Genetically Modified Food and Monsanto's Corruption

Recently there has been a great deal of discussion about the safety of Genetically Modified (GM) foods. Supporters highlight the pest reducing effect, and added nutrition, as proof that genetically altered food is safe. the risk of allergic reactions, Antibiotic resistance, transfer of genes; creating uncontrollable plant growth, and even the security of the bees are concerns of Naysayers. One could go either way on this debate until the addition of one ingredient: Monsanto. When a super corporation, caught lying in the past, takes control of our food it is time to become concerned. Even if there were no prior concerns, which there are, putting the safety of the food in Monsanto’s hands, is a mistake.

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Food and the Body

It is important to recognize the effect that food has on our bodies. There is a saying: you are what you eat. This silly saying has a ring of truth! Many health ailments can be managed through diet. Some examples of these are diabetes, Lupus, Celiacs disease, and arthritis. It is common knowledge that certain foods produce vitamins, minerals, and even antioxidants. These foods are imperative in the daily healthy functioning of the cells, in our bodies.

Other foods are bad for people’s bodies and can deteriorate their health rather quickly. There was a documentary called Super Size Me that aired on the Internet (2013). This video tracked a person with optimal health, for 30 days. During these 30 days, this person only ate at McDonald’s. His health quickly deteriorated, and his doctors begged him to stop this diet. In addition,There are people who have life threatening allergies to everyday foods. They could perish if exposed,in any way, to these foods. My daughter is a vegetarian, so she eats an abundance of peanut butter. She just sticks a spoon down in the jar, and eats it right off the spoon. My neighbor’s son has a peanut allergy. I cannot even let him sit down at my house, without sanitizing a chair for him first. His throat would close up, and he would need an Epinephrine -Pen right away, if peanut residue even touches his skin.

Should it be required for Genetically Modified foods to be labeled?

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Ins and Outs of Genetically Modified Organisms

There have been concerns about growing genetically modified foods for over 10 years now. According to Alexander Halsberger, as early as 2001, “The problem of GMO contamination of conventional seeds and European traceability and labeling requirements, as foreseen in amended regulations for GMOs, have caused serious trade concerns in the United States" (Halsberger, 2001, p. 1). Moreover, Halsberger also mentions that seed contamination could very well cause allergic reactions, in some individuals. Because of the unintentional spread of seeds, it is possible for the seeds to change the genetics of other seeds, and cause unwanted effects (Halsberger, 2001).

An example of an unwanted effect would be; unintentional creation of super weeds, antibiotic resistance, or super-organisms, which could kill off whole species of both plant and animal life. Because of the ingredients inside these genetically modified seeds, and because of how hard it is to control them, these effects could occur. A sudden gust of wind, and seeds from one crop, end up in another. This mixture of DNA is a concern, and can cause some of the above mentioned reactions.

On the other hand, according to Pamela Ronald (2013), the Genetically Modified seeds in the market right now are safe. Additionally, Scientists have taken huge measures to add extra vitamins to certain foods, common in impoverished areas. This is potentially a wonderful thing. When people who cannot usually afford to spend money on nutritious food, get vitamins in there inexpensive food, everybody wins-right? As a matter of fact, thus far, scientists have conducted ongoing research on Genetically Modified crops. These studies keep track of the above-mentioned scenarios, such as a spread of allergens, and antibiotic resistance. They formulate the data and make sure that the process is safe.

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Monsanto

The problem arises, when the production of these seeds come from a company, which has a reputation for doing whatever it can, to benefit their bottom line. With this in mind, let us examine Monsanto. According to Zilberg (2010), Monsanto has been making waves for quite some time now. They are the manufacturer of a chemical called Round Up, which they have labeled as biodegradable. This chemical is a modified version of Agent Orange, which caused many Vietnam Veterans to perish from cancer. Interestingly, Monsanto produced this toxic chemical, and supplied it to our Veterans. Additionally, with at least two instances of false advertising, Monsanto is a proven liar. As a matter of fact, Monsanto deliberately hid the reality that their factory was poisoning the air in Allenstown Alabama, causing residents to develop Hepatitis. The worst part is, in order to sweep this disgrace under the rug; all that Monsanto had to do was pay a hefty fine, and society was none the wiser. How many deaths are on Monsanto's hands? Too many to count.

In addition, according to Jayaraman, K. S. (2005), a significant controversy occurred in India. Monsanto promised cotton seeds that would be resistant to Bollworms, knowing that they would not work in India. the Western World was able to use these seeds effectively, but Monsanto, never denied knowing that this strain would not be effective in India. This caused many countries to be concerned about the effectiveness of Monsanto’s Products, and their promises. The people in impoverished areas, whom Monsanto vowed to help, received nothing but lies.

This brings us back to the very real concern that when modifying the genetics of something, it is hard to tell what the outcome will be. Sure it is fine the first time, maybe even the second and the third, but no one can promise that that fourth or fifth time the seeds will respond to the environment in the expected way. In addition, India had to sue Monsanto is 2012 for using their local plants, but not getting proper permitting for field trials (Laursen, L. 2012). This causes a huge concern. If the Monsanto cannot do something as simple as pull a permit, how are they going to be able to make sure that the food they are producing is safe?

Equally important, According to (Bélanger, Pathberiya, Williamson, 2013), in March the coalition of beekeepers got together and sued the environmental protection agency, because they were not doing their job properly. Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam are two insecticides, which Monsanto uses to modify their seeds. It is a fact that these insecticides kill off the Bee population. Bees are an important aspect in the sustainability of human life. Without the pollination from bees, it would be impossible for vegetation to grow. Without plants to eat, our livestock would perish; without livestock or vegetation humanity would not survive very long.

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Monsanto Protection Act

Interestingly, shortly after the filing of this lawsuit, President Barack Obama pushed a “spending” bill through that had the Farmer Assurance Act, hidden inside of it. Another name for this law is the Monsanto Protection Act. The Bill passed through unnoticed. This Bill gave Monsanto free range to do whatever they want, without the consequence of litigation or government interference. It says the Government “shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements. This includes measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status. While ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner” (Us Government, 2013 p. 30).

The prospect of genetically engineered food goes from, something to keep an eye on, to something to be downright terrified of, as a result of this new Bill. We are taking the very substance that nourishes our bodies, and keeps us healthy, and handing it over to a company proven time and again not to care about the well being of others. There are already so many health concerns in the world today, which can be alleviated or made worse, depending on the food that goes into our bodies. However, what happens when the World's food supply no longer has the same health benefits? Yes, curving hunger is excellent, but what happens when something changes in the seeds and the added “nutrition” poisons our bodies?

Before the Monsanto Protection Act became effective, the previous scenario would have been comical. Now it is a very real concern. Now that Monsanto is in control of the Genetically Modified seed production, they have free range to get away with whatever they want. It is not logical to think that a company that has a history of not playing by the rules, will abide by their promises with so much leeway offered by the Government.

This is a company that has caused deadly diseases, manufactured Agent Orange chemicals, and stepped on the toes of the little people, time and time again. Now this company genetically modifies seeds, for the food we eat, and has the Governments backing that they will not be able to be stopped.

When will enough be enough?

With all of this in mind, a couple of questions are clear. How do we protect ourselves from this business? When will enough be enough? Unfortunately, as of right now the answers to these questions are vague, at best. If Monsanto can keep producing a product that is known to harm the general public, and that is how the Bill is written, we must stand together and fight for our rights. It is not okay for Big Business to have complete control of our nutritional needs. Will it take a major catastrophe to change this law? I sure hope not. Society has a tendency not to want to stand out; they just want to blend in with the crowd. The problem is this is what companies like Monsanto are counting on. Right now, the people who are out there trying to change this, are few and far between. The wool has been deliberately pulled over humanities eyes.

Can anything be done?

There is a couple of things that can be done. First, people need to unite. One voice does not carry very far, but if that one voice reaches five people, and those five people's voice reaches five more, the word will be quickly spread. Next, we need to make sure that no more Bills pass without the public being aware. People need to stay informed. This is in reality a life or death situation. In addition, people need to vote. There has been talk about labeling Genetically Modified food, so there will be a bill or a chance to vote on this subject. If genetically modified foods are labeled, then people will be able to avoid buying them. If there is not any money to be made, from genetically modified food sources, there will be no reason for Big Business to produce it.

In conclusion, genetically modified foods have problems that are concerning. However, if these foods were still being produced by people who had our best interest in mind, the problem would be manageable. The problem was controlled by scientific studies, which evaluated the benefit versus the issues with this type of food. Today, our food supply, is being controlled by Monsanto and the Government. There is no way to know where our food comes from, unless we buy Organic. Monsanto has proven time after time that they are dishonest at best, and morally corrupt ant worse. With this company in charge of our food, we could see many adverse effects. Some of these effects could be food allergies, resistance to antibiotics, and poisoning of our food. They have killed thousands of people in the past. Unfortunately since, the Monsanto protection law has been passed; Monsanto has more control of our well being. The aspect of this has ramifications beyond just our health. If Monsanto produces a strain of food that kills our bee’s, humanity as we know it, will end. We need to act now before it is too late. Educate your family and friends. Pay attention to what is going on in the Government. And just say no to Monsanto and their unsupervised modification of our food.

Reference:

Haslberger, A. (2001). GMO contamination of seeds. Nature Biotechnology, 19(7), 613. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/90201

Ronald, P. (2013). THE TRUTH ABOUT GMOs. Boston Review, 38(5), 16-32.

Zilberg, J. (2010). THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO/LE MONDE SELON MONSANTO. Leonardo, 43(5), 504-506.

Bélanger, Julie; Pathberiya, Semini; Williamson, Ben Alternatives Journal 39.4 (Jul/Aug 2013): 11-12,14.

Jayaraman, K. S. (2005). Monsanto's bollgard potentially compromised in india. Nature Biotechnology, 23(11), 1326. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt1105-1326

Laursen, L. (2012). Monsanto to face biopiracy charges in india. Nature Biotechnology, 30(1), 11. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt0112-11

US Government. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr933enr/pdf/BILLS-113hr933enr.pdf

(2012, August). Supersize me [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM1ltrM83Js

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20 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

This is a perfect example of the control special interest groups have on Congress. Labeling should be a no-brainer; this is every bit as dangerous for humans as smoking or anything else. The only way we are going to change this is by raising awareness and writing often about it. Well done Lisa!


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 3 years ago Author

Thank you Bill, I agree with you completely. When I first started researching for this article I knew that I was unimpressed with Monsanto, but after completing my research I am now truly disturbed. Here's to hoping one voice can make a difference =)


DJ Anderson 3 years ago

Lisa, I had no idea about much of the information in your article.

I remember hearing that there were fewer bees in one area of our country

and people were trying to figure out the problem. You are correct. Without bees pollinating plants, it would cause a downward spiral

that would effect all parts of our daily lives.

Your article is most impressive. You have certainly done your research!

Big money can buy our politicians, and it can be years or generations

before we find out the harmful effects to man.

You covered the subject thoroughly and exposed the industry and the

politicians involved in this corruption.

Great job, Lisa!

DJ.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is interesting. I had no idea this was going on. Getting the facts out to the public is highly needed. Thank you for researching and writing a report that is an eye opener...


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 3 years ago Author

Thank you., DJ! I am glad that you got something out of this article. I wrote it to educate the public, and even if I only educate a few people, it will be worth it! Have a great day!


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 3 years ago Author

Thank you, Ruby! I could not agree more with you. The more people who know about this the better. It is sad that this is happening right under our Noses and it is so well covered up, that most of the population have not even heard about it. Thanks for stopping by!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 2 years ago from Western NC

Very thorough article. Good read. Oh, Monsanto. The insidious corporate giant of our times. I shudder to think what they could get away with if there weren't MORE regulations, but still...I hate the idea of consuming GMO's. We shouldn't be messing with nature. :\


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 2 years ago Author

CC, I could not agree more! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my article! Have a great day.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

I now grow some of my veggies and buy organic --I have an old container of Round Up in my shed and am not sure how to safely get rid of it--but my weeds and I are better friends these day--excellent article!


Kathleen Odenthal profile image

Kathleen Odenthal 2 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

Great article and great topic. Thanks for posting this!


Tolovaj profile image

Tolovaj 2 years ago

For the record: I am not against genetically genetic foods. I think this would be the same as being against antibiotics, or knives. All can be beneficial in numerous ways and all can cause a lot of harm in wrong hands. Just like antibiotics and knives are clearly marked as potentially hazardous, genetically modified food should be also properly labeled.

What I am concerned is the fact one company can have so much power it can enforce a law to get through pretty complicated process. This is not about Monsanto (of Google or Disney), or regulations (more regulations always means more holes), it's all about people. Are we as voters really not concerned about priorities? Should profit have advantage against safety? Money against freedom? I think majority of people don't realize that, but we are actually answering these questions every single morning.

Do we have any alternative to existing systems of making decisions on national and global levels?

Great hub, I hope it will get a lot of views and we could see a constructive debate as well.


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 2 years ago Author

Audrey, Thank you for stopping by! I planned a whole garden last year, but only ended up planting one peach tree. I am going to get out this weekend and start prepping everything. I will have a garden this year!


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 2 years ago Author

Kathleen, Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and leave such a kind comment!


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 2 years ago Author

Tolovaj, I agree full heartedly. Genetically modified food could potentially be a great thing. If done correctly, it could solve so many nutritional problems, all over the world. Unfortunately there is no money in ending hunger, or curing diseases and the way our world is running now it is all about the money... That is evident by the disgusting Super Corporation that was put in charge of something so important. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

The idea that GMOs can cause premature death and cancer is scary--and while study samples have been small to date, they do indicate that something may be seriously wrong with the food we eat. I thought this article in Mother Jones was fairly well balanced in its view

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/09/gm...


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 2 years ago Author

Audrey, you are right, that is definitely scary!! Thanks for sharing this informative article. I found all of my information in my schools library. One of the articles I read stated that there used to be a team of scientists in charge of monitoring the long term affects of GMO's, but when Monsanto took of the making of GMO's they took over the monitoring as well. In my opinion, that is terrifying.


DJ Anderson 2 years ago

When I read Bill's article this morning, I knew I had read another article about GMO, and here it is. You just keep popping up everywhere. LOL

We arrived at our Louisville home, May 21. We left my computer in Florida, so I cannot check back to see if I got your e-mail. I have severe memory problems about some things, so I am surprised that I

remembered reading about GMO on your site.

Lisa, I am always up for a chat with you. You do know how to reach me,

don't you? If not, let me know.

So good to see you!!

DJ.


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 2 years ago Author

Hi DJ! No, I do not know how to reach you, but I would love to chat!!


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 2 years ago

We want to believe large companies will have our best interest at hand. Unfortunately it's the bottom line what they are more concerned with.So much in one hub it could be a whole new way of thinking. Thank you so much.


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 23 months ago Author

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and comment, Dream on! I am sorry it took me so long to reply back!

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