What Americans know now as genetically modified seeds, or GMO, is a whole new game. For centuries farmers have been splicing DNA between plants to make them stronger. This was known as cross breeding, or cross pollination. These hybrids at the time were only between two plants at a time. Nowadays scientists are doing the work of creating these hybrids, and they do not always use just the DNA of other plants. The work of scientists today is nothing short of creating Chimera.
Many of the foods in the grocery store today are from genetically modified seeds. One study concludes that 70% of food bought is in fact genetically modified in some form. There is a huge push from grassroots politics that these foods should be labeled as genetically modified. No one really even knows if these foods are supremely different from pure-bred seeds, so what is the importance of labeling them?
There is a lot of danger present in introducing new genetic code into an already stable organism. Scientists are unsure if this new version of the organism will still act in the same way as it should. These tests however are performed in controlled areas and no new gene combinations are released until scientists are sure that it is completely safe for human consumption. Tests are conducted to see if the new genetic code has cause the plant to produce any sort of toxic residue, both alive and through decomposition. Europe has tight regulations and requires that all genetically modified foods must have the same nutritional value as their counterparts.
The problem really comes in when these genetically modified plants contaminate farms with non-GMO produce. With genetically modified seed companies owning global seed trade, it is inevitable that these genes will be carried, by bee, from one farm to the unsuspecting next. This is why regulations around these plants are shaky. No one can control where a seed goes when it is carried off in the wind, or by an animal. The largest genetically modified seed manufacturer in the world, US owned Monsanto, has a reputation for suing farmers who have unknowingly grown and sold crops tainted by Monsanto genes. Monsanto has turned selling genetically modified seeds into a whole new game.
Monsanto prides itself in being a company that will “heal, fuel, and feed the world.” They believe that their products will be the solution to world hunger, climate change, and even be able to heat our homes, and fuel our cars. There is no way that this can be done without sharing. Monsanto has donated to regions that have been hit with natural disasters, but there are no reports of seeds being donated regions known for their hunger and poverty.
Though the plants may not be very bad, the companies that sell them are not so wholesome. When the FDA decides to label these foods as genetically modified, some may hope they label which company the seeds were created, because that will be a deciding factor in what foods they eat from now on. The day shoppers can choose which company’s genetically modified seeds they are eating, will make the industry a whole new game.
By Joshua Shane