If we consider why that uneasy feeling is in our gut, then look at what we’ve been eating and you’ll likely find corn and wheat are in what was recently consumed.
Herbicides and Insecticides in Food
In 1996 the USDA approved Monsanto’s first genetically engineered seed for use. Biotechnology firms had figured out they can infuse the food we eat with genetic strings that kill insects and prevent invasive weeds. So the genetic substance of the food eaten has been modified, hence we have Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), sometimes known as Genetically Engineered (GE).
If you haven’t been paying attention to your food lately, biotechnology giants such as Monsanto thank you for that. Because behind your back, they’ve succeeded in replacing 93% of US corn with their patented insecticide-producing “frankencorn”.
The industry name for this is “Bt corn” and the insecticide is actually produced inside the plant, so it is impossible to wash it off. This is accomplished by inserting genes from the bacteria Bacillus Thuringiensis into the corn.
Up until now, scientists and multinational corporations such as Monsanto and DuPont have spent billions in lobbying, campaign donations and “testing” in an attempt to convince world governments that GMOs are safe. In the case of Bt corn, they stated the insecticide produced within the corn posed no danger to human health because it was broken down in the digestive system.
The effect for the insects is their stomachs explode when they ingest the plants. The entire plant is an insecticide.
How Much Genetically Engineered is Planted?
Here are some charts from the USDA tracking GE crops since the introduction in 1996.
Adoption of all biotech corn accounted for 93 percent of corn acreage in 2014.
Its not just corn! As you can see from this chart other US crops are affected. If you can imagine this is what is happening around the world – the entire world’s food supply is affected.
What is Michigan Producing?
These charts were created from the data available for Michigan on Corn and Soybean crops.
The Monsanto Company has two major types of genetically modified crops with two different aims: one is genetically engineered in a lab to withstand large doses of chemical herbicides while the second actually produces insect-killing Bt toxins within the plant.
The latter type of food is not as widespread, in large part because consumers simply are not comfortable with the fact that they would be ingesting a food that has been artificially altered to produce its own insect-killing toxin.
For that reason, most Bt toxin-producing GMO crops (mostly corn) are used as animal feed and in processed foods. But how much toxicity are you getting in foods produced with these crops?
The Bt soybean is not commercially available in America as they haven’t been approved, but a recent ruling by the EPA has activists concerned about a possible high level of toxicity in these GMO plants.
The EPA has officially ruled that Monsanto’s Bt soybean will be exempt from any pre-established safety level of measurable Bt pesticide proteins.
EPA granted an exemption from the requirement to establish a maximum permissible level for residues of the Bt protein, Cry2Ab2, in or on soybean, according to the final rule written by EPA’s Jack Housenger, director of the Office of Pesticide Programs.
The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday.
There are currently no Bt soybean varieties approved for commercial use in the U.S.
Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences both have Bt soybean varieties, which are primarily sold in South America. According to a Monsanto spokesperson, the federal register announcement is an experimental use permits the company is pursuing with the EPA.
Government collusion with and favoritism toward Monsanto are just two of the reasons why millions of protesters worldwide are expected to take to the streets on May 23, 2015. To find a list of marches near you check out the events link here.