Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Your New Future: GMO Plants and Food

Please take a moment and read this post. I know it's kind of a downer, and I apologize for that, but it's so important to understand this issue. I actually started this post yesterday and had to walk away from the computer because it really upsets me, this whole GMO thing and alfalfa. So let me see if I can calmly and simply articulate my grave concern over the recent decision by Secretary Vilsak and President Obama to allow Monsanto to move forward with the sale of genetically modified RoundUp Ready alfalfa seeds. And yes, we're talking...

• genetically modified on the cellular level, as in the DNA has been altered with something from outside the plant kindgom
• RoundUp Ready, as in the herbicide that kills ALL living plants, not just weeds, but anything green, growing, and living
• alfalfa, as in the green plant in the photo below that most ALL dairy animals consume (where you get your milk - raw or otherwise) and other animals as well

Photo Credit: cdw9

The Danger Explained


What exactly is RoundUp? RoundUp's active ingredient is a glyphosate that is highly toxic if ingested by humans or animals. 


How does RoundUp work? RoundUp enters the plant through pores on the foliage and then travels through the plant until it inhibits the enzyme EPSP synthase that is needed for the plant to grow. When this enzyme is absent or destroyed, the plant is unable to produce proteins that are essential for growth, so the plant eventually dies. And since almost all plants need this enzyme, most will die from an application of RoundUp - weed or otherwise, thus the warning on the label to avoid spraying it on plants you wish to keep.


How do "RoundUp Ready plants (the term given to plants that survive a RoundUp application) resist the RoundUp from killing them? The plant's DNA determines what kind of enzymes the plant cell produces. So in the case of genetically modified seeds or plants, the scientist alters the DNA so that it produces an enzyme foreign to the plant that is not affected by the glyphosate when RoundUp is sprayed on it. However, keep in mind... 


1. glyphosate still enters the plant and it is still "toxic" to people. No we don't die from it immediately this way, but what exactly is the build up doing in our bodies? We don't know for sure and I have my suspicions based on studies other scientists have been doing. 


2. where are they getting the foreign enzyme from? I'm afraid to ask. It ain't from another plant! Hmmm... I bet you didn't know this... e.coli is used in plant genetic engineering to make copies of a gene construct that is eventually transferred into the plant. Is there any wonder we've been having some many e.coli scares in our food supply lately? Okay, grant it, I can not say it came from the Monsanto lab or their plants, but why such an outbreak over the last few years?  (I'm probably starting to see things in the shadows here; I'll get back on topic.)


Is there anything else we should know about RoundUp? Oh, yes. You're very perceptive! POEA (polyethoxylated tallow amine) is a surfactant that increases herbicide penetration in the plant and... is toxic to wildlife. Yum. It's in your GMO food. How nice.  


Also, plants that are "RoundUp Ready" are patented by Monsanto and thus owned by the Monsanto company. Since this seed usually pollinates openly, it pollinates all the same kind of plants around it: RoundUp Ready corn easily pollinates non-RoundUp Ready corn, making the seeds from those plants the property of Monsanto. 


Photo Credit: Ian Hayhurst


Not a big deal, you say? Farmers have lost all they own when Monsanto sued them for collecting their own seeds and planting them even when they didn't know it had been cross pollinated with RoundUp Ready seed. And what's going to happen when all the corn seed is contaminated with this foreign enzyme? And they want to do this to our alfalfa now?


Oh, and I didn't mention the "Terminator Technology" they acquired when purchasing a small little company that causes the seed to be sterile and not reproduce, which theoretically would require farmers to repurchase seed every year as opposed to saving seeds. I'm not sure where things stand on this at the moment, but if they ever do use this technology, can you see the $$$$ signs written all over this? And the control? Who will own the food if this is to continue? Whoever controls the food, rules the world. Just look at Africa. 


But how is this different front hybridization of plants? Traditionally with hybridization, the DNA is altered or changed by selective "breeding" of like species! Plants were bred with plants. How novel. I will insert here that I suspect (no proof) that even this term is morphing and hybrids are starting to change in how they are developed, so be selective in which hybrids you choose to plant and consume.


Friends, while the issues on this are MANY, the most important issue is not that these plants contains chemicals because the plant is made of chemicals to begin with. The issue is, the food now contains chemicals God never intended for us to consume! (The term "Frankenfood" sums it up best.) I don't know how else to convince someone that this is bad stuff if the information above didn't cause a light to go on and a gut wrenching feeling to creep all over your body! Seriously, it makes me nauseated just thinking about it, so I know this hasn't been a fun and light-hearted read for any of you either. There is so much more to say, but we'll all be sick if I do. Let's move on...

Something You Can Do


• Visit your local nurseries and share with them the dangers of GMO, GM seeds, and plants. If they seem receptive and agree, ask them to remove all Monsanto products from their shelves and send them back as a form of boycotting in order to send Monsanto a message that will impact their finances even if only in a small way. Monsanto is the maker of Round Up and Scotts Miracle-Gro is their exclusive distributor, so boycotting Monsanto means boycotting Scotts.


• Go to Food Democracy Now and sign the petition asking Vilsak and Obama to rescind their previous decision to allow Monsanto to move forward with GM alfalfa.


• Send an email directly to the White House telling them you are AGAINST the advancement of genetically modified alfalfa and why.


• Send an email to Secretary Vilsak's office at AgSec@usda.gov and give him the same message.


Update 2/2/11 (I should have added this to begin with!)
• Purchase non-GMO food as much as possible based on budget and availability. This is how you vote with your dollars and one of the best things you can do. Consider starting a garden this year to grow your own organic food. It will fit your budget and be safer for you and your family.


Thanks for sticking with me to the end here. You've been a real trooper. How about a give-away tomorrow? And feel free to leave your rant in the comments sections, but please, keep it clean (I really had no doubt that you would!).






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