Saturday, June 15, 2024

Are GMO crops really safe?


I read with interest the news that declares the launching of trial production of GMO corn in our Ethiopia (October 14, 2018). But I feel something bad when I think of some identified facts on the issue. This day nations all over the world are voicing against the genetically modified crops or organisms (aka GMO). Many countries banned importing these GMO products by taking in to consideration the dangers it poses against their citizens and natural resources.
A research (the first of its kind) conducted in Canada identified the presence of Bt toxin and pesticides associated with genetically modified foods in the blood of maternal, fetal and non-pregnant women. Doctors at Sherbrook University Hospital in Qubec “found Bt toxin in the blood of 93% of pregnant women; 80% of umbilical blood in their babies and 67% of non-pregnant women”.
I understand from my reading that Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is the family of bacteria that can produce toxins. These toxins are said to cause food poising. Bt bacteria can also produce protein crystals that are toxic to insects. Scientists put this Bt in to the DNA of corn seed through molecular technique or genetic engineering. The purpose is to protect the corn from pests or any other insects that attack it. This means that the newly introduced Bt bacteria produces fatal toxins that kill the insects or pests which consume the corn. The concern of the nations is that Bt toxin transferred in to human blood causes health hazards.
Yes, once Bt toxin enters in to our blood it causes us to fall victims of various ailments like intestinal permeability, imbalanced gut bacteria, immune activation and allergic response, impaired digestion, damage to the intestinal wall and others…
Now, if the GMO can be the cause of such health problems, how could our scientists or any other concerned bodies (Melkasa Agricultural Research Center, Natural Biosafety Advisory Committee, Bako Agricultural Research Center…) dare to take bold measures in allowing the trial production of GMO crops in our country? Did they realize the consequences of these GMO crops? I feel this is a serious issue!
History tells us that many countries have been forced to wallow in crises after falling in to bondage of GMO. Argentina is a good example. A book entitled ‘Seed of Destruction – the Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, which was authored by F. William Engdahl, states that Argentina had become the world’s largest uncontrolled experimental laboratory for GMO. “By 2004, 48% of all agricultural land in the country was dedicated to soybean crops, and between 90% and 97% of these were Monsanto GMO Roundup Ready soybeans.”
Through the consequences of GMO Argentine dairy farms had been reduced by half between 1988 and 2003. That country was forced to import milk for the first time from Uruguay at costs far higher than domestic prices. “Hundreds of thousands of workers off the land, poverty and malnutrition soared. In the more tranquil era of the 1970’s, before the New York banks stepped in, Argentina enjoyed one of the highest living standards in Latin America.”
The percentage of Argentine population officially below the poverty line reportedly was 5% in 1970. The sordid fact, however, is that after the introduction of GMO in that country, things have shown dramatic changes. “By 1998, that figure [the 5%] had escalated to 30% of the total population. And by 2002, to 51%. By 2003, malnutrition rose to levels estimated at between 11% and 17% of the total population of 37 million. Amid the drastic national economic crisis arising from the state’s defaulting on its debt, Argentines found they were no longer able to rely on small plots of land for their survival. The land had been to overrun by mass GMO soybean acreages and blocked to even ordinary survival crops.” This has been scored in history as tangible consequences of this damned GMO.
The other book authored by Jeffrey M. Smith is entitled ‘Seeds of Deception’. The book, labeled as best seller, exposed lies of industries like Monsanto and governments about the safety of GMO. Concrete facts of GMO are read clearly in that book. Spaces of our local paper, Capital, are hardly enough if I quote everything stated in this famous book. But let me recite a case from the book regarding the crops modified by scientists of the developed world.
Howard Vlieger is a resident of Maurice, lowa, USA. He harvested both natural and genetically modified corns of Bt variety on his farm in 1998. Curious about how his cows would react to the pesticide producing Bt corn, he filled one side of his sixteen-foot trough with the Bt and dumped natural corn on the other side. Normally, his cows would eat as much corn as was available, never leaving leftovers. But when he let twenty-five of them into the pen, they all congregated on the side of the trough with the natural corn. When it was gone, they nibbled a bit on the Bt, but quickly changed their minds and walked away. A couple of years later, Vlieger joined a room full of farmers in Ames, lowa to hear presidential candidate AlGore. Troubled by Gore’s unquestioning acceptance of GM foods, Vlieger asked Gore to support a recently introduced bill in congress requiring that GM foods be labeled. Gore replied that scientists said there is no difference between GM and non-GM foods. Vlieger said he respectfully disagreed and described how his cows refused to eat the GM corn. He added, “My cows are smarter than those scientists were.” The room erupted in applause. Gore asked if any other farmers noticed a difference in the way their animals responded to GM food. About twelve to fifteen hands went up.
“If a field contained GM and non-GM maize, cattle would always eat the non-GM first.” -Gale Lush, Nebraska
“A neighbor had been growing Pioneer Bt corn. When the cattle were turned out onto the stalks they just wouldn’t eat them.” -Gary Smith, Montana
“While my cows show a preference for open-pollinated corn over the hybrid varieties, they both beat Bt-corn hands down.” -Tim Eisenbeis, South Dakota [Seeds of Deception]
This is how we are made to consume artificially modified crops that are not touched even by animals!
At last let me say a few words regarding the big company, Monsanto, that is said to support the promotion or trial production of GMO crops in this country. Monsanto was founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny, “a member of the Knights of Malta, a thirty-year pharmaceutical veteran married to Olga Mendez Monsanto, for which Monsanto Chemical Works is named.” Monsanto produced a chemical named saccharin. This is its first production, which was sold to Coca-Cola Company as an artificial sweetener. An article written about Monsanto expresses it as a “most Evil Corporation on Earth! Not content to simply rest upon its throne of destruction, it remains focused on newer, more scientifically innovative ways to harm the planet and its people”.
Many things have been said about this company. A point, which was taken from internet, states that Monsanto “is sued for giving radioactive iron to 829 pregnant women for a study to see what would happen to them”. Thus, feeding experiment in history put us, human beings, the Guinea pigs.
But, why these monster companies do this diabolic act? …Don’t hesitate to guess that they do this for the mere reasons of amassing financial profits, shutting (depopulating) the ever-growing hungry mouths of the poor that are always feared to share the resources of this planet, and stealing our naturally gifted national resources…

By Haile-Gebriel Endeshaw

Anyone who is interested to read books and documents on GMO can get soft copies from this writer who can be reached through the following e-mail account: Feel free to contact.

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