Tuesday, 7 February 2012

How to avoid GMO's

How do you avoid GM products? Some people might say it's impossible, for so many people don't even know what they are eating nowadays, but here are some ways to avoid GMO's:

1. Buy as much organic foods as possible- Organic means it doesn't come from very far from where you live, and it is better for the environment and yourself. This means that your food is very, very likely, not GM'd.

2. Buy foods labelled "Non-GMO"- this reason is pretty obvious. Some companies will put these labels on their foods.

3. Avoid non-organic foods like beans, peanuts, canola, cottonseed, sugar cane, papayas and soy. Sorry to all those soybean consumers... but some of your products might be GM'd. Check again! 

4. Avoid non-organic dairy products

5. Avoid GM "offspring" like high fructose corn syrup or soy protein, etc. 

6. Grow your own food- tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Last summer, I grew a few cucumber plants and the good thing about this, is I know that they are NON-GM'd cucumbers! Plus it's cheaper and tastes great too! 

Follow these steps that you might be able to sustain a low GM-food life. :D


Feel free to leave a comment with your opinions below!

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Thursday, 2 February 2012


This is probably the one of the biggest controversies of all time in the GM food industry. For those who do not know what "Monsanto" is, it is a company that is about a bunch of farmers that have a pledge to "produce more food. To produce more with less, conserving resources like soil and water. And to improve lives." as it says in their official website. And how do they do this? They do this by "selling seeds, traits developed through biotechnology, and crop protection chemicals. In other words, genetically modifying food and pesticide things. They are the world's leading producer of herbicides called Roundup and GE seeds. Of course, many people think is is wrong. Monsanto has been sued many, many times for damaging the health of many people through pollution and poisoning. There was a report that was released in June 2011 that linked the herbicide that Roundup is made of, glyphosate to birth defects in frog and chicken embryos.

The Monsanto GM's are made to be resistant to herbicides, Roundup. Some people are afraid that the herbicide-resistant genes will spread to other plants and that they will be resistant to the herbicides.

For all you soybean consumers, here is something you should be aware of. One of the GM foods that they (Monsanto) sell are genetically modified soybeans, called Roundup Ready. It is grown and sold in South Africa yields by 173% over 5 years until 2005 and soya production by 75%.  This made lots of money for farmers in Argentina, so they decided to sell just these GM soybeans. They relied on this as their only produce. Then, in 2004, a question came up about the actually benefits of the soybeans: are they safe? Some scientists say that growing Roundup Ready soybeans can add up to many consequences. This caused many people to stop buying RR and the farmers became bankrupt.
Farmers need to rotate crops so that the soil won't get damaged, and overtime the soil can get back to the normal form. However, the farmers did not  rotate crops because they just grew RR soybeans and the soil became damaged. Monsanto "claimed" that the damage of the soil and use of pesticides was not caused by the RR soy.

More soon, and please comment about what do you think. Stop Monsanto, or are they doing the right thing?
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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Advantages of GM Food

Controversies of GM Food are a really big deal. If you aren't sure which "side" you "support", here is the advantages of GM Food. You might think that GM Food is bad and horrible, but have you heard of the other side of the controversy?

Pest resistance a pretty good reason for why GM Food can be good. Losing crops from pests can be horrible, and can result in many devastating financial losses for farmers and can also cause starvation in third world and developing countries. Farmers use tons of chemical pesticides every year. This costs money and time, as well as that consumers do not want to eat food that is "pesticide-covered" because of potential health hazards. As well, run-off pesticides can travel to water areas and poison the water supply, making it unsafe for us to drink and use. Growing GM Food that does not need pesticides can save money, time and our environment.

GM Foods can also be made to be resistant to diseases, which is extremely helpful. There are many fungi, viruses and bacteria that can cause plant diseases, which can spread. Disease resistant GM Foods can stop the spread.

In many third world countries, there aren't many rainfalls. This means that plants and crops are difficult to grow and cannot sustain a family's income. Scientists have invented a way to create drought resistant/tolerant GM crops. As the world's population grows, we need more land space for housing instead of growing food, so farmers will need more food to sustain the population. Now, they can grow crops in places that you could not normally grow crops, making more space for housing.

GM foods can also increase yields of the food. They can grow more food per crop to help the hungry and the world's population. Scientists in India have created a protein-packed potato that can increase the amount of potatoes it produces per hectare. This was the first time any GM food increased yield. As well, the science is appealing and allows many possibilities.

Cold tolerance is another thing that can benefit us. Unexpected frost can destroy seedlings.  Scientists have inserted an anti-freeze gene from a cold water fish into these plants, such as tobacco and potatoes. This means that these plants are tolerant to cold weathers and temperature.

Developing countries don't have many foods that can give them the daily nutrition they need to grow and survive. GM foods can be created to hold all the nutrition that they need. For example, rice is eaten in many third world countries. They have created a rice called "Golden rice" that holds a lot of Vitamin A. The researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Institute for Plant Sciences hopes to offer the golden rice to any country that needs it for free. As well, they are also hoping to create a type of golden rice that contains lots of iron content.

I honestly think that GM food can be used for good, if they manage to figure out if it is 100% safe for us. People don't want GM food because it can be hazardous, but if they find out a way to keep it safe, we might be able to accept it in our society. And label it, of course.

Please leave your opinions below in the comment section! I am welcome to hear everything.
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Monday, 23 January 2012

The Controversy of Labelling GM Food

You've probably heard this many times, the fact that the labelling of GM Food products is a very big controversy. Some agriculture businesses believe that labelling should be necessary and influenced by the demands of the free market. If consumers show a preference to labelled GM Food over the non-labelled GM Food, then the marketing industry will have to oblige or else this will risk losing customers. This could affect the economy, plus, we want to know what we're eating, right? Some consumer interest groups are demanding that they pass a law for unlabelled GM Food to be illegal. They say that people have the right to know what they are eating, and I think that's true. In a previous post (Human Health risks of GM Food, see Allergenicity,), I talked about the allergy problems about GM Food. If we don't know what we are eating, how do we know if it is safe for us? The FDA's current position about food labelling is ruled by the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The thing is, the only things that they are concerned about is food additives, not the whole food products that are considered "GRAS"- "Generally Recognized As Safe". The FDA believes that GM Food is the same as non-GM Food; therefore, they don't need labelling.

What do you think about this? Please leave a comment below. Thanks!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Human Health Risks of GM Food

GM Food is risky. Scientists even admit that they are not 100% certain about the unknown effects on human health. There are many ways that GM Food can effect a person.

Many children all over the world have developed allergies (some which are life-threating) to foods such as nuts, peanuts and other types of foods. There is a possibility that putting new genes into a crop could create a new allergen or cause allergic reactions to certain people. A proposal to introduce a gene from Brazil nuts into soybeans was discarded because people were afraid that it might cause new allergic reactions. Scientists will have to test these GM Food's even more before they put them on the market.

Unknown Effects on Our Health
People are concerned that putting new genes into foods and plants will have negative and/or unexpected problems to certain individuals. An article in Lancet tested the effects of GM'd potatoes on rats. They found out that there were big differences in the intestines of rats that were fed the GM potatoes and the rats that were fed regular potatoes. Some people (critics) say that this research is flawed. As well, the gene that was introduced into the potatoes was a "snowdrop flower lectine". This substance is toxic to mammals. What I don't understand is why scientists would create something that is toxic to humans, when we are supposed to eat this stuff... The idea of GM Food is for humans to eat. Anyway, the scientists who made this variety of potatoes chose to use the toxic lectin because they wanted to test the methodology, and that these potatoes were not meant to be consumed by animals or humans.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Some solutions to the environmental problems...

As I stated it my previous blog post (see below), the making of GM Food could effect not only us, but the environment as well. There are two ways to ensure that the species that the pesticides aren't targeting will not get the genes from GM plants that are dangerous to some species. One is that they can create GM crops that are male sterile, meaning that they do not produce pollen that will harm other animals and plants OR modify the GM crops so that they do not hold the toxins that are poisonous to some insects. Cross-pollination will not occur, and if insects such as the monarch butterfly were to consume the pollen, they would not be harmed. There are some consequences though. This could reduce the effectiveness of the GM crops, leaving them less useful and not work as well, however; think of this. Is the extinction of certain species worth having our food work only a little bit better? Please comment on what you think about this? Is it really worth it?

Another possible solution is to create buffer zones around GM crop fields. This means that non-GM crops would be planted surrounding GM crops, and the non-GM crops wouldn't be harvested. The insect pests would be able to eat and destroy the non-GM crops, and they would leave the GM crops alone, therefore; not develop a resistance to pesticides. The thing is, farmers would have to plant new non-GM crops again and again, every time that the pests devour them all. This costs money and is time and space consuming. There is also a possibility that the pests could manage to get through the non-GM crops. This is a much riskier solution.

I would like to know what you think of these solutions: Do you think they will work? Do you support them or are against GM Food? Comment below!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Enviromental Hazards of GM Food

GM Food doesn't just cause health problems for ourselves, but for the Environment. Studies showed that the pollen from BT Corn caused death rates from monarch butterfly caterpillars to go up. The butterflies eat milkweed plants, not corn, but people are afraid that the pollen from the corn will spread to other plants in neighboring fields.  The butterflies and caterpillars will consume the plants that contain pollen that is toxic for them and perish. BT Corn pollen can kill many different species of insect larvae. It is not possible to create a type of BT Corn who's pollen will kill pests and remain harmless to other insects. This could spread so fast that scientists might not be able to contain it and other species of insects will become extinct.

Reduced effectiveness of pesticides
Another concern is that some new populations of mosquitoes are now resistant to the (now banned) pesticide called DDT. Concerns grow to the fact that these insects will soon be resistant to other pesticides that are supposed to keep pests away. Also, the crop's chemicals could genetically alter the insect in ways when they eat the crops as well. Their offspring could be even more resistant to these pesticides.

Gene transfer to other species
Scientists are afraid that they crop plants that they have genetically engineered will cross-breed with weeds and other plants, which will result in the transfer of herbicide- resistant genes to those weeds, making them tolerant to those herbicides and pesticides. They call these plants "superweeds".This chain will continue onto other plants AND animals because they consume these plants, which will either harm them or spread even more. We don't know what tyoes of reactions that we will get from the animals that eat the chemicals.