Nutritionist, Herbalist, Ayurvedic practitioner, Closed Colonic Hydrotherapist, Lecturer, Speaker, Author, Registered Nurse - helping the community for over 30 years.

Genetically modified food is replacing one harmful way of farming with pesticides to another harmful way of farming.
Genetically modified food is one of the biggest human experiments and it’s proving to be dangerous. Another reason to go organic/biodynamic is to avoid the risk of having genetically modified food on your plate. We have been crossing genes for a long time and this is not necessarily harmful, for example crossing different species of apples to create new types of apples. Historically, farmers bred plants and animals for their desired traits to create wide variations in species.

Genetically modified food (G.M.) is different and it’s alarming. No G.M. foods can be classed as organic. It is the artificial insertion of genes and chromosomes within the nuclei of cells. G.M. allows this process to speed up by moving desired genes from one plant to another or from an animal to a plant or vice versa (often unrelated species).
It can be done with plants, animals and food and tomatoes are being crossed with fish to prevent frost bite! An unassuming person with an allergy to fish may eat it and they therefore react to the tomato.
In G.M. crops, genes have been transferred from bacteria, a virus, or other plant to make it more resistant to a chemical, weed killer or to produce its own insecticide. One of the major producers of genetically engineered seed is Monsanto. This organisation claims bioengineering will improve agricultural sustainability by:

• Decreasing the need for herbicides, pesticides and insecticides.
• Reducing tillage and therefore reducing soil erosion.
• Increasing moisture retention and reducing fuel costs and emissions.
• They claim overall that it will improve wildlife habitat around the crop.

Dangers of genetically modified food
There are many concerns around G.M. food such as environmental concerns, health concerns and financial control.

Environmental concerns
• Crossing species boundaries. These boundaries have remained intact for millions of years. We don’t yet know the full extent of the consequences of gene manipulation and how do we measure the long term effects if G.M. seeds are blowing across the countryside. Cross pollination doesn’t protect native species from the foreign G.M. one. There are risks to organic crops. Wind, rain, birds and insects can carry pollen to adjoining fields; this means that once G.M. seeds are released can they never be recaptured.
• Damage to the food matrix. They can affect insects that may be beneficial.
• Crops with built in insecticides could harm beneficial insects as well as the intended target pests e.g. ladybird and lacewing insects which eat the G.M. created crop can be affected by the insecticide toxin.
• Risk of loss of wild species – they are endangered in this environment.
• If any bioengineered plants or animals are bred to be “superior”- that is hardier, stronger and more robust – they may overpower the wild species. There may be a risk to wild fish if G.M. carp, salmon or trout are released (or escape) – they may be bigger and greedier than their wild counterparts! Who will survive?!
• Creation of G.EM. “superweeds” and “superpests” – in time, pests and weeds will develop a resistance to the applied or inbred pesticides/herbicides and more and stronger chemicals will be needed. The creation of new bacteria/viruses may occur.
• Creating resistance in plants to viruses has resulted in the viruses mutating to a more virulent form. One G.M. microorganism (Klebsiellaplanticola) has been found to destroy soil nutrients.
• Increased pesticide residue in soil and on crops. Pesticide and herbicide reduction has been short lived. Benefits for consumers have not materialised. Many G.M. farmers have not used fewer products than conventional farmers and have had to resort to pesticides.

Health concerns
• The G.M. technique could alter and disrupt the normal function of the genes in the crops. Changes in biochemistry pathways may mean toxin production. Also, the novel protein made by the gene could cause allergies which can be fatal for some people.
• Most of these proteins have not been consumed by humans before. Long term testing is required to prevent public health disasters. It is very important that food be labelled with G.M. products, so that those who are at risk can make choices.
• A.R.M. genes (antibiotic resistant markers) The European Union is considering banning foods that contain these altogether! They are linked to foreign genes in plants to determine if the gene slice was successful.
• Some researchers suggest the risk of these recombining with disease causing bacteria or microbes in the environment or in the flesh of animals or people who eat G.ME. food and the increased risk of antibiotic resistance in the population, which is already a problem due to overuse of the drug.

Economic control
• There is a global food security threat. G.M. food also uses terminator technology which means after a span of life the plant commits suicide and no new seeds develop for the next generation. The terminator seed or sterile seed will create dependence of farmers (who currently save and reuse seed) on biotech conglomerates who no doubt will escalate costs to this group.
•  It creates dependency in poor countries.
• The same companies who produce the G.M. seed also produce the pesticides, so there is a potential for exploitation and profit which may result in even more resistant plants being developed, meaning the farmer will need more herbicide to kill weeds!
• There is a concern of ownership and control by the monopoly of the 5 multi nationals: Monsanto, Aventis, Novartis, AstraZeneca and DuPont who produce 80% of the world’s G.M. crops.
• They have patented genes, crops and seeds. They can charge farmers royalties if they wish to resow the seed in the future. 1.4 billion people use seed saved from harvesting for replanting in developing countries. This has pushed out small farmers in countries like India, and who are now unemployed.

Gene splicing has given rise to many concerns. The health and environmental consequences are far from known. The potential risks of G.M. food should not be underestimated and legitimate concerns should not be dismissed as trivial.

What can you do?


• Insist on adequate independent safety guards and controls on corporations.
• Involve the public in decisions on the need for regulation.
• Insist on strict legal liability for transgressions or diverse effects of G.M. foods.
• Ensure all products are labeledlabelled so you can make a choice between G.M. and non G.M. foods.
• Help ongoing research into implications on environmental and human health.
• Vote with your dollar and buy organic food. You don’t want to be eating G.M. food and popping pills for your tummy problems. Treat your body more kindly.
• If you are in Australia you can join www.geneethics.org. This is a great organisation that campaigns against G.M. foods and is very informative about what is really going on.
• Watch the film www.foodmatters.com
• To see the standard visit www.standard.org.au
• I’d recommend this site for a further look into G.M. and how we can produce food in a healthier and more sustaining way. The site contains many interesting interviews and articles about G.M. For information on G.M. overseas go to, www.inmotionmagazine.com.shiva.html an Indian physicist discusses sustainable agriculture.

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