Genetically Modified Crops

Genetically modified foods (often called Genetically Modified Organisms or “GMOs”) have long been controversial, and most of the American population is unaware that they are regularly consuming GM foods. This is because there are no laws that require these foods to be labeled as such. GMOs are created by inserting DNA from animals and humans into plants using viruses and bacteria. Consuming foods that have been spliced with viruses, bacteria, and the genetic material of humans is ethically questionable and entirely experimental.

Beyond health concerns, there are other ethical questions about companies like Monsanto, which are patenting genetically modified seeds. GM crops often contaminate non-genetically modified crops because of cross-pollination, which is impossible to control with crops that pollinate with the wind. However, a court in Canada ruled that a farmer who’s crop had been contaminated by Monsanto’s GM canola had to pay Monsanto royalties because the crop was patented. This means that farmers who don’t even want to grow GM crops are forced to pay royalties to any company who contaminates their field with a patented GM crop. Furthermore, while biotech companies claim that these crops will help solve world hunger, they are working to develop “suicide seeds” to grow crops that will not produce any seed, forcing farmers to buy seed from them year after year. This would seem to signal an intention to use such technology either for agricultural warfare or to control the food supply. Moreover, world hunger is not a matter of supply, as there is more than enough food on earth to feed all of its inhabitants. The problem is one of distribution.

Roughly 80% of all non-organic soy and corn on the market is genetically modified. Steering clear of GMOs means only buying organic foods, but it also can mean growing your own organic vegetables to support proliferating food as nature intended.