From the February 2007 Idaho Observer:

U.S. leading supporter of agribusiness contamination of global food supply

by Richard Geffken

Japan banned imports of U.S. rice in August, 2006 and, although the European Union recently lifted its ban, communities are using lawsuits against farmers who plant Genetically Modified (GM) seeds to impose damages when these crops infect normal farmland. In fact, a law was passed in Denmark compensating farmers for all crops contaminated by GM seeds. Switzerland simply defied the EU decision, renewing its ban on all U.S. food imports in 2006.

Sixty to 70 percent of all processed foods eaten by Americans every day are GM foodstuffs. Nevertheless, only 24 percent of Americans polled believe they ever ingested any GM foods. Most Americans donít know what it is, or how devastating this plague has become to humanity worldwide.

To make money, big agri-tech corporations decided they could get a patent on the food we eat, and infected their inventions with a "Terminator" gene called V-Gurts, to prevent the subsequent seed from germinating. That way, to grow more corn, soybeans, rice and other GM crops, one is forced to buy seed from the patent holder. This is usually a contractual condition made at the first purchase.

To secure a patent, the natural organism had its genetic structure altered in some significant way so that it is no longer "normal" but a mutant, artificially created living thing. Because the plants will still pollinate, the mutant genes are spread over vast areas. In a few years, new mutations are found in the wild or on other farms. Very often, the original mutants have sterilized other plant life.

In 2002, Washington State banned fish farms that raised GM mutants. However, some escaped to interbreed with natural varieties and there continues to be a danger of salmon becoming extinct because of this. Other kinds of fish have become infected, too, but salmon is a multi-billion dollar industry for Washington State.

In Hawaii, papayas were genetically altered to resist a ring-spot virus. Nutritional value was destroyed and people eating the GM papayas would now become vulnerable to illnesses that are commonly treated with antibiotics. Both Canada and Japan have banned imports of all Hawaiian papayas. The industry is still struggling to recover.

Making drugs from mutant species is called "biopharming." From the milk of rats to a variety of GM corn that produces anti-sperm antibodies used in contraceptives, the results are frightening. The mutant species eventually contaminates its own kind. Protigene Corp. modified corn to produce pig vaccine. It spread to infect soybean crops in Nebraska and Iowa, so other species are harmed too. Although the company paid over $3,250,000 in fines and compensation, it really suffered no punishment affecting its profit and loss statement.

Where did it start?

Monsanto hired graduate students to develop a plant species that insects and rodents would not eat. Of course, the employment contracts let the boss keep the patent rights to anything the sharp minds produced. It is now the "intellectual property" of those who lacked the creative intellect to make the GM plants, and other agri-tech giants quickly jumped on this new technique for making money.

Every treaty made with "third world" nations in recent years, especially when they wanted a loan, required that they buy and use only GM seeds. The politics of immorality is disgusting. Even in the U.S., farmers have been arrested for trying to obtain normal seeds elsewhere when they had signed contracts agreeing to buy only GM seeds. There appears to be no readily available remedies for this new form of serfdom. This plague continues to spread worldwide.

A partial list of the damage GM products cause includes food with reduced nutritional value, resistance to antibiotics and other medicines used to combat disease, allergies, adverse effects on soil bacteria and, ironically, increased use of herbicides and pesticides as weeds and parasites start to resist the genetically engineered toxins. Those toxins are directly dangerous to humans, too. Roundup Ready crops have a glyphosphate which damages the human placenta. Bt cotton* is full of toxins, and pregnant women will be well advised to avoid wearing cotton products. Even scientists in China discovered the Bt toxin gene sequences in Heinz baby food.

Eating GM mutated food can cause serious damage. Monsanto itself concealed a report for years where their own scientists proved that rats fed a diet rich in GM corn develop small kidney and have enormously high white blood cell counts. A European study showed the incidence of still born and underweight infants was six times higher when the mother ate GM soy.

GM genes are spread too reliably. An herbicide resistant rapeseed transferred itself to turnips and a different weed in Great Britain. Grasses in Missouri, Georgia, California and Oregon are rampant with mutant genes. A long list of weeds are now carrying several mutant genes, changing the world we live in.

Animals are eating GM-contaminated plants such as canola, a rapeseed weed used in livestock feed. The GM mutation is easily being spread by pollination to all its kindred varieties. In Japan, which has no native rapeseed plants, has found it growing near their ports and on roadsides inland. This rapeseed is full of Bt toxins.

While 60 to 70 percent of all processed foods eaten by Americans are genetically modified foods, no one has calculated the incidental and indirect contamination from daily ingestion.

Several years ago this author proposed a simple solution to this horrifying problem. "No patent can be obtained for any living thing." By cutting out the royalties and cutting out the profit motive, the world can return to a degree of normalcy. The Solution: Very realistic, very simple, and absolutely necessary for the preservation of life.

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