Will the Foods We Eat Ultimately Kill Us?

What do the Chinese and Russians know that we don’t? They know if their foods contain genetically modified ingredients. More than 60 nations now require labeling of genetically modified foods, including almost all of the world’s developed countries. Not us.

If you want to know how powerful seed companies like Monsanto are, you simply have to stroll the aisles of a grocery store in the United States and try to find any kind of label on any food that discloses that the contents contain genetically modified foods. They don’t exist.

So it was crazy-making to me yesterday that the United States Department of Agriculture declared that it would do exactly the opposite of labeling foods that contain GM ingredients — it will instead certify foods that do not contain genetically modified ingredients. But even worse, the USDA is going to charge for that label. Oh, and it’s voluntary.

The companies that are trying to do the right thing and avoid genetically modified ingredients will have to pay for the privilege of certification. Ooops, I got that wrong — you will have to pay for it, because manufacturers will be forced to pass on those costs.

Genetically modified foods have never been adequately tested to assure their safety, although “mainstream science” says they are no different from nongenetically modified foods. At least that was part of the argument against labeling until the World Health Organization declared a few weeks ago that Roundup, the world’s most widely used product to control weeds, may be a cause of cancer.

Here’s where the link to genetically modified foods comes in — Monsanto, the largest producer of GM seeds, especially for corn and soybeans, builds in genetic resistance in its seeds to Roundup. So the seeds are specifically designed to be used with Roundup, and are even marketed as “Roundup Ready.” As those GM plants grow, they are doused regularly with the herbicide. Therefore, the genetically modified foods you likely are consuming without your knowledge were also likely grown in fields kept weed-free by a suspected carcinogen.

Meanwhile, nature always wins, especially when it comes to weeds. That’s why resistant superweeds are starting to infiltrate those same Roundup Ready fields. As that happens, agribusiness is forced to add other herbicides, many of them more powerful, to their Roundup cocktail.

GM crops have put our food supply in a tenuous and increasingly uncertain feedback cycle of consequences, and the very least we all deserve is the information to know exactly what we’re buying in a grocery store. Of course, you could short-circuit the whole problem by never buying anything in a box, plastic bag or can.

To your health and wealth,

Stephen L. Petranek
for The Daily Reckoning

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