From the April 2004 Idaho Observer:

Genetic engineering giants oppose organic interests; GMOs threaten global food supply

Human genes found in genetically-engineered (GE) rice; fish genes found in cherry tomatoes; live virus spliced into bananas to make an edible vaccine. These are just a few examples of how mad science is changing the genetic coding of life on earth to make plant crops and livestock bigger, increase harvest yields, increase shelf life, increase resistance to pests and disease and make them look nicer.

The one attribute that would be acceptable to even the most skeptical consumers is not being developed by GE giants. Crops are not being engineered to be more wholesome and nutritious. That is probably because plants grown with chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers cannot be altered to be more nutritious; animals raised on hormones, antibiotics, vaccines, synthetic vitamins and chemically-treated feeds and slaughterhouse effluent cannot be altered to be a better source of protein.

To the contrary, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) while displaying characteristics that may enhance their commercial value, are greatly diminished in their nutritional value as compared to heirloom varieties.

Two sides of the issue are gearing up for battle: The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) reports that many agricultural communities throughout the world are passing laws, modeled after a law recently passed in Mendocino County, Calif., to create GE-Free Zones. These zones are intended to prevent GMOs from cross-breeding with organically-grown, heirloom varieties of plant crops and livestock to meet the quickly growing demand for wholesome food.

GE giants like Monsanto, Arthur Daniels Midland and DuPont recognize the threat. “The nightmare that county bans on genetically engineered crops represent to intra and interstate commerce is ridiculous. We'd be ground to a halt,” The San Jose Mercury quoted CropLife America vice-President Allan Noe as stating March 1, 2004.

CropLife is a pro-GE lobby organization.

The GE giants are promoting the passage of a bill to reverse the Mendocino county law and make it illegal for counties to pass GE-Free Zone ordinances. OCA is responding by promoting the creation of GE-Free Zones in 59 California counties.

The European Union recently approved the importation, production and sales of GMOs in Europe. The decision is generating tremendous opposition among European groups.

As if we are not embattled on enough fronts already, the people of the Earth are now being faced with having to fight for their right to eat food that has not been genetically altered or grown with toxic chemicals. This controversy will only become more heated in the months to come as people fight for their very survival and GE giants throw their tremendous financial resources and political power into the struggle to maintain their monopolies on food propagation, production and distribution.

There is plenty of information and resources available on the subject of GMOs online and in bookstores. An excellent primer on the GMO issue is “GMOs: Beware of the Coming Food Apocalypse” by Greg Ciola. The book is only $8.95 and can be obtained by calling (800) 593-6273.

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Hari Heath

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