In Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the panel, which included Rachel Maddow and libertarian Nick Gillespie, the panel got into a heated discussion about the labeling of genetically modified foods, something which for some really inexplicable reason, libertarians oppose.
As Maher quoted, in Europe, only 5% of food is genetically modified. In the U.S., 70% of food is genetically modified. He was slightly off in that statistic. 70% of processed food is genetically modified, but up to 85% of corn, 91% of soybeans and 88% of cotton is genetically modified.
Here’s the video:
Genetically modifying food isn’t the simple process of cross pollinating seeds. It’s about crossing entire species together to make a new “superfood.” What are genetically modified foods (GMOs)?
By being able to take the genetic material from one organism and insert it into the permanent genetic code of another, biotechnologists have engineered numerous novel creations, such as potatoes with bacteria genes, “super” pigs with human growth genes, fish with cattle growth genes, tomatoes with flounder genes, and thousands of other plants, animals and insects. At an alarming rate,these creations are now being patented and released into the environment.
Monsanto makes super corn that contains its own insecticide, right in the seed. That’s right, every single day, humans eat corn (in almost every conceivable product) that is designed to kill another type of animal.
Although the food industry and even the American Medical Association insist that GMOs are safe, it’s long been suspected that GMOs are toxic for human consumption and toxic for the environment, but perhaps the most convincing evidence was released today. Cows in Texas are dropping dead from eating genetically modified grass.
According to CBS News, an entire herd of cattle in Texas dropped dead. Tests are blaming it on the grass. The ranch is owned by Jerry Abel of Elgin, TX, near Austin.
Abel says he’s been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. “A lot of leaf, it’s good grass, tested high for protein – it should have been perfect,” he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.
The grass is a genetically modified form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel’s 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.
“When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that,” said Abel.
About three weeks ago, Abel and his trainer heard bellowing. When they got to the cattle, they were on the ground. Some were dead, others were having convulsions. 15 of the 18 head died within hours.
It appears that the grass had begun emitting cyanide gas. Other farmers that use Tifton 85 have also found cyanide. There’s no word on how many cows who have been consuming Tifton 85 have made it into the human or animal food supply.
If the idea that humans dropping dead from GMOs sounds extreme, consider the fact that food allergies and other types of sensitivities are on the rise. There’s a good chance that GMOs are causing them.
Right now, policy on GMOs is being written by the food manufacturers themselves. The head of the Food and Drug Administration, the organization that regulates food growing, is a former head of Monsanto, the largest manufacturer of genetically modified foods.
The vast majority of Americans, 91%, believe that their food should be labeled, but even that simple step is too much for the food industry. It’s cheaper and more efficient to grow genetically modified food. Labeling, the industry fears, would cause a backlash, forcing them to return to more expensive methods.
You can sign this petition to call for mandatory labeling, but in the near future, until policies change, the only true way to ensure that you are not eating GMOs is to grow your own and shop organic, preferably at farmer’s markets. Stay away from processed food, especially foods containing soy or corn (which, if you read labels, is almost all processed food). Some, mostly smaller, food manufacturers already label their foods.