In our 21st Century lives there are so many potential threats. Sometimes you just have to accept that life was always precarious but it is that we are better and more rapidly informed these days. You have however to have some worries which may include war, weapons, restrictive governments, the increasing rich poor divide, the environment and it has to be said the food that you consume and water you drink.
Many issues are interlinked. The quality of water is under threat from poor management and environmental hazards such as fracking; climate change or global warming may result in drought. Food has been causing ripples of concern this year as we realised that we rely heavily on the honesty of others.
The European horse meat scandal perfectly illustrated that we often have little idea what we are eating but then there are GMO foods, those that have been genetically modified.
Claims that the consumption of food or feed that is genetically modified could bring the altered genes into contact with microbes in the guts of the livestock or people who eat them has to be a cause for concern. There are claims that this increases diseases, such as celiac disease, allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, gluten intolerance, irritable bowel disease, miscarriage, obesity and sudden infant death syndrome. This could help explain the huge increase in asthma and allergies.
TEK environmentalist B.McPherson told us: "Many herbicides mimic plant hormones. Plant hormones, in some cases are close to human ones. For instance, women who are experiencing the menopause and a diminishing production of oestrogen are advised to consume phyto-estrogens, usually derived from soy to replace some of the loss."
2-4-D is a widely used weed killer that forced plants to outgrow their roots. Glyphosate interferes with enzyme formation, but we do know that it is persistent in the food chain. Perhaps a little is not so bad, but humans tend to live a long time and a little accumulated continuously over 20 years may well have catastrophic outcomes. Glyphosate has been linked to birth defects and may be factor in promoting cancers.
According to Wikipedia the additives usually present in the Roundup formula are : “The isopropylamine salt of glyphosate plus another important ingredient in some formulations of Roundup is the surfactant POEA (polyethoxylated tallow amine), which has been found to be highly toxic to animals and to humans.”
So what does all of this mean to consumers?
Because usage of glyphosate herbicides over the years has led to resistance, much like bacteria and anti-biotics (but that’s a whole other stinking stew) we now have super-weeds. They are increasingly a problem in North America. Some formulations will now have a combination of glyphosate and 2-4-D. Unfortunately, if the manufacturer is not extremely careful that other compounds may be formed during manufacturing (– 2-4-5-T(Agent Orange) and dioxins(deadliest poison known)).
Whether or not the genetically engineered plants themselves are harmful to ingest is unknown either way. Those corporations holding the patents have to give researchers permission to study the plants in question and will not play ball. Some GM plants have more than one gene inserted and permission must be granted to study each gene. This prevents any real work being done on possible synergic activities.
The commodification and control of the food supply is continuing apace. Growing your own foods may be a way forward but take care with the seeds you use. You can source organically produced seeds to produce GM free food stuffs.
As Ms McPherson said [T]his topic reminds me of a science fiction story in which BigAgro controlled all agriculture and it was illegal to grow old varieties of food to prevent contamination of the new varieties. All workers were paid in equivalent calories instead of money].
It is certainly an horrific science fiction story quickly becoming science fact unless we get a hold of the situation. Scientists may claim theat being able to genetically modify food will enable a rich and abundant supply of food to an ever increasing world population but what good is that if the food is bad for you and your health?
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