If you listen to political talk-radio, you may have been puzzled by recent ads about seeds. Why would anyone be concerned about access to seeds? Because approximately 82 percent of the global seed supply is patented and owned by a handful of big corporations. Just six companies — DuPont, Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and Dow — control about 75 percent of the global agro-chemical market .
British consumers were amazed to learn from a report released by the British Royal Society that nearly two-thirds of the soy imported into the United Kingdom is genetically engineered. The majority of Brits and Americans are totally unaware that they are buying and eating foods made from GMO crops.
There has been no long-term testing of the impact genetically engineered crops have on humans or on the environment. We simply don’t know if the recent increases in allergies, asthma and other diseases that affect the immune system are related to the consumption of foods from GMO crops. The effect of GMO foods on our genetic map and the genes of future generations remains a mystery. The phenomenon of fish changing sex (among other abnormalities in wildlife reproduction) may or may not be related to the growing of GMO crops on U.S. farmlands. But it has been proven that GMO crops have modified traditional maize in Mexico.
A joint report from the Organic Center, the Union for Concerned Scientists and the Center for Food Safety reveals that the adoption of genetically engineered cotton, soy and corn has simultaneously increased the use of pesticides in the United States. What’s the connection? Large numbers of farmers are now raising corn, soy and cotton that have been genetically engineered to tolerate being doused with more and more weed killer. The first 13 years of commercial use of GMO crops have resulted in the overall use of pesticides on U.S. farms swelling by 318 million pounds.
Accelerated use of herbicides has caused super weeds to emerge, weeds resistant to pesticides. Because super weeds cost more to control, farmers face greater expenses in the long run. Add to this the fact that we simply don’t know the ultimate effect of super weeds on plant and wildlife.
The Organic Center predicts that in 2010, GMO corn seed prices could be as much as three times higher than prices for conventional corn seed. GMO soy seed prices are expected to be 42 percent higher than the original 1996 GMO soy. The medical toll remains unknown.