in those GMOs
T&T is now trying to devise a way of dealing with genetically
modified foods (GMOs), to conform with the Cartagena Biosafety
Protocol which 130 nations signed onto in January of 2000.
Unfortunately, at this time, with the United States being
very powerful, distorting science to conform to its political
goals and those of its powerful corporations, the facts may
be drowned out in a confusing haze.
Basically, the story is that vast monies have been spent to
patent genetically altered crops to make a profit. Viruses
and bacteria are inexactly implanted into plants from different
species, resulting in novel products that have
never existed before.
Studies have shown that rats fed a genetically altered line
of potatoes, for example, were afflicted with severe viral
infections, their immune systems were damaged, some organs
became abnormally enlarged, while brains, testicles and livers
became smaller than normal.
The parent potatoes of the same altered potatoes, fed to another
group of control rats, developed none of these
Other studies have shown abnormal growth of intestinal cells
in tested animals that researchers worry could lead to cancer
development and other gastrointestinal problems. Plus, with
these new never-seen-before transgenic foods, allergies could
suddenly flare, possibly even killing the consumer. This has
happened, for example, with peanuts.
Naturally, we now label our foods, to ensure that those of
us who are allergic to peanuts dont have to die. If
they read the ingredients on the package of the candy or cereal
they can decide not to buy. But the corporations that make
genetically modified foods dont want their products
labelled. Because then people might not buy them.
As a result, according to Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers
Association in the US, markets are going down for genetically
per cent of GMO crops are now being funnelled into animal
feed; European feed has to be labelled; the only reason for
sales (of GMO products) in countries like the USA is the lack
Moratoriums and mandatory labelling laws have sprung up all
around the planet from Japan to Israel, from Brazil to Saudi
Arabia, and, of course, in many countries of the European
The British Medical Association called for a moratorium due
to concerns about gene interaction of unexpected kinds
that might take place. British biologist Michael Antoniou
warned about unexpected production of toxic substances.
Even the American Medical Association, the World Health Organisation,
Britains House of Lords, and the UKs Royal Society
have called for the phase-out of the all-too-common inclusion
of antibiotic resistance genes used as markers
This alteration of the genome was supposed to be destroyed
by stomach acids, according to scientists at a big US company,
so the altered DNA would never travel on into our gut, and
then be absorbed into our bodies, or go the other way, out
with our faeces to multiply in bacteria about the environment.
Sadly, the US Government took the flawed studies as gospel,
instead of doing independent studies itself. So now we have
to worry about, amongst other things, resistance to antibiotics
being bred inside our bodies, and being spread about the animals
and plants of the environment.
How could this all be happening? Especially with new gene-mapping
techniques being performed by geneticists around the globe
leading to freely shared information about breeding better
forms of crops and plants without the dangers of unpredictably/forcefully
inserting foreign genes and viruses into experimental DNA?
Obviously, its caused by the greed for dollars. The
powerful US company which produces 91 per cent of GMOs has
amazing influence within governments like the US.
There are many in the Bush administration who help spread
the misleading mantra that biotech foods will help feed the
However, the reality is that we have more food per person
today than ever before: 4.3 pounds a day per person, according
to the United Nations. The problem is poverty and inequitable
distribution of the food.
What the GMO companies of the world want is to produce and
patent one type of soybean or species of corn to go along
with their pesticide, to which these crops are bred resistant.
Then they can sell increased amounts of their pesticide, and
force the farmers to buy their seed from them every year,
that they are not allowed to save or share with other farmers,
according to their contracts.
In addition, there are terminator seeds that the
big US company et al would love to market, that do not germinate,
so farmers would have to buy new seeds every year. Otherwise,
the company has to sue farmers for illegally planting
their seeds, which they have done, with exorbitant penalties
In T&T, you may think you are not eating GMOs, but if
you get your soya oil or cottonseed oil or corn from the US,
you are! Eighty-five per cent of US soy is GMO, 73 per cent
of cotton is, 60 per cent of canola or rapeseed is, and 45
per cent of corn is.
Check your ingredients on your digestive cookies, or note
that high fructose corn syrup in your sweet drink,
etc to see what I am talking about.
Ninety-three per cent of Americans polled want GMOs labelled
as such. Europe has essentially banned them, as has much of
the world. But George Bush is on the attack again in World
Trade Organisation court challenging the European Union to
reverse the will of its people on this issue.
T&T should require labelling of GMOs, following the lead
of Englands House of Commons Independent Science Panel
which stated on April 29 that the accumulation of evidence...casts
doubt on the safety of genetically modified (GM) food...demand(ing)
an inquiry into GM food safety.
The future holds much improved breeding techniques that will
preserve the diversity of our food crops. Biotechnology as
currently represented by mono-culture happy gene giant corporations
irresponsibly loosing their gene-mutating products on an unsuspecting
world, is not the way to go.
Sound science and responsible politics will curb the misguided
detour being foisted on us. T&T should carefully consider
its options to avoid taking any power-pressured path that
will contaminate the countrys food supply and environment.
Other countries have seen the light, developing a legal framework
to protect themselves, and T&T can wisely do the same.
Conrad Miller is an American medical
doctor who has worked at the Scarborough Hospital in the 1070s
as a casualty officer. A regular visitor to T&T, he is
also the author of a book on GMOs and similar issues.