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What’s the Big Deal about GMOs?


A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.

GM crops are engineered to either produce their own pesticides or withstand massive doses of herbicides. Since the companies behind GMOs are rich and powerful enough to control politicians, they are not going away.

Most developed countries do not consider them safe and have restricted or banned the production and sale of GMOs. The U.S. and Canadian governments, though, have approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.

How GMOs affect farmers

Farmers who purchase Monsanto’s patented GMO seeds have to sign a contract. This agreement forbids them from keeping any new seed produced by the crop for the following year, or even saving leftover seeds. In other words, farmers must agree to use the seeds for one-time only. This ensures a perpetual stream of cash flow for the company because farmers have to buy new seeds every year.

This contract effectively binds farmers to Monsanto. Once the farmer uses the supplied seed, they can never remove the DNA traces from their land and farms. It is because of this residual DNA and the occasional spilled seed hiding in a corner, that Monsanto now effectively owns the farm.

Should a farmer end the contract after a couple of years, Monsanto’s high-powered lawyers can prosecute for theft of intellectual property. The traces of DNA in the fields and one seed hiding in the corner is enough for the courts to side with Monsanto and fine the farmer out of existence. And who is standing in the wings to purchase the delinquent farm but Monsanto (or one of their companies), for pennies on the dollar.

Even farmers who don’t purchase GM seeds can be sued when their fields become contaminated with the seeds, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. 

Sadly, this happens a lot, resulting is massive fines to the struggling farmers and nightmare politics. Due to ties to the government, the corporations (Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta) never lose a case and gain millions of dollars. It’s no wonder Monsanto was voted the worst company in the world.

What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment?

Most GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance, which means the amount needed to be applied to crops keeps increasing. GM crops are also responsible for herbicide resistant “super weeds” and “super bugs,” which need stronger, more dangerous poisons.

The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment, these novel organisms cannot be recalled. To learn which foods to avoid, click here. For more information on GMOs, read The Real Cause of Disease.


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