Friday, June 28, 2013

GM - a threat to wheat exports?

If you’ve been following the GM vs non-GM debate, you’ll be well aware that those espousing the benefits of GM-produce trot out arguments along the lines of ... “in every respect equivalent to conventional produce”, “no harm to human health”, “the only way we can hope to feed the burgeoning human population” and so on.

But in addition to the spin trotted out by Big Farming (e.g. Monsanto and its like), another story is beginning to emerge. The natural wariness with which Europeans (in particular) have approached GM-produce, is proving to be well-founded. For example, in 2006 the presence of GM-strains of rice earmarked for export from the US resulted in BayerCropScience paying out $750 million to 11,000 rice farmers who mounted a class action for loss of income. Now non-approved GM strains of wheat have been identified in fields in Oregon (US), a decade after the trials were halted. The potential damages claim for lost export earnings could dwarf that to the rice farmers, but more to the point, the loss of the wheat export dollar could seriously damage the already fragile US economy.

Then there’s evidence that the Monsanto herbicide “Roundup Ready” developed specifically for use with GM crops is not as benign as we were told. Rather the glyphosate and its metabolites inhibit the major detoxification enzymes in the body and now, adding insult to a lot of injury, the nutritional content of GM produce is demonstrated to be a mere fraction of conventionally farmed produce. 
  • Calcium: GMO corn = 14 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 6,130 ppm (437 times more)
  • Magnesium: GMO corn = 2 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 113 ppm (56 times more)
  • Manganese: GMO corn = 2 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 14 ppm (7 times more)
In short, GM produce needs mandatory labeling immediately and governments need to do a serious rethink over the wisdom of allowing any more GM seeds to be patented or crops to be planted. How likely that is remains open for debate - Big Farming, like Big Pharma donates Big Dollars to politicians, scientists and opinion leaders of all creeds and colours.

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