These days people often hear the word genetically modified organism (GMO). It is an organism whose genetic material has been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. GMOs are the source of genetically modified food which is used to produce a variety of goods other than food. Genetic engineering researchers promise the following benefits that GM food will bring: increase crop yields, lower cost of herbicide, and adapt to global climate change. Therefore GM food is believe to solve the problem of hunger due to the ever ncreasing global population, especially in third world.
In this essay I am going to focus on the genetically modified corn in Canada produced by Monsanto and provide reasons why we should stop eating GM foods. First of all, let me explain what is Monsanto and what effect does their GM corn have. Monsanto used to be a leading chemical giants of the 20th century, but today it is working on agricultural biotechnology. They produce genetically engineered seed and herbicide glyphosate. Monsanto is a pioneer in applying the biotechnology industry business model to agriculture.
In this business model, companies invest heavily in research and development, and recoup the expenses though the use of biological patents. Monsanto’s genetically modified corn is usually called Bt corn. Bt comes form Bacillus thuringiensis which is a soil-dwelling bacterium, commonly used as a biological pesticide. You may wonder why does the name of GM corn come from pesticide. The production of genetically modified corn is carried out as follows: the corn’s DNA is equipped with Bt that produces the at-toxin. It breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them.
Regarding to the safety of Bt corn, on Monsanto’s website, their research swore that the corm only kill insects that eat the corn and does not affect people’s health. Their excuse is that they have safe use history using Bt in agriculture. However, the research result is not up-to-date because the process of approval does not reflect the change in GM food. Also, most of the researches that approve GM food are not conducted by the third person but the biotechnological company itself. Therefore, the company’s statement is not reliable.
A surprising fact is that once scientists evealed flaws in GM food, they would be told “no more study on GM food” and even be fired by the government institution. (Engdahl) There is some research that support Monsanto’s argument that Bt products are effective. One of the research, called Meld Effects of Genetically Modified Crops in Developing Countries”, discusses the controversial issue of whether modern agricultural biotechnology is appropriate for developing countries and whether it can solve the pressing agricultural problems of developing countries.
Field trials carried out with Bt cotton in different states of India show that the technology substantially armers especially suffer big pest-related yield losses because of technical and economic constraints. Pest-resistant genetically modified crops can contribute to increased yields and agricultural growth in those situations, as the case of Bt cotton in India demonstrates. (Qaim and Ziberman) However, the disadvantages of GM foods completely outweigh the advantages. While many farmers in India refuse to use GM seeds, Monsanto convinced them.
As a result some farmers committed suicide because they were unable to repay the high interest debts they took out and expensive seeds and associated chemicals. Ray and Katzenstein) Monsanto claims that GM food can feed the world however, this research reveals that Monsanto’s goal is only to generate profits and the increased yield is not the solution for hunger. In fact, today we have more food than ever, but many people still survive in hunger. It is the question of distribution and economic access that causing the problem. Gewin) Monsanto is also notable for its involvement in hight profile lawsuit, usually over health issues related to its products. It restrict farmers to own the seeds of their GM lants, saying that it is to Justify money the company invested to the technology. Once Monsanto suspect farmers of their misuse of seeds, they sent detectives to watch farmers and take videos of them. This will mentally ruin farmers. The farmers are innocent in many cases, but they don’t have enough money to fght in court, so they can only admit and pay Monsanto.
Monsanto contradict themselves because they insist the crop has no difference form conventional natural varieties, but when it comes to patent, they say its completely different and they are in patent. A significant number of research casts doubt on Monsanto’s argument. For example, a rat feeding research observed that after the consumption of Bt corn, rats showed slight but dose-related significant variations in growth for both sexes, resulting in 3. 3% decrease in weight for males and 3. 7% increase for females.
It also caused malfunction of kidney and females’s pregnancy. (Gilles-Eric, Dominique and Joel) Another study found the corn’s at-toxin in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, as well as in non-pregnant women. (Smith) The cause of death in rats shown in the above research is not because of toxin, but process that genes are being changed. As the proverb goes, you are what you eat. By eating Bt corn, you might become a person who is coded program to produce insecticide in your own body.
The more GM food you consume, the less human you become. Basically Bt corn is used in corn syrup, feeding cattle, corn flake, tortilla, corn soup and so on. Although GM foods are available to the general public without their knowledge or consent, majority of people say that they would avoid them if they were labeled. Luckily there is non-GMO shopping guide which you can find at . If a small ercentage of people are to reject GM foods, it will become a market liability.
GM foods trigger problems which range from environment, patent, social Justice arise anger in people but they may still go and buy GM food. In order to get rid of GM foods, the best way is to talk from the point of food safety. Fortunately it is not difficult to stop GM food, because we don’t have to affect government policy. We can do it though market choice. My suggestion is to buy from food from local or organic farmers. Some people may argue that it is too expensive, but do you want to pay farmers or hospital?