produce an insecticide, or to survive the application of herbicide. And about 91-93 percent of all soybeans are genetically engineered to survive massive doses of Roundup herbicide.
Also, according to the Institute for Responsible Technology, about 76 percent of cotton, 75 percent of canola and more than 50 percent of Hawaiian papaya grown in the United States are genetically modified as well.
The Institute for Responsible Technology has also compiled these other sources of GM foods to watch out for, including:
- Zucchini and yellow squash (small amount)
- Dairy products from cows injected with rbGH
- Food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®) and rennet used to make hard cheeses
- Meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed
- Honey and bee pollen that may have GM sources of pollen.
- Tobacco (Quest® brand)
Now, more than a decade after these crops have been monopolizing the market, the first report is released on how they might impact farmers. Most rational individuals would question why this type of report wasn’t done first.
You and your family are already eating these foods, and the country has, in many ways, already taken steps that cannot be undone. Herbicide-resistant weeds are already popping up all over the United States, and only time will tell how widespread and difficult to control they will ultimately become.
GM Crops are Not Beneficial
Regardless of the favorable slant the National Research Council took in their report, it’s time for people to realize that while the declared motive behind GM food is an altruistic one -- to alleviate hunger, poverty and malnutrition worldwide -- in reality, the ruthless propagation of GM crops are intended to create previously unimaginable profits above anything else.
Despite their assurances, we’re already beginning to see the real price of all that tinkering with Mother Nature: unnatural crop combinations that can harm your health and potentially cause generational DNA changes, for example.
Not only that, but contrary to promises, GM crops are FAILING MISERABLY all across the world. The reality simply isn’t living up to the hype of increased yields of healthy crops.
After 30 years of GMO experimentation, we have the data to show:
- No increase in yields: on the contrary GM soya has decreased yields by up to 20 percent compared with non-GM soya. Up to 100 percent failures of Bt cotton have been recorded in India. And recent studies by scientists from the USDA and the University of Georgia found that growing GM cotton in the U.S. can result in a drop in income by up to 40 percent.
- No reduction in pesticides use: on the contrary, USDA data shows that GM crops has increased pesticide use by 50 million pounds from 1996 to 2003 in the U.S., and the use of glyphosate went up more than 15-fold between 1994 and 2005, along with increases in other herbicides to cope with rising glyphosate-resistant superweeds.
- Roundup herbicide is lethal to frogs and toxic to human placental and embryonic cells. Roundup is used in more than 80 percent of all GM crops planted in the world.
- GM crops harm wildlife, as revealed by UK and U.S. studies.
- Bt-resistant pests and Roundup-tolerant superweeds render the two major GM crop traits useless. The evolution of Bt resistant bollworms worldwide have now been confirmed and documented.
- Vast areas of forests, pampas and cerrados have been lost to GM soya in Latin America.
- Epidemic of suicides in the cotton belt of India. 100,000 farmers between 1993-2003, and an estimated 16,000 farmers a year since, have committed suicide since Bt cotton was introduced.
- Transgene contamination is completely unavoidable, as science has recently revealed that the genome (whether plant, animal or human) is NOT constant and static, which is the scientific base for genetic engineering of plants and animals.
Instead, geneticists have discovered that the genome is remarkably dynamic and changeable, and constantly ‘conversing’ and adapting to the environment. This interaction determines which genes are turned on, when, where, by what and how much, and for how long.
They’ve also found that the genetic material itself has the ability to be changed according to experience, passing it on to subsequent generations.
- GM food and feed linked to deaths and sicknesses both in the fields in India and in lab tests around the world. For example, in April 2006, more than 70 Indian shepherds reported that 25 percent of their herds died within 5-7 days of continuous grazing on Bt cotton plants.
Given the myriad of data showing disastrous consequences for the environment and human health, I am not exaggerating when I say that genetically modified foods are, from my perception, one of the most significant threats that we have against the very sustainability of the human race.
You’re a GM Guinea Pig
That’s right. We all are, unfortunately.
How did this happen?
Michael Taylor, a former vice president of public policy and chief lobbyist at Monsanto Company(who is now the senior advisor for the FDA) is the person who “oversaw the creation of GMO policy,” according to Jeffrey Smith, the leading spokesperson on the dangers of GM foods. Smith continues:
“If GMOs are indeed responsible for massive sickness and death, then the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated their introduction holds a uniquely infamous role in human history. That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto's attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto's vice president and chief lobbyist.”
The FDA policy being referred to is the 1992 GMO policy, which stated:
"The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods [genetic engineering] differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way."
In fact, the overwhelming consensus among the FDA’s own scientists were that genetically modified foods were inherently dangerous and could create allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems, and of course they should be labeled because they are a food additive and new food additives must be labeled.
However, Smith explains, the FDA was directed by the White House to promote the biotechnology industry, and they knew that if they labeled GM foods, most Americans would avoid it like the plague. So, true to form, they supported the economic interests of the biotech companies at the cost of long-term human and environmental health.
You Can Still Avoid GM Food
The only silver lining to all of this is that you still have a choice in whether or not to consume GM foods. No, GM-containing foods are not labeled. And, yes, it takes some diligence on your part to determine whether the food you are eating is GM-free, but if enough people stop taking part in this massive GM experiment, food manufacturers will listen and stop buying GM ingredients.
For a helpful, straightforward guide to shopping Non-GMO, please see the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology.
In addition, the natural food industry has decided to turn October of this year into “Non-GMO Month,” and October 10th (10/10/10) will be “Non-GMO Day.” Please let your friends and family know about this important event, but don’t wait until then to get started. You can make every day a No-GMO Day, and I suggest, for the sake of your health and the environment’s, that you do.
Please Remember You CAN Make a Difference!
GMO foods have not been in Europe since 1999 because of public opposition. We have already been successful in causing industry to cut down their use of HFCS and our campaign last year against the swine flu vaccine worked to radically reduce the number of people immunized.
So PLEASE download this Non-GMO Shopping Guide and boycott GMO foods. Vote with your wallet and you will not only keep yourself and your family safe but your action will catalyze the necessary change to eliminate these dangerous crops from our food supply.