The Problem With GMO's
And how you can reduce your risk. . .
If you live in Canada, you’re likely eating gmo foods – even if you haven’t given it much thought. They’re on the shelves of all major grocery stores.... and labels won’t tell you much. As you plan your garden for this year, you might want to give the issue of GMO's some consideration. Here's why:
Did You Know....
Canada is now the fifth largest producer of gm crops worldwide.
According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), there were 11.6 million hectares of gm crops grown in Canada in 2012. In 2017, approximately 8.81 million hectares of gm canola was seeded in Canada making up 95 percent of all canola seeded that year.
Today, the most common genetically modified crops grown commercially around the world are canola, soybean, corn, cotton and rice. The top four gm crops, in Canada, are canola, soybeans, corn and sugar beets. Our federal government has approved several others which haven.t yet to reached general marketplace.
How is Genetic Modification Used in Food Production Today?
While a very small percentage of gm crops have been engineered to resist insect pests, certain pathogenic viruses or even drought (grain corn) - 85% of GM crops are genetically modified to be herbicide-tolerant.
Most of these plants are designed to tolerate the application of herbicides, especially glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’ chemical herbicide product.) This gm trait built into the dna of the plants makes it possible for the farmer to spray the crop with ‘Roundup’ or another brand of glyphosate product, without his crop getting killed off.
If you’ve ever tried your hand at gardening you’ll appreciate just how much easier it would be to just spray the crop than to pull weeds or hoe the ground to control them!
How Can You Identify Foods Containing GMOs?
The harvest from these crops is used both at home and abroad for many uses. Many of the ingredients found on labels you may not recognize as possible gmo derivatives. For example, corn, both gm and non-gm, is used to produce corn syrup, the artificial sweetener aspartame, glucose, citric acid, and colorings such as beta-carotene and riboflavin.
So, even if the label doesn’t list one of the top four gm crop products, chances are very good that most of the processed foods you buy at the grocery store, do have something derived from a gm plant.
Now, you may be wondering how you can tell for sure . Well, there isn’t any easy way to tell. In Canada, labeling to advise of GMO contents is voluntary. Yet GMO labeling is mandatory in 60 countries. There are good reasons for this requirement.
Major Concerns With GMOs Today
At first these new herbicide tolerant crops were like a dream come true. They worked quite well - but living things tend to adapt and change.
Over the years, the weeds that glyphosate once easily wiped out, became increasingly tolerant to the herbicide. The initial response was to apply more herbicide to do the job, but that’s no longer effective. Today, there are five common weeds that the spray no longer controls.
Yet, there’s more.
A group of 70 scientists, doctors, and other health professionals have revealed studies in humans reporting associations between exposure to the herbicide with increased risks of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, birth defects, and other reproductive problems. Researchers have found the most popular gyphosate herbicide contains an “inert” ingredient capable of killing human cells - particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.
That’s cause for concern.
Even so, herbicide sales in Canada have increased by 130% since GM crops have been introduced.
Now, they’re likely to grow even more.
What’s Being Done To Fix the Problem?
Seed and chemical companies have joined forces to solve the herbicide resistance problem. Dow AgroSciences recently got the green light from federal officials to sell its new ‘Enlist’ brand of GMO corn and soybeans, both engineered to be resistant to glyphosate as well as to another herbicide... 2,4-D. What the gyphosate won’t kill, the 2,4-D ought to... so the thinking goes...
The USDA has estimated that the introduction of these new GMO corn and soybean crops will at least triple the use of 2,4-D. They predict that it, over the next five years, could boost usage to more than six times the current amounts. Is Canada likely to be far behind?
The large seed and chemical suppliers are poised to cash in, once again. It’s been a profitable strategy for them.
Why Are GM Crops so Widespread?
Who buys most of the seed?
If you want to sell more seed, what better way than to find a problem farmers have and present a simple and easy solution? In terms of dollar profits, it’s been a brilliant strategy. After all, weed control is the number one production challenge most farmers face.
Glyphosate herbicides kill plants, so using this herbicide as the introduction of gm crops made for a much easier entrance into the marketplace. Farmers were eager to have their number one production issue solved .
After all, it saved them several costly passes over the fields, reducing both equipment and labour costs. At just a few dollars an acre and just one or two quick spray applications clean fields could be had...
But what about food and health.... you may ask...
What can you do if you want to reduce your exposure to gm foods?
Here’s What You Can Do To Reduce Your Exposure
- try growing your own food using non-gmo seed, or garden-ready plants grown from non-gmo seeds.
- grow and save seed from heritage and heirloom varieties to ensure non gmo seed and varieties continue to be available in the future.
purchase as much of your food as possible from known sources, direct from the grower. Ask questions to find out what practises they follow.
- Ask more questions about what exactly is in your food and then buy accordingly.
- Join our veggie box program today to secure your share of the harvest ( :
Here at Green Hart Farms, we‘re not comfortable eating gmo’s, so we source and plant non-gmo seed for all our crops. We eat what we grow... and we invite you to share in our harvest