The G.M. (genetic modification) battle is far from over.
EVER PRESENT THREAT OF G.M.
The Soil Association is urging people not to feel complacent about this ever present threat to both farmers and consumers and to continue the ongoing battle against G.M. food being railroaded by our politicians into our countryside.
The pattern with controversial debates is frequently the same. First there is an outcry, then, after the initial opposition has died down, everything goes quiet. This is the danger period, for it is often at this moment that politicians seize the opportunity to push through unpopular legislation.
OPENING THE PANDORA BOX OF G.M.
The concept of genetically modified food would have been anathema to great men of the past such as Sir Robert McCarrison, a pioneer researcher in the field of nutrition. Opening the Pandora's box of genetic modification would have been abhorrent to him, a man who devoted his life to promoting healthy food grown on mineral rich natural soil with the object of securing the physical and mental health of our own and future generations.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HYBRIDIZATION AND G.M.
It is important to identify the difference between hybridization and genetic modification (GM). Hybridization is a process that has been happening naturally throughout the existence of life on earth. Whenever two plants cross pollinate or when two animals reproduce a form of hybridization occurs. The same process that determines the colour of your eyes or hair is essentially a hybridization. Your DNA remains completely human, but dominant and recessive genes that you inherit from your parents produce your specific traits be they tall, short, blue eyed or brown haired. The same thing occurs in
nature when two plants from the same family cross pollinate. Thus, hybridization is a natural process that can be controlled by man whereas genetic modification is a completely laboratory-made process where the actual genetic code of the organism is changed. It threatens not only the existence of organic foods and thereby our health, but also any control that people would have over their food supply.
The genetic change can be made between plants of the same family or by inserting DNA information from a completely different plant (or animal) into the DNA of another. Once made, the new change is dominant and forever and any descendants from the organism will carry the modification within their DNA. Such genetic cross-breeding between incompatible species can never occur in nature.
Dr. Joseph Mercola explains that GE (genetically engineered) foods trigger immune attack because your body recognizes them as foreign invaders rather than as food; this immune response can lead to chronic inflammation, raising your risk of multiple additional health problems.
The two main types of GE foods are herbicide-tolerant crops and pesticide-producing crops; both are imprecise processes that are riddled with unexpected consequences.
FINANCIAL RUIN LEADING TO SUICIDE
In the 1970's, hybrid seeds were introduced into India, promising better yields using chemical fertilizers and insecticides. However, it was not long before yields began to drop as the agricultural chemicals took their toll on the soils. Over recent years, it is estimated that more than a quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide after being persuaded to plant Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) seeds, especially Bt cotton, then having their crops fail, leaving them in financial ruin. In fact, matters have become worse in the decade since Monsanto introduced its "revolutionary" Bt cotton, which cannot be saved or shared from season to season, but must be continually re-purchased. Genetically engineered seeds also require
expensive agricultural chemicals, and more water – a commodity few farmers have access to unless it rains. Buried in debt they struggle against the rising cost of GM seeds and the chemicals required, combined with failing yields and GE-created super weeds and resistant pests.
Seeds have traditionally been saved and shared between farmers from one harvest season to the next. Farmers rarely ever had to buy new seed. Nature, when left alone, provided them with the means to propagate the next harvest in a never-ending cycle.
OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE BANNED G.M. CROPS
Earlier this year, Poland became the eighth EU member state to ban the cultivation of GM crops. Seven other EU member states have already imposed bans on the cultivation of GM crops despite their having been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as safe. These are Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Greece and Bulgaria. Further afield, no GM crops are grown in New Zealand nor in Japan nor Madeira.
Right now the UK is at a tipping point. We could find ourselves at the mercy of the huge and powerful agrochemical industry like our cousins in the USA. If we make the wrong decision there will be no going back.