Monday, August 15, 2011

Coming to a Store Near You...

As it turns out, genetically modified (GM) products are typically used in processed foods, which is good for us as humans.  It means that we are exposed to less of their disease- and insect-resistant properties because the things they are used in have gone through so much processing.  Think of GM corn going into corn syrup or corn starch rather than a steaming ear of midsummer corn on the cob.

Based on this article, that may change in the fall.  Monsanto, a company most notorious for genetically modifying crops and levying harsh penalties on farmers who go out of their way not to use them, is going to start selling their fresh GM corn in supermarkets.  This company already controls 60% of the U.S. corn market, and given corn's promiscuity, the GM plants are likely to cross-pollinate with nearby natural varieties.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

The modified fresh corn is going to include resistance to weed-killer Roundup (also sold by Monsanto) and insects via the biological pesticide Bt toxin. As you would expect, some pests are becoming resistant to Monsanto's efforts the same way "superbugs" evolve to become resistant to powerful antibiotics.  Several species of weeds and one population of moths are no longer bothered by Roundup.  I wish we knew the long-term effects of producing and ingesting GM products, but so far sufficient studies have not been done.

Stop messing with nature!

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