I’m sure you’ve heard the common refrain that anybody who worries about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the American food supply is soft in the head.
Consider this exasperated observation in Scientific American last month:
“Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have met with enormous public opposition over the past two decades. Many people believe that GMOs are bad for their health — even poisonous — and that they damage the environment. This is in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence that proves that GMOs are safe to eat, and that they bring environmental benefits by making agriculture more sustainable. Why is there such a discrepancy between what the science tells us about GMOs and what people think.”
Well, you see, as writer Stefaan Blancke continues:
“Negative representations of GMOs are widespread and compelling because they are intuitively appealing. By tapping into intuitions and emotions that mostly work under the radar of conscious awareness, but are constituent of any normally functioning human mind, such representations become easy to think.”
In other words…
Softheaded, lazy, emotional people fear GMOs.
Hardheaded, rigorous, empirical thinkers love them.
It’s fascinating, because nothing — and I do mean nothing — in the known scientific world is more complex than the genomes of living organisms.
Even the most ardent corporate apologist should be saying, “Given the vast complexity of genomes, the variability of their expression, and their subtle interplay in environments that contain both wild and cultivated species, we must admit we can’t possibly foresee all of the potential long-term negative consequences of trans-species gene splicing.”
But don’t hold your breath. I won’t either.
After all, with our already sputtering synapses, we must take care not to lose any more brain cells to hypoxia.
But at the risk of overclocking our feeble CPUs… consider this.
I have long argued that one of the chief problems with genetic modification is that it is used for all the wrong reasons.
Its backers like to point to GM plants like “golden rice” with a high beta-carotene content, which may be helping to forestall a plague of blindness among children in the third world.
That benefit probably outweighs potential downstream risk.
But the vast majority of genetic modification is done for a far less noble and increasingly less effective purpose — to slightly lower farming costs by making plants resistant to drenching with an herbicide known as glyphosate.
Since the introduction of GMO plants in the mid-1990s, glyphosate use has skyrocketed.
So has the number of weeds that are immune to the stuff.
Farmers sprayed some 90,000 tons of glyphosate on crops in 2010 — more than 10 times the amount used in 2001. Glyphosate-resistant weeds proliferated in lockstep. Over 60 varieties showed resistance in 2010 vs. fewer than 10 in 2001.
I guess I’m too softheaded to grasp how this aligns with Scientific American’s assurances that GMOs “bring environmental benefits by making agriculture more sustainable.”
They seem to be making unkillable “super-weeds” more sustainable.
Food crops, which must compete for the same acreage… not so much.
A new study 1 published in Environmental Health reveals that the levels of glyphosate-based herbicides commonly found in drinking water (never mind as crop residue) altered the function of over 4,000 genes in the livers and kidneys of rats.
The study was performed by Dr. Michael Antoniou’s team at King’s College in London.
It was a follow-up investigation of a two-year toxicity study in rats of glyphosate-based herbicide conducted by Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini and colleagues and published in 2014.
It found that those changes in the rats’ genes were consistent with fibrosis (scarring), necrosis (dead tissue), phospholipidosis (impaired fat metabolism), and damage to mitochondria (the energy and respiration centers in cells).
Conclusion? The levels of pesticide investigated were in line with — or much lower than — exposure levels human beings receive in the modern world, which means:
“…our results potentially have significant health implications for animal and human populations.”
Bottom line: Sarcasm aside, it’s perfectly possible — even, I would argue, inevitable — for a person with a fully functioning cerebral cortex to have serious concerns about genetically modified organisms in the food supply.
We’ve reported on the anti-GMO labeling initiative (dubbed by its critics as the DARK Act, for “Deny Americans the Right to Know”) now wending through the compromised halls of your nation’s capital, and what you can do to help stop it.
If you missed our previous updates on the topic, we’ve laid out all the sordid details here.
More than ever, it’s vital to keep up that fight.
Editor, Natural Health Solutions
 Robin Mesnage, Matthew Arno, Manuela Costanzo, Manuela Malatesta, Gilles-Eric Séralini and Michael N. Antoniou. Transcriptome profile analysis reflects rat liver and kidney damage following chronic ultra-low dose Roundup exposure. Environmental Health 2015