Where GMOs Went Wrong - and Why You Should Avoid Them

“Norman Borlaug was a very good scientist,” began one of my Tomorrow in Review readers in a recent email. He was referring to one of the saviors of the U.S. economy to whom we paid tribute back in May.

“There are lots of good, great, even brilliant ideas in today’s world,” he continued. “However, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean it should be done.”

You’ll remember that Norman Borlaug was the Nobel laureate, often called “father of the Green Revolution” and “agriculture’s greatest spokesman.” Throughout the 1900s, his work with refining how to grow crops helped feed more people than anyone living (some put the figure at a billion-plus lives).

“[But Borlaug] was looking at only one aspect of the human condition,” continues our reader.

“The wheat Borlaug developed was highly successful and reduced famine as you stated. However, it has been further modified by chemical companies and is not healthy to consume.”

Said differently, it’s not the same strain of daily bread you asked for in the Lord’s Prayer.

The reader is talking about Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs — food whose DNA has been altered by genetic engineering to produce their own pesticides or withstand potent doses of herbicides. In addition, GMOs may also be altered to make food fatter and juicier, or of a certain color… Anything really. As you can see in the chart below, most of America’s largest crops now derive from GMO seeds.

Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.(Above) HT means the crop is “herbicide tolerant”; BT means it’s insect resistant.
Plus: 90% of canola oil in the U.S. is now GMO-based

Let’s add to that context a little more, because our reader is onto something:

Agro-chemical companies have now also become the largest seed producers, with three corporations — Du Ponte, Monsanto and Syngenta — dominating 53% of the worldwide proprietary seed market.

The poster child, also considered the most-hated company in the world, as you may know, is Monsanto. It accounts for about 90% of the GMO industry’s market share.

But it’s not making money or dominating the playing field that’s got people up-in-arms. It’s what these companies are getting away with, and how they’re doing it. Our reader continues…

“Our government and governments around the world have become prostitutes to large multi-national corporations. The health of humans does not matter to these multi-national corporations… only the money rings their bell.”

This is perhaps most obvious when you consider that GMOs can violate your private property rights. Our in-house, Emmy award-winning reporter, Dave Gonigam, puts it eloquently:

The wind routinely blows Monsanto’s GMO seeds onto the property of farmers trying to grow non-GMO crops. That’s bad enough, but rather than compensate those farmers for the contamination, Monsanto turns around and sues them for patent infringement. Over the last decade, the company dragged 410 farmers from 27 states into court.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion… in favor of Monsanto.

Joel Salatin, the organic farmer from Virginia who gained a following through the documentary Food, Inc., makes a splendid analogy: “Can you imagine somebody in a community with a male dog, who let him loose from his leash and he went through the community and bred 10 of his neighbors’ female species, can you imagine all those 10 female species’ owners going to the guy that released his male dog and paying him for genetic material?”

And if that weren’t bad enough, the pesticides and herbicides these GMOs are programmed to resist aren’t even doing what they’re supposed to…

Over 500 species of bugs are resistant to pesticides, and roundup resistance weeds are ravaging the U.S. — like the invasive Pigweed, for example, which can bathe in weed killer and still grow up to 3 inches in a single day.

Wrapping up, our reader asks: “Exactly who should test these ‘modified’ foods to see if they are healthy or pose a risk to humanity?” Well, a thoughtful question deserves a thoughtful response.

I first got a hint of how much trouble the public was in when I was recommended an old, weathered, nearly un-findable book… yet so profound as it should be in every library in the country. It was recommended by a 96-year-old Florida man who was in virtually perfect physical and mental condition.

This man grew his own crops, studied daily, was a prolific artist, and sharper than most smart kids in their 20s. The book he recommended to me? The title says it all: 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs. The title was talking, of course, about the American public. That population size has more than tripled since the book came out in the 1930s. Much more in-depth research on the matter has happened since then, too.

The number one argument the agro-industry uses to justify their business methods is that they are saving many lives. Hard to argue with that, right? After all, that’s the same good that Norman Borlaug is credited with doing… although I’m not sure he’d agree with how Agro-business has run away with much of the science he founded.

That argument, that GMOs are saving lives, has recently met a strong counter. Out of the Rosedale Institute comes a thoroughly peer-reviewed study, over a course of 30 years, conducted by hundreds of scientists, that says:

Organic food matches the outputs of conventional genetically modified food. In the beginning, GMO outperforms under perfect conditions… but it doesn’t have the same longevity as organics. And in times of flood or drought, organic crops perform better. Better adaptability, it sounds like.

My friend and colleague, Doug Hill — director of the Laissez Faire Club — recently released even more important information on this topic. His conclusion?

These genetically modified crops may be extremely dangerous to our families. Most Americans today are eating this food because they are unaware of the risks. They do it because government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, have said these genetically modified crops are safe.

But the FDA has actually never conducted any studies on humans to prove this food is safe.

Can you believe that? Doug and his research team discovered 44,000 pages of memos from the FDA showing “its own scientists agreed that GMOs could create unpredictable, unsafe, and hard-to-detect allergens, toxins, diseases, and nutritional problems.”

“I’ve already gone through my own fridge and pantry to protect my wife and four kids,” says Doug. “The list of foods that can potentially be dangerous to your health is much longer than you can probably imagine.”

As another one of my Tomorrow in Review readers put it, “Monsanto is right now fighting with all of its mighty resources and political clout to prevent labeling of GMO products because they know informed consumers will rightfully avoid them.”

Heh. We all should rightfully avoid them in the meantime.

Regards,

Josh Grasmick
for The Daily Reckoning

P.S. In the e-mail edition of the above article, we hosted an interactive feedback session between readers and contributors on subjects that ranged from GMO foods to global warming… from lifestyle choices that enhance your health, to investment ideas that can help you protect and grow your money. It’s just a small part of being a FREE subscriber to the Tomorrow in Review e-letter. Get in on the discussion for yourself. Sign up for Tomorrow in Review for FREE, right here.

The Daily Reckoning