Organic Consumers Association

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Buying the Vote on G.M.O.'s

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our California News page.

Supporters of ingredients derived from "genetically modified foods," which hereafter I'll call G.M.O.'s - genetically modified organisms - are mostly the chemical companies who make them or other people who make money from them. They assert that a) there's no proof that G.M.O.'s are harmful to humans, and b) studies demonstrating that they might be are largely flawed [1]. Point B might even be true, although since the chemical companies largely control the research, it's hard to tell.

But even if there were a way to guarantee that food produced with G.M.O. ingredients is not directly bad for you, it remains clear that such food is in general bad for all of us, based on the collateral damage from producing it.

What most genetically engineered crops have in common is that they're bred to be super-resistant to chemical herbicides, chemicals that will kill pretty much everything except the specified crop. And as the weeds that those chemicals are meant to kill adapt and grow bigger and stronger, more and stronger chemicals are needed to try to deal with them.

At times these super-applications are successful, and at times they're not. Some weeds in G.M.O. fields not only aren't killed by the recommended chemicals, but they also have to be controlled - using an advanced technology called "the machete."

One of the "new" chemicals, sold by Dow and used in conjunction with a newly engineered corn, is 2,4-D, which is one of the components in Agent Orange. This doesn't exactly give you a warm and fuzzy feeling. Nor does the concern that blanket spraying of 2,4-D may affect the growth and health of nontarget crops near the sprayed corn. 
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