In Shakespeare’s famous play Hamlet the title character gives the famous line, “To be or not be: that is the question.” in Act III scene 1. Hamlet contemplates suicide and avenging his father’s death. I would like to look at GMOs and whether we should promote them, control them, or outlaw them from humanity.
The explanation: Some people may say, “What in the world is a GMO? Is it a fancy car or an abbreviation for some sports league?” In simple terms a GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. They are plants or animals that man has genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses, or other plants and animals. They are experimental and these combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
The expectation: GMO advocates claim several benefits which have to do with greater tolerance of pests, herbicides, cold, and drought. They speak of having more food for people in third world countries, which sounds great and is a noble goal. However, lofty promises do not always materialize into reality. Expectation must be examined under the microscope of truth to properly analyze how good or bad something really is. As mom used to say, “The proof is in the pudding.”
The environment: A great majority (80%) of GMOs grown worldwide are designed for herbicide tolerance. It has increased the use of toxic herbicides. Unfortunately, GMO crops have developed the appearance of “super weeds” and “super bugs:” which can only be killed with stronger toxic poisons like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange). These products that are part of chemical agriculture are made and sold by big chemical companies. Their impact on our future is unknown and they cannot be taken back once released. So, we must ask ourselves, why are we allowing this?
The enslavement: Since GMOs are unique creations the biotechnology companies have gotten patents which restrict their use. Unfortunately, they have the power to sue farmers who’s fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of an inevitable drift from neighboring fields. This creates a great threat to the sovereignty of our farmers and to the national food security of our country.
The education: People need to do their homework to find non-GMO foods; but, since labeling is not required in the United States that can be difficult. With increasing awareness and pressure on law makers, hopefully that will soon change. There are over 25 countries which have a ban on GMO’s and about sixty more that have major restrictions on them.
The evaluation: When you look at increasing number of nations that ban or limit their use you wonder why more is not done in our own country. With the mounting evidence and concerns being raised the time has come for strict controls or a total ban on GMO’s in the United States. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.
Ultimately you can make your own decision as a consumer. I would suggest you do what is best for you and your family with the whole long term picture in mind. To paraphrase Hamlet “to use GMO or not to use GMO that is question.” My answer is a resounding no way!
By Kurt LaCapruccia, DR Vitamin Solutions