Published on February 7th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan10
Monsanto GM Sugar Beets (and Alfalfa) Approval: Why This is Bad News
We have a great post going up tomorrow morning on the USDA’s recent approval of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) — “genetically engineered” (“GE”) if you live in Europe — sugar beets and GM alfalfa from Ken Roseboro, editor of The Organic & Non-GMO Report. It will cover health concerns (based on scientific studies), environmental concerns, legal concerns, considerable threats to organic farmers and consumers, and the USDA’s decision to ignore public concerns and comments from hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens. But I wanted to chime in on this with a few comments of my own as well.
There are numerous studies that show GM foods can seriously damage animal health and lead to premature death. There are also industry-funded studies which supposedly tell us that GM foods are completely safe.
Now, if one set of studies shows that something is dangerous, and another set shows it is not, what is the logical, conservative thing to do? Well, at the very least, it is not to feed half the country this thing until more studies verify which is correct.
As leading scientist/geneticist David Suzuki said regarding this topic:
Because we aren’t certain about the effects of GMOs, we must consider one of the guiding principles in science, the precautionary principle. Under this principle, if a policy or action could harm human health or the environment, we must not proceed until we know for sure what the impact will be. And it is up to those proposing the action or policy to prove that it is not harmful.
Seriously, can we get a clue?
We are now conducting a massive experiment on our country and our citizens’ health. With a number of preliminary studies showing it could end up in catastrophe.
Sugar More Dangerous than Ever
That’s part of a headline to a Food & Water Watch news release from earlier today.
“If you thought your sugary treat was bad before, it’s just become a nightmare,” the organization notes.
Why is this the case? Even if you forget the health threats of GMOs themselves, it has been documented that GM crops do not cut the amount of pesticides being used, but they increase it greatly. Because the GM crops are less harmed by these chemicals, farmers can dowse them even more than before. (This is what is causing the growth of very concerning superweeds, which have been called “the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen.”)
What this means is, your food will be even more soaked in chemicals (designed to kill things) than before.
Am I a Conspiracy-Theorist, Anti-Government, Anti-Science Freak?
I hope not. I don’t think of myself as such. In fact, I spend much more time trying to convince people to look into the science of climate change (as I do myself) more in order to understand what has been very soundly studied, what has not, and what the conclusions for society are.
Whereas climate science has developed over the course of many decades and has come to very convincing conclusions that the leading scientific bodies in the world support (i.e. the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the UK’s Royal Society), science on the safety of GMOs is in its infancy, has come to very mixed conclusions (and very concerning conclusions if you removed industry-funded studies from the mix), and does not warrant the mass-production of GM crops, let alone consumption of them. As Suzuki said, “Because we aren’t certain about the effects of GMOs, we must consider one of the guiding principles in science, the precautionary principle.”
Apparently, the USDA has decided not to.
Tell Obama to Stand Up to Monsanto
There has been a bit of speculation that the USDA caved and approved these GM crops due to pressure from the White House, Congress (in particular, the GOP), and the industry.
Want to tell Obama what you think about testing GMOs on you and your children? Sign Food Democracy Now’s petition to Obama to say “No” to Monsanto here.