Monsanto’s GMO seeds and the deadly chemicals that are sprayed on them is something I have spent a lot of time writing about, so I figured it was time to actually explain the difference between GMO seeds and organic seeds. In hindsight, this should have probably been written before the Monsanto series, however, it is never too late to discuss the half-truths, misinformation and outright lies coming mainly the Biotech industry. A growing number of people have already awakened to the truths about GMO’s, yet, many still believe the propaganda coming from the industry and their spokesmen such as Dr. Oz ,who used to say he would never allow GMO foods on his dinner table. He has since changed his tone and is trying to convince everyone that organic foods are just a marketing ploy meant to get you to pay more for the same quality food– all the while claiming those who advocate organic foods are elitist snobs. I hope this article will shed some light on the truth.
What are the criteria to be called Organic?
This article is mostly covers Organic seeds vs. GMO seeds and not Organic foods vs. non organic foods as a whole, but I will give a brief overview of the criteria for all Organic foods because it is great knowledge to have.
The USDA certified organic label is overseen by the National Organic Program, which states: “Overall, organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances.” This shows you that organic farming must be done in a way to protect the environment. The need to put these organic standards shows the same standards of protecting the environment are not required for its non-organic counterparts that use the GMO seeds.
The National Organic Program also provides a summary of 3 specific areas that get the organic labeling:
Organic crops: “The USDA organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms were not used.” — Non-Organic crop farmers can use all these and every farmer that plants GMO’s have to use the last two.
- Organic livestock: “The USDA organic seal verifies that producers met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, used 100% organic feed, and provided animals with access to the outdoors.”– In other words, they are not allowed to give the animals shots of Genetically Engineered growth hormones that cause numerous health problems for the animals or use synthetic antibiotics. Many doctors and scientist believe the overuse of these synthetic antibiotics are leading to the rise of the antimicrobial resistance super bacteria.
Organic multi-ingredient foods: “The USDA organic seal verifies that the product has 95% or more certified organic content. If the label claims that it was made with specified organic ingredients, you can be sure that those specific ingredients are certified organic.”
To summarize, Organic Foods are made in an environmentally conscious way that also takes into account the overall welfare of any animal breed and raised for human consumption. The seeds are not allowed to have their genetics manipulated (which is different from traditional crossbreeding), the soil can’t have chemicals added to it, the water can’t be polluted sewage (frightening that this needed to be added in their requirement) and they can’t be sprayed with synthetic pesticides. The animals can not be shot up with man-made substances largely meant to create bigger animals or milk to help the industries bottom line, they can’t be fed unnatural diets such as GMO corn and they can’t spend their lives in cages never seeing the light of day. In order to receive an organic label on foods such as snacks, cereal, or beverages, the product must also be free of chemicals often used for: preservatives, food coloring and artificial sweeteners etc..
In other words, it must be naturally occurring (which is the actual dictionary definition of the word organic) and has to avoid man-made chemicals during the entire process.
What are GMO’s?
GMO is an acronym for Genetically Modified Organism, which the World Health Organization (WHO) defines them as this: “Genetically Modified (GM) foods are foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism.” As you can see, this is not referring to traditional interspecies crossbreeding, which could happen in nature given enough time. However if you spend enough time researching and commenting on GMO articles, you will see industry shills claiming we have been Genetically Modifying seeds for thousands of years. They do this to get people to believe Genetic Modification is the same as crossbreeding, which it most certainly is not.
So, how exactly are they modifying these organism’s DNA?
Making matters even worse, we don’t have an advanced enough understanding about DNA or the human genome to know or even reasonably predict the outcome of inserting foreign DNA into the DNA of seeds.
The process of Genetically Engineering a seed starts with taking a gene from a one of the 4 listed categories above and insert it into the DNA of a seed to give it the desired trait from the foreign gene. In order to activate the genes protein-encoding capabilities, they use something called a promoter (like the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus) which in theory will activate the gene and produce only the desired trait.
Here is where the major problem lies…
They use a 1945 theory by geneticist George Beadle called the One-gene-one-enzyme (protein) theory, which states that one gene encodes one protein. According to this theory, the insertion of one specific gene into the seed’s DNA will create one specific protein that will express one specific trait.
With advancements in genetics, largely from the United States National Human Genome Research Institute, the One-gene-one-enzyme (protein) theory has been proven wrong and one protein-encoding gene can encode up to 1000 different proteins! We simply do not know what dormant traits we are unlocking by inserting these protein-encoding genes inside these seeds.
As if this is not bad enough, the WHO also had this to say about the future of GM foods: “Currently available GM foods stem mostly from plants, but in the future foods derived from GM microorganisms or GM animals are likely to be introduced on the market. Most existing genetically modified crops have been developed to improve yield, through the introduction of resistance to plant diseases or of increased tolerance of herbicides.
In the future, genetic modification could be aimed at altering the nutrient content of food, reducing its allergenic potential, or improving the efficiency of food production systems.”
The FDA and its infinite wisdom actually already has guidelines in place for GM animals. According to their Fact Sheet on GM Animals, the first one was developed in the 1980’s. Although it doesn’t say what the animal was, my educated guess is that it was a cow treated with rBGH– which according to the fact sheet, falls into this category. They list the reasons for GM animals as the following:
- Produce pharmaceuticals to be used for other animals and humans.
- Improving dietary nutrient utilization to decrease the potential environmental impact of that nutrient through excretion in manure.
- Serve as a source of cells, tissue, and organs closely matched to humans so that they may be able to be transplanted into humans with a decreased risk of rejection.
- Produce high value materials such as those used for surgical sutures and personal protection devices such as body armor for military and law enforcement use.
- Produce highly specific antimicrobials that target disease-causing bacteria such E. coli 0157:H7 or Salmonella.
- Provide more healthful or more efficiently-produced food.
Talk about opening Pandora’s box… But you have to hand it to them, no matter how many times they (the FDA and the big businesses they protect) make products that make things worse, they always come up with reasons/claims of how it actually makes things better (in this case providing more efficiently-produced food).
The madness needs to stop before these GM animals come to market for consumption or used in another form. Hopefully shedding light on the falsehoods of the claims made by the WHO will stop this from coming to fruition.
First lets look at the claim that GMO seeds are needed to feed the planet because of higher yield– this is complete propaganda. The long term studies have shown that almost every single GMO seed under-performs its organic counterpart. But even if did produce more yield, all that means is that we would have more crops that have unknown traits that are covered in a chemical soup from being planted in chemical fertilizer and soaked in deadly pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. What good does having more food do if it is toxic?
You will also hear comments like what Dr. Oz said about GMOs being the same nutritionally as its traditionally grown counterpart or how the aim of GM crops are what the WHO claims above. However, in reality, GMO crops are shown to be void of nutrition and full of toxins. Again, what else can be expected from crops that are grown in chemical fertilizer and designed to be able to handle massive amounts of synthetic chemicals? The only thing these seeds will ever be good at is producing a lot of money for the biotech companies. Something that can be seen by looking at the rise in the amount chemicals used to spray these crops, despite biotech’s claims it is lessening it.
It is also not logical to think these will help fight food allergies in the future. They have already been shown to cause allergies by inserting genes from a different plant species. Given the fact that the protein-encoding genes inserted in Genetic Engineering can encode up to 1000 proteins, we can not know for sure if these will cause allergies.
The bottom-line is, the goal of this industry is to make the most profit. To do so in this field, you need to patent a product. Therefore, they tinker with nature and when they do so, it causes problems. Despite what these folks claim, we do not know more than nature. This always leads to unavoidable complications that we call “side effects” to make it seem ok. But the truth is, these complications are the expected results of messing with nature when you don’t have a clue what you are doing.
These are just addressing the faulty science behind the the concept of Genetically Engineering, it doesn’t even get into the documented health issues these cause which are too many to list. My Monsanto series has addressed how this industry used its influence to silence a study showing GMO’s bad light, but that was only one of many studies that show they are harmful. For those that want to look into this more here is a well researched article from a site that is very informative about the dangers of GMOs.
Until this greed based system is a thing of the past, this industry can not be trusted. The boycotting of these “technologies” is a must if we want to survive as a species. If we don’t, these foods and chemicals will eventually kill us and destroy the environment in the process. This may seem dramatic or like an exaggeration to some, but it is the blunt truth about the situation.