Monstanto: Provider of food to the world or evil overlord of corn-induced tumors?

In many countries in Europe, genetically modified foods must be clearly marked. In fact, GM foods have such a bad rap there that most green living enthusiasts avoid them like the plague while in North America, GM everything waltzes its way across our dinner tables with nary a protest. So what’s the big deal about GM foods anyway?

GM foods are created by engineering changes in the DNA through exposure to chemicals or radiation. This results in accelerated growth or resistance to disease and pests. Genetically modified crops are synonymous with scarecrow overlord and biotechnology giant; Monsanto. Monsanto claims that its GM technology helps to provide an ever-growing world population with food. It has a point too as the amount of viable agricultural land decreases due to urban sprawl and climate change, more efficient farming methods need to be employed.

A recent French study followed the lifecycle of rats fed on Monsanto’s NK603 corn showed that they developed a greater risk of cancer and organ damage which resulted, not surprisingly, in premature death. In the study, 50% of the male rats and 70% of the female rats died prematurely compared to 30% and 20% in the control group.

So serious are the results of the study that the French government has ordered a review of the findings and threatens to ban GM corn imports if they prove conclusive. Canada, where the corn is widely utilized, has also issued a review of the findings. The institute championed with this cause is Health Canada, the very institute which labelled the corn fit for consumption in a 2001 study.

The biotechnology giant Monsanto has been synonymous with GM world domination. Its latest move sees amendments in the US to both the 2012 Farm Bill and the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that would see GMOs approved without having to go through the current approval process. This means that untested GMOs would be directly entered into the agricultural stream.

Monsanto also donated $4.2 million to No on 37, a collective opposed to an entry on the California ballot that would require labels on genetically modified foods. The group say the move will result in unnecessary administrative fees and frivolous lawsuits while green living supporters claim that consumers have a right to know what’s in their food.

A similar move to label GM foods in Vermont was dropped after Monsanto threatened to sue the state. If there’s nothing wrong with GM foods, wouldn’t you be proud to label them?

The Right to Know Campaign has started a Yes to 37 petition. You can show your support by signing the petition here.

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Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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