1 widespread public outrage: indignation, fury, anger, rage, disapproval, wrath, resentment.
2 it is an outrage: scandal, offense, insult, injustice, disgrace.
3 the bomb outrage: atrocity, act of violence/wickedness, crime, wrong, barbarism, inhumane act.
his remarks outraged his parishioners: enrage, infuriate, incense, anger, scandalize, offend, give offense to, affront, shock, horrify, disgust, appall.
Outraged is an understatement however, the above dictionary definition and all its synonyms is dead-on as to how I feel. And you should too!
For some time now, GMOs have been an intellectual hobby of mine. In certain circles, this is a hot topic and online discussion forums, as well as comment sections can get downright nasty regarding this subject. Also, if you’ve been paying attention, this is a heavily political topic. I’ve made it my business to know most all of the inaccurate information surrounding GMOs and consider myself more-than-well-informed on the subject.
I am currently reading The World According to Monsanto by award-winning French journalist and filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin. And my husband is reading Altered Genes, Twisted Truth by American public interest attorney Steven Druker. Both paint a similar picture. I must admit, I started off reading Altered Genes, and found it rather challenging to keep my interest. I am interested don’t get me wrong however, it’s a rather tedious read. Therefore my husband picked it up and I moved on to The World According to Monsanto.
To really dive into this subject and make an educated decision, you need to know a few things.
GMO 101 (1)
What’s a GMO?
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, hence they are also known as transgenic organisms. This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.
What foods are GM?
Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include:
Sugar beets (95%)
Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%)
Zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres)
* GMO apples and potatoes are also on the market, with more and more crops being tested everyday.
What are other sources of GMOs?
Products derived from the above, including oils from all four, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup among others. Also:
¥ meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed (and the majority of the GM corn and soy is used for feed)
¥ dairy products from cows injected with rbGH (Bovine Growth hormone)
¥ food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet) and rennet used to make hard cheeses; and
¥ honey and bee pollen that may have GM sources of pollen.
What combinations have been tried?
It is now possible for plants to be engineered with genes taken from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Scientists have worked on some interesting combinations:
¥ Spider genes were inserted into goat DNA, in hopes that the goat milk would contain spider web protein for use in bulletproof vests.
¥ Cow genes turned pigskins into cowhides.
¥ Jellyfish genes lit up pigs’ noses in the dark.
¥ Arctic fish genes gave tomatoes and strawberries tolerance to frost.
¥ Potatoes that glowed in the dark when they needed watering.
¥ Human genes were inserted into corn to produce spermicide.
I’m sure your next question is – Are they safe? And that’s where the scientific “debate” begins. First, it’s important to know the company largely responsible for GMOs is Monsanto. (They certainly have the largest share of GMOs seeds and have sought for the most government patents.) Monsanto is a company with a history of making toxic chemicals, many of them carcinogenic (cancer causing). They have lied about the safety of their toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, stating for as long as they could (until studies came out proving otherwise) that their products were safe.
A few include:
What is it? – PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) belong to a family of man-made organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. They were first used by Monsanto in the 1920’s to produce coolant fluids for widely used electric transformers, capacitors, and electric motors. They were domestically manufactured from 1929 to 1979, at which point they were banned.
Why is it bad? – PCBs have been linked to causing cancer as well as contributing to a number of adverse health effects on the human immune systems, reproductive systems, nervous systems, and endocrine systems.
Where is it being used? – Banned since 1979, PCBs are no longer being used, but their damage continues to persist, as a 2011 study showed that they are still being found in the blood of pregnant women. Prior to the ban, PCBs were found in widely used items such as, but not limited to: cable insulation, caulking, plastics, adhesives, and oil-based paints.
I don’t think these need much of an explanation as to what they are, why they are bad, or where they are being used, but it is interesting to look at Monsanto’s involvement. Shortly after they acquired Thomas & Hochwalt Laboratories, Monsanto developed a department that played a key role in the Manhattan project from 1943 to 1945. The Manhattan Project was responsible for producing the first atomic bombs for the Second World War.
What is it? – DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was a commonly used pesticide designed to combat malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Monsanto just happened to be one of the first manufacturers of the insecticide that would later fall under heavy scrutiny.
Why is it bad? – Banned in 1972, DDT has been linked to damaging the liver, reducing reproductive success, and causing temporary damages to the nervous system – amongst others.
Where is it being used? – Unfortunately, DDT can often take more than 15 years to break down and is still being found in some soils and many waterways. Our exposure to it would more than likely come through consuming contaminated fish and crops, or through atmospheric deposition.
What is it? – Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that some see as amongst the most toxic chemicals known to science. Monsanto found themselves involved in 1945 when they began promoting the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture.
Why is it bad? – Dioxins are most notably bad for their ability to accumulate in the food chain, and an EPA report confirmed dioxins as a cancer hazard to humans.
Where is it being used? – Rather than used, dioxins are primarily being found in meat and dairy products due to how integrated they have become within the food chain.
What is it? – A herbicide/defoliant primarily used as a form of chemical warfare during the Vietnam War. Monsanto conveniently happened to be one of the two major manufacturers of the lethal weapon.
Why is it bad? – Agent Orange is said to be responsible for over 400,000 deaths and 500,000 birth defects with over a million suffering from health problems of some kind. Agent Orange’s issue lay in its dioxin contamination – something that Monsanto apparently knew about when it sold it to the US Government for use in war.
Where is it being used? – The implications of Agent Orange in Vietnam are still being felt, with a formal cleanup effort not beginning until 2012. A shocking side note is that some chemicals found in Agent Orange can still be found in certain herbicides being used today.
What is it? – RoundUp herbicide, also known as Glyphosate (a major component of Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide), is the most widely used herbicide around the world. It was in 1970 that Monsanto founded their agricultural chemicals division with RoundUp being their prized herbicide.
Why is it bad? – Glyphosate has been linked to cancer in several studies due to its properties as a potential endocrine disruptor – chemicals that can interfere with the hormonal system of mammals. These disruptors can cause development disorders, birth defects, and cancerous tumors.
Where is it being used? – RoundUp is approved and still widely used today to destroy and control weeds. It can be found in our groundwater, soil, streams, and even in the air.
Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
What is it? – Developed by Monsanto, rBGH is a genetically modified hormone that is injected into dairy cows to produce more milk.
Why is it bad? – By artificially increasing milk production, rBGH also raises the levels of pus, antibiotic residues, and a cancer-accelerating hormone called IGF-1. When consumed by humans it continues to act as a cancer accelerator and has been linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
Where is it being used? – rBGH is still being used to this day and is normally injected into dairy cows every other week.
Remember, all of these products were professed to be completely safe until they were proven not to be.
NOW my question to you –
Would you want to eat anything engineered by this company?
Would you want your children to eat anything engineered by this company?
Would you want your family to eat anything engineered by this company?
If you are still not convinced, how about mentioning that in order to get many of their products on the market, approved by the FDA, as well as purchased by the US government (in the case of Agent Orange) Monsanto falsified studies, withheld critical information, claimed ignorance, altered studies as well as engaged in obscenely unjust and unsavory behavior.
It’s also important to note that in order to get approval from the FDA (for example GMOs), corporations must submit their own research, data, and studies. The FDA does not investigate, test or study the product being assessed. They review the information provided by the very company submitting their product for approval. The FDA may ask or require additional information, and it may or may not be given. I’m not sure about you, but doesn’t this “system” also seem to be an open door for forged data, inaccurate studies, and “take our word for it” guarantees? You may find that the items they approve are less about safety and more about lining the pockets of big corporations. No third (unbiased) party conducts any inquiry into the product being reviewed. Monsanto knows this and has falsified numerous studies and reports about its various chemicals and products.
Monsanto has also bankrupted countless farmers. GMO contamination is the biggest risk that organic farmers face today. They risk losing markets that demand GMO-Free foods, or even decertification. Adding insult to injury, farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs were forced to pay for the patented genetic material. The agribusiness giant Monsanto even hires “GMO Police” to test fields that are suspected of cross contamination. Farmers with contaminated fields are actually sued for patent infringement. (3)
Monsanto has discredited and disgraced the professional reputations of numerous scientists, research experts, whistleblowers and anyone speaking out against the company. Attending a talk by Monsanto’s Dr. William “Bill” Moar, Stephanie Hampton writer for the Daily KOS witnesses the following:
One student asked what Monsanto was doing to counter the “bad science” around their work. Dr. Moar, perhaps forgetting that this was a public event, then revealed that Monsanto indeed had “an entire department” (waving his arm for emphasis) dedicated to “debunking” science which disagreed with theirs. As far as I know this is the first time that a Monsanto functionary has publically admitted that they have such an entity which brings their immense political and financial weight to bear on scientists who dare to publish against them. The Discredit Bureau will not be found on their official website. (4)
Monsanto has infiltrated the FDA – the very people who determine the safety of our food. Michael R. Taylor is the current Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA and has been a lawyer for and great supporter of Monsanto. I find this a huge conflict of interest.
For more conflicts of interest within the government and Monsanto, see the link attached to Note #5 at the bottom of the page.
Monsanto has also been dumping their toxic chemicals, industrial waste, and run-offs into lakes, streams, and landfills of its plants neighboring towns in the US and Europe for decades. No, they didn’t tell anyone about that either. Those living in the “infected” areas are subject to cancer, birth defects, allergies and a whole host of other nasty and potentially fatal ailments. Not to mention mass animal causalities. Because of this deplorable and irresponsible practice, not only were water sources contaminated but the soil and air as well in the surrounding areas. (6)
As recently as December of 2016, Washington state filed to sue Monsanto “over pervasive pollution from PCBs.” (7)
Monsanto is looking to not only monopolize the food industry but to patent Mother Nature. Every argument in support of GMOs is only a smokescreen to confuse people and distract everyone from the truth: GMOs are completely unnecessary and solely designed for profit.
A few of the pro-GMO arguments are:
GMOs will end world hunger.
The world has more than enough food to feed itself. The problem is NOT lack of food; the problem is the poor can’t afford it. Many think this is a third world problem, but it’s not. America throws away at least a third of the food we grow and yet many Americans go hungry. It’s an economic, distribution and poverty problem. (8)
As an example, taken from the article sourced below: Some time ago “Golden Rice” was engineered to be a source of Vitamin A (one of the nutrients most malnourished are deficient in) for the world’s hungry.
Golden rice will not grow in the kinds of soil that it must to be of value to the world’s hungry. To grow properly, it requires heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides — expensive inputs unaffordable to the very people that the variety is supposed to help. And we’ve also learned that golden rice requires large amounts of water — water that might not be available in precisely those areas where Vitamin A deficiency is a problem, and where farmers cannot afford costly irrigation projects.
. . . it turns out that golden rice doesn’t work, even in theory. Malnourished people are not able to absorb Vitamin A in this form. And even if they could, they’d have to eat an awful lot of the stuff. An 11-year-old boy would have to eat 27 bowls of golden rice a day in order to satisfy his minimum requirement for the vitamin.
While Monsanto would like us to believe they are seeking to alleviate world hunger, there is actually a very dark side to the company’s efforts. For countless centuries farmers have fed humanity by saving the seed from one year’s crop to plant the following year. But Monsanto, the company that claims its motives are to help feed the hungry, has developed what it calls a “Technology Protection System” that renders seeds sterile. Commonly known as “terminator technology” and developed with taxpayer funding by the USDA and Delta & Pine Land Company (an affiliate of Monsanto), the process genetically alters seeds so that their offspring will be sterile for all time. If employed, this technology would ensure that farmers cannot save their own seeds, but would have to come back to Monsanto year after year to purchase new ones. (9)
GMOs use fewer pesticides.
Initially, this was their argument however, studies have shown that GMO crops require more pesticides than organic crops. Mother Nature you see, has and always will win. Now, there are RoundUp resistant weeds and pests – known as Super Weeds, which require increased levels of pesticides. To battle these Super Weeds and Bugs, the answer is apparently more and more toxic chemicals that do not just kill the intended weeds and pests, but seep into the ground, float in the air and in our water and are absorbed by us. Glyphosate (the primary ingredient in RoundUp) has been found in breast milk. (10)
GMOs are more nutritious, provide greater yields (11) and are drought resistant.
Actually, the opposite is true. GMOs are less nutritious, provide equal to or less than yields and are indeed not drought resistant.
GMOs and traditional breeding are the same.
In fact, is also untrue. This is difficult to sum up in layman’s terms. Unfortunately, folks like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bull Gates have this wrong. But in their defense they are not farmers, nor scientists of agriculture. Tyson is an astrophysicist and cosmologist. Gates is a business magnate, investor, author, and philanthropist.
In a nutshell, GMOs happen in a laboratory and do not exist in Mother Nature. GMOs are the result of splicing the genes/DNA of one organism with DNA from a completely different organism like a virus or bacteria for a desired trait. (12) (Return to the beginning of this paper and review What is a GMO? and What combinations have been tried?) The bottom line is when cutting and pasting something Mother Nature has perfected, there are bound to be consequences.
Monsanto is in this game only to make money, and to serve their shareholders. Monsanto’s Technology Stewardship Agreement shifts responsibility to growers for any and all losses, injury or damages resulting from the use of Monsanto seeds. There is no expiration date on the contract. The grower may terminate the contract, but: “Grower’s responsibilities and the other terms herein shall survive…” (13)
As of March 2017, the latest news surrounding Monsanto is that the corporation and an official from the EPA may have worked together to shut down a cancer study surrounding the carcinogenic product RoundUp. It’s also speculated that Monsanto may have ghost-written two reports that were submitted to the EPA about RoundUp. (14)
Answer me this: why do we want a dishonest, corrupt, malicious, toxic, self-serving, virus-like company to have anything to do with our food supply? And yet, here we are.
In fact, GMOs are completely and utterly unnecessary. They have no purpose other than creating a monopoly on our food as well as extreme profit for the compnaies associated with them.
My final argument: if GMOs are so wonderful, then why is Monsanto and supporting companies like the Grocery Manufactures Association fighting so hard against labeling? This is a typical Monsanto tactic. They profess safety (usually in full knowledge to the contrary) until overwhelming studies prove them wrong and the government has little choice but to ban the product. If GMOs were indeed so wonderful, then why wouldn’t they be shouting from the rooftops about their wonderful product, instead of surreptitiously manufacturing them into our food supply?
The bottom line is this – I don’t want to eat GMOs and that’s my right, just like you have the right to eat them if you wish. In fact, if you really want to eat them, I’ll support you. However, I do not. I, alone choose what I eat and what I put into my body. Not a self-serving corporation with a deceptive legacy that supports toxic and carcinogenic chemicals.
My husband, Michael and I have had countless conversations about GMOs. He is a scientist and a doctor. As my editor, I have included a meaningful paragraph written by him.
Being skeptical of GMO’s is NOT anti-science. Period. It should be infuriating to people who support science that Monsanto is using them to spread their propaganda. Social media is full of “pro-science” minions who attack anyone with concerns about GMO’s. To lump people who question the safety of GMO’s with people who are “anti-vaccination” is just plain lazy and wrong. I think that anyone who has actually looked at the small sample of poorly designed and heavily biased studies would conclude that there are many questions about the efficacy of GMO’s that have not been adequately answered. There clearly isn’t enough data to allow GMO’s to be classified as “Generally Regarded as Safe”. This is legislation that will allow any new GMO’s to avoid proving their safety before they are sold to consumers. There has not been one properly designed, peer-reviewed, longterm study concerning the efficacy of GMO’s. I don’t know why internet “scientists” continue to overlook this fact.
What can I do?
• Educate yourself on what products contain GMOs (a large amount of processed food).
• Vote with your dollars.
• Buy organic and Non-GMO Project verified products.
• Know what symbols (UDSA Organic & Non-GMO Project verified) to look for.
• Know how to read a food label.
• Know where your food comes from.
• Get to know your local farmer, dairy, and butcher.
• Go to your local Farmers Market.
• Get involved, know food issues and contact your government officials.
• Ask questions and don’t assume.
• Motto of Portage Bay Café in Seattle: Eat like you give a damn!
Amazon Link to book: The World According to Monsanto
Amazon Link to book: Altered Genes Twisted Truth
Worth While GMO and Food Documentaries:
Cooked (Michael Pollen’s 4 part series on Netflix)
The World According to Monsanto
Vanishing of the Bees
Follow my business Facebook page – Labuznik, where I post the latest news on GMO’s
(1) Source and for more information, please visit: Institute For Responsible Technology
(5) https://www.metabunk.org/partially-debunked-list-of-monsanto-employees-in- government.t3664/
(8) World Health Organization link: http://www.who.int/trade/glossary/story028/en/#
(10) Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/bethhoffman/2013/07/02/gmo-crops-mean-more -herbicide-not-less/
Additional link: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/superweeds/