Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monsanto and Dow launch revolutionary new GMO product

Hey, have you heard? It's going to be possibly "the largest introduction of a corn biotech seed product in the history of agriculture."[1]

Wow. Roll out the red carpet.

While you were sleeping--not one, not two, not even three or four but EIGHT, yes I said EIGHT genetically engineered traits are all being stacked together in a new corn destined for 3 or 4 million acres of our food supply. Oh don't worry, it's been approved--well, at least each trait has been approved individually. Nobody's sure yet what's going to happen though when you clump them all together.

They kind of rushed it through--quietly, of course--and without taking into account any environmental risks, but look, it's EIGHT times more fortified. More is always better, right?

Okay, let me just run this by us again:

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has quietly approved a new genetically engineered corn with eight different insect- and weed-fighting traits, but farmer and environmental groups in Canada say the approval was rushed and environmental risks ignored.

Developed through a research agreement between Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, SmartStax corn is unique in that it "stacks" eight different genetically engineered traits that will allow corn to tolerate certain weed- and insect-killing products made by the two companies.

Each of the eight traits has been individually approved by the CFIA, but opponents are concerned there might be unintended consequences when the traits are combined. [2]

Where can I find out which farmers are going to be planting this corn and to which markets they will be distributing them--so that I can avoid buying from them?

Sigh. One more concerned consumer, alarmed at the blatant fast-tracking and sheer proliferation of these genetically manipulated organisms. I wish our local grocers would start providing more organic produce or at least begin labeling which products contain GMOs.

Ho hum. The world shrugs and keeps on planting and eating GMO food. Big deal. The economy's going to hell in a handbasket and you're worried about eating GMOs.

Feel like a pebble in a sea of crushing boulders, unable to make the slightest difference whatsoever. A tiny squeak amidst the roar of corporate profit parading as "Progress." (Is it progress that farmers who for centuries have traditionally saved seeds are being pressured to buy terminator seeds (seeds that "suicide" themselves so they can't be re-used), guaranteeing repeat business for the commercial seed producers but increased expense for the farmer? Is it progress that organic farms are being contaminated by cross pollination from nearby GMO fields, for which the organic farmer can then be sued, like what happened to Percy Schmeiser in Saskatchewan?)

Okay so maybe this is just a futile little squeak, but some industry and government food inspection agency decisions need to be noted--and discussed. And our governments need to make the reports of their analyses public. This is not proprietary information and it will affect all of us. The public needs to be given ample time to make their concerns known and know that they will be listened to. Alas, most people have no clue about what they eat and the majority simply don't care. And as for legislation in these matters, government appears to listen to those who speak the loudest, are the most persistent, and/or exert the most pressure. (Monsanto's former vice president for public policy and chief lobbyist has recently been hired to advise the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on food safety. How convenient for Monsanto.) [3]

So, in case you missed seeing this in the news lately--that's EIGHT genetically engineered traits now being added together into corn and rushed through to the food supply without assessing the possible consequences to human health or the environment.

I don't know about anybody else, but I for one am not gonna touch this new corn. And if corn here is not labeled as to origin and GMO content--especially those produced as "SmartStax"--I'm not buying corn anymore. Period.

Not that that will bother Dowsanto. What's one pipsqueak consumer out of a possible kazillion.

One day we may have no choice to not eat GMOs. They will have spread EVERYWHERE and it will be out of our control. Not labeling GMO products helps further this end.

The world yawns.

Oh well.


To view the statistics on the Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States from 2000 to 2009, click here.

To see the novel foods Canada has approved from May 1994 through May 2009, click here.

"Novel Foods" are:

* Foods resulting from a process not previously used for food.
* Products that do not have a history of safe use as a food.
* Foods that have been modified by genetic manipulation or GMO foods, or biotechnology-derived foods.

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