GM Food Right Not To Eat It

GM Food Right Not To Eat It


I attend the Organic Festival, which was put on by the Soil Association, in Bristol, England when it is put on. While I was there in 2011 I was given an leaflet which said we had “a right to eat and plant GM-free food”.   We are told that we need it so that we can feed those in Africa, etc who do not have enough.

But the facts do no support this.    The big chemical firms want us to believe this as it puts more power in their hands and allows them to dictate to farmers where they should buy their seed, if they can store it, and in many cases take over their farms.

It give the:

10 BIG MYTHS About GM Food and crops

1 We need GM Food to feed a growing world population.
The vast majority of the world’s crops are not GM – GM is only planted on about 2.75% of global agricultural land. Most of this goes to animal feed, fibre and industrial scale agrofuels. What’s left is in processed food (primarily unlabelled in North America). The current push for GM is about a failing industry trying to save itself. The world’s underlying approach to food should not be about market control, patents and profit. Feeding the world means tackling poverty, improving access to the food we already produce, ending the waste of 30-40% of the world’s food, reducing losses in storage, making trade fairer, curbing overconsumption and investing in effective research. We don’t need GM to do any of this.

2 GM food helps farmers grow more in droughts and fight climate change.

All crops need the right mix of sun, water and healthy soil to produce a good yield – GM cannot change this. Despite many promises and billions of pounds spent over decades on research, not a single GM drought tolerant crop has been developed that farmers can grow. Traditional plant breeding, using modern techniques, has produced successful drought tolerant crops in fields where farmers need them now.

3 GM Food delivers more food on less land.

No current GM crops have been shown to boost yields. Independent US studies show up to 10% less yield in GM soya – manipulating a few genes gives unpredictable results. Increased yields in the past decade are due to developments in traditional plant breeding, not GM.

4 GM food helps farmers use less chemicals.

Herbicide tolerant crops: Initially GM did reduce the use of weedkillers, but weeds quickly developed resistance to the chemicals used on GM crops. The resulting “superweeds” are forcing farmers to use more chemicals, including older, more dangerous ones, at considerable expense. Some US GM cotton farmers have to hand weed whole fields when chemicals stop working. Insecticide crops: GM maize and cotton are engineered to produce toxins in every part of the plant – including the parts we eat. This is a change in the way pesticides are used, not a reduction. The toxins kill some insect pests, but not all, and Monsanto now admits that pink bollworm in parts of India is resistant to GM cotton. Yet emerging evidence shows Bt toxins may harm non-target insects (like butterflies), and there are serious concerns about the safety of the Bt toxins for human health.

5 EU opposition to GM Food is holding back developing countries (or, it’s only well-fed activists who oppose GM).

The Indian Government put an indefinite moratorium on GM brinjal (aubergine) -a flagship project for the GM industry-until safety questions are answered. There are GM bans, active protests and legal opposition in Thailand, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Mexico, South Africa, Kenya, Argentina and elsewhere. EU opposition to GM leads the way, showing that GM agriculture is not inevitable because citizens have the right to make our own decisions about what we grow and eat.

6 The EU is going to be left behind in science if we don’t do GM Food (or, we need GM Food for our economy).

GM hasn’t delivered. Farmer training needs to be improved right around the world, including in the UK. Rather than throw good money after bad, the UK should establish centres of excellence in areas like soil husbandry and advanced traditional plant breeding to lead the world in a more sustainable and equitable approach to managing farmland and forests.

7 GM Food is safe – they’ve been eating GM in the US for years and no one has ever been hurt.
GM is unlabelled and untraced in the US food supply, so there is no way to determine where GM is going or what health impacts it might be having, or even how much GM Food is actually being eaten. It is impossible to study, so this claim has no scientific basis.

8 People are changing their minds about GM Foods.

When US dairies started labelling their milk as free from GM hormones, they were so popular Monsanto went to court to get them banned. They failed. A 2010 NOP poll showed 89% support for labels on animal products in the UK showing where GM feed is used, like they have in Austria and Germany. If the GM industry believes people are changing their minds, they have nothing to fear from using such labels and letting the market decide.

9 We need GM to keep food prices down and meat industry going.

It was not a lack of GM that caused prices to go up – GM was produced throughout the 2007/8 price rises. Regional droughts, diverting food crops into industrial scale biofuels, financial speculation in food markets and the rising costs of fertilisers and fuel were key contributors, but GM Foods can’t fix these. The EU has become far too dependent on imported animal feed, much of it GM. Policies favour a highly concentrated industrial farm model that has resulted in poor animal welfare and forces smaller farmers out of business. We need a more accountable and responsible food production system. Research across the EU is helping us find the kind of crops and breeds we need to be less dependent on importing GM animal feed and exporting the damage it does to communities and the environment in far away countries.

10 Opposition to GM Food is based on emotion (or politics), not sound science.

The US and Indian courts are showing that the science behind GM Food is far from sound, particularly when approvals have been based on safety dossiers provided by the industry itself. In any case, citizens are not obliged to accept whatever is scientifically possible. Non-GM Food alternatives do the scientific job better, with less risk and no public rejection, keeping farmers and consumers on the same side so everyone benefits.

GM FOOD FOR ANIMAL FEED

The hidden GM in your trolley

When GM Food hit supermarket shelves people rejected it. Today it is hard to find food with GM ingredients shops can’t sell what people won’t buy. There is a hidden exception: milk, cheese, meat and eggs from animals raised on GM feed do not legally need a GM label. So there is no way to tell if your pint of milk or ready meal supported the GM industry.
Since people reject GM as food, the vast majority of GM crops (around 80%) have no place to go except into animal feed, Yet we simply don’t know the extent of the many problems with GM crops, including:
* GM Food not proved safe
Industry safety claims are based on their own, not independent, data. National authorities are not testing food either to find GM or to confirm independent studies showing GM damage to animals’ guts, lower nutritional value and allergic reactions or reactions in immune systems. GM DMA from feed can pass into animals’ blood. Pesticides in GM animal feed are not routinely monitored, so we don’t know what our livestock are eating. We do know the maximum legal residue limit for weedkiller glyphosate in food was raised 200% when GM soya came on the market.
• Environment damage
GM herbicide tolerant crops have accelerated the development of weedkiller resistance. There are now 140 types of herbicide tolerant “superweeds” in 40 US states, with 13 species resistant to glyphosate, and even the industry admits it takes older, more dangerous chemicals to control them.
« Corporate control
Patented GM crops give companies like Monsanto and Bayer unprecedented control over the supply of seeds and food. They say we need GM animal feed to keep costs down, but GM prices I spiked just as steeply as non-
J*A GM in 2007/08 – and we pay them even more to avoid it.
Our right to choose another way
Without clear labels, you don’t know where the GM feed is used.
While we look for better ways to feed our animals (like feeding cows grass and clover), Brazil alone grows enough non-GM soya for at least 80% of the EU’s needs without further damaging the Amazon – we don’t need GM.
Austrian and German shoppers have labels on non-GM fed foods, and France and Ireland are introducing them soon.
Supermarkets say it is too confusing to give consumers the information what they want. Your supermarket can and should insist that the dairy, meat, fish and eggs they sell are produced without GM crops and back this up with clear GM-Free labels.

Tell supermarkets to ditch GM Food once and for all

A sample letter, updated campaign information and email and postal addresses are all available at www.gmfreeze.org or directly from us on 0845 217 8992 .

They say to concentrate on the supermarkets, but this is only because most people buy their foods from them. I would say search out Farmers Markets or go to small privately owned local shops where you can ask about what they sell. They are unlikely to sell GM Food as they know most people do not want them.

But not wanting GM Foods does not mean that they are whole heatedly for organic food. Many people see the popularity of a trends such as organic foods, but do not espouse the organic movement as such and only buy it when they think they can afford it and it is usually from supermarkets that they buy it.

A lot of programs on the BBC recently have looked at both GM Food and Organic ones and this topic will be looked at in the next post.


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