Some say knowledge is power. I am beginning to think ignorance is bliss. Researching food and how it has changed is quite upsetting. I would love to sit at a restaurant and not wonder how many chemicals have been sprayed on the food or is Titanium dioxide, MSG or artificial dyes in the salad dressing.
But I cannot help myself. This weekend I started to wonder about the corn, the seed, and the fertilizer after spending about 45 minutes in a corn maze. I wanted to know if a GMO corn could be close to home. Luckily, the farmer was there and he gave me some insight on how the farmers use the corn, how they feel about the seed, and what is really going on with the crops.
The seed is called Monsanto Round Up Ready. You buy it by the seed and not by the pound. He said a 80,000 seed bag is around $200. The organic corn is around $40 and in the area the organic corn makes moonshine. The GMO seed feeds livestock.
The Monsanto Round Up Ready seed is not affected by roundup; hence the name. When the corn is several feet tall they spray the entire field with Round Up to kill the weeds. They said the weeds take the nutrients from the soil and decreases the corn yield. The genetically modified seed makes their job easier. They do not worry about the pesticides going on the food and Monsanto makes a ton of money selling Round Up.
The farmer has been looking for another seed option for the reasons I mention below and would love a recommendation. If you have one, please share. He cannot find another alternative which will grow 12 feet tall for the corn maze and harvest later to sell as grain.
He said the Monsanto Round Up Ready seed is killing the honey bees. I wonder how many other farmers are having the same problem. Honey bee numbers do seem to be dwindling.
The GMO corn he harvests is sold to cow farmers to feed dairy and meat cows. They will be fed this seed next year. He also said the cow farmers prefer the size of grain from the round up ready seed.
The man they hire to harvest the corn comes and fertilizes the fields with chicken manure. They do not use sewer sludge. The county passed an ordinance where nobody can use sludge even though the EPA approved the use. They said they would never use it on their fields especially since they have creek that would carry the sludge to the nearby river. For him to think roundup is acceptable and sludge is not says how toxic sewer sludge is for our water supply. I personally do not think Round Up is acceptable in our water supply.
Monsanto has patented their bioengineered Round Up Ready soybean, corn and canola seed. This seed can contaminate the seeds of other organic and conventional farmers nearby by blowing in the wind and it “has become virtually impossible for farmers to grow non-genetically engineered Canola in Canada… Concrete evidence of seed contamination has been discussed in the Union of Concerned Scientist’s report called Gone to Seed.” Read more about Gone to Seed
Monsanto has engineered their seeds to be a one generation seed so the crop cannot be harvested and planted another season. The farmers have to buy seeds every season unlike the old days. The farmer at the corn maze told me he had to sign something stating he would not sell his seed to anyone else to grow or he could face a lawsuit. I guess Monsanto wants to track which farmers are growing their seeds and which neighboring farmers are not. Since he mentioned being sued, I am guessing a lawsuit is on many of the farmers’ minds.
Apparently, lawsuits are common. Monsanto will sue you for your crops having the round up ready gene. “In one case, a farmer used to growing his own canola was sued by Monsanto when his canola seeds became contaminated by their Roundup Ready genes.” I personally think the farmer should sue Monsanto for contamination of their crop.
If these seeds can easily contaminate other fields, then all the seeds could contain the round up ready genes in the future. No more heirloom fruits and vegetables that were grown for the past 100 years. Everything could change. I find this a very scary possibility. A crop that kills honey bees is obviously not good for us or the environment. Without honey bees we cannot grow food; at least not naturally.
In addition, allergies are skyrocketing. It seems people are allergic to the protein in certain food which causes their body to see the protein as foreign and react. The Round Up ready seed contains herbicide resistant properties and many GMO seeds contain “Plant-incorporated protectants [which] are pesticidal substances produced by plants and the genetic material necessary for the plant to produce the substance. For example, scientists can take the gene for a specific Bt pesticidal protein, and introduce the gene into the plant’s genetic material. Then the plant manufactures the pesticidal protein that controls the pest when it feeds on the plant. Both the protein and its genetic material are regulated by EPA; the plant itself is not regulated.” read more at the EPA
So, is it possible people are having allergic reactions to these Bt pesticidal proteins? The allergies people have the most issues with happen to be gluten, soy, corn, and dairy. Eggs are an issue as well. A lot of the wheat, soy, corn and canola crops are genetically modified or bioengineered. “More than 90 percent of the soybeans grown in the United States contains Monsanto?s Roundup Ready gene, which makes the crop resistant to the herbicide Roundup or generic versions known as glyphosate. That allows farmers to spray their fields with the herbicide, killing weeds while leaving the soybeans intact.” read more NY Times
With the GMO corn being sold as feed to cow and chicken farmers, this may be one of the reasons for dairy and egg allergic reactions (along with high antibiotic use and Bovine Growth Hormone drugs as well as milking the cows in the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy with raging hormones). Could the feed change the quality of the milk, meat and eggs? I am a firm believer we are what we eat and am very conscious about my food.
We eat mostly organic to avoid the potential pesticide exposure, GMO seeds, and toxins from sludge fertilizers. Not being able to buy organically grown food most likely will not be an issue in my lifetime but I have grave concerns for my kids and grandkids. Do you have the same concerns?
I asked my brother-in-law who is a brilliant scientist for his thoughts and will share soon. He did say scientists began to genetically modify seeds to help third world countries with certain vitamin deficiencies. Golden Rice was created to provide Vitamin A to a large population developing illness due to the deficiency. Now the GMO industry has morphed into a different business with different ethical concerns. If you are a scientist or enjoy reading all the data collected about these seeds, feel free to read the references below and share your thoughts.