Genetically Modified, Genetically Engineered, Genetically Destructive
Speaking as a fat, white, Canadian I love food. If it wasn’t socially awkward I’d be eating all the time. Jelly would stick to my fingers and butter would run down my chin; co-workers would want business updates and I’d smear across my face a greasy smile. Men would cop a feel and find a chicken breast, I’d wink and poultry spice would twinkle from my eye. Neighbors would ask for sugar and I’d ring out my left sleeve. Without detail it’s easy to see that I am a fan of the edible. But what I’m not a fan of, there’s always a catch in this game of love, is the way my food is produced and manufactured. GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) flood every pore of what we think is real food. But in these hectic days of drive thru banking, online shopping, and Jersey Shore – nothing is ever really real.
Monsanto was created by a 30-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, who established the company in Europe before being forced out and into the States. When the company was first starting out they produced plastics and rubbers; by the 1940’s Monsanto was a leading manufacturer of plastics and has remained a top ten US chemical company. In 1973 the Monsanto Company produced a systemic, broad-spectrum herbicide that could be spread across farmers’ fields to kill weeds. They called it Roundup and it maintained exclusive rights in the United States until its patent expired in 2000. But it managed to hold a predominant market share in various countries where the patent had previously expired. Monsanto is now a big part of Canada and a variety of its former employees now work for the FDA which subsequently conflicts the health priorities of the people. But since several seed species known as superseeds, developed a resistance to the chemical because of repeated exposure they had to come up with the next best thing – Roundup Ready Seeds. I wish I was kidding.
Mainly manufactured as soybeans and corn, both of which are widely used in the production of our food, they have been genetically engineered to permit direct, “over the top” application of the Monsanto herbicide glyphosate, allowing farmers to drench both their crops and crop land with the herbicide so as to be able to kill nearby weeds without killing the crop.
Today Roundup only accounts for 10% of the company’s annual revenue because thanks to the Ready Seeds a share in Monsanto, as of yesterday’s closing markets, goes for $72.71. The genetically engineered seeds are a patented product which means that farmer’s are not allowed to keep the seeds after harvest. This is odd because before farmers would keep their best seeds for the following spring as to grow an even better crop. Now, they’re not allowed to and if they are even so much as suspected of keeping seeds Monsanto officials investigate and prosecute the farmers. Monsanto has a list of unauthorized growers, and a team of seventy-five professionals dedicated to investigating and prosecuting farmers suspected of patent infringement. A farmer who cleans his own seeds – as in he sanitarily prepares them for planting – can be convicted on the basis of patent infringement and sued. The settlement can cost farmers upwards of $400,000 pretrial. But to see the matter go to court can cost close a million dollars, leaving these farmers seedless and poor. Before, there were three seed cleaners to a county now there are only six left in a place like Illinois. It begs the question, “How can a farmer defend himself?”
So to clarify, Monsanto was a company created in the early 1900’s to produce plastics, rubbers, and other chemicals. By the forties Monsanto managed to become a leader in these products and by the eighties the company became a leader in pesticide and herbicide production. By the nineties Monsanto had been working on a genetically engineered seed that could withstand their potent chemical. In 1996, only 2% of US seeds contained the patented gene but by 2006, 90% of the seeds used in the United States contained the patented gene. Monsanto has also developed and marketed bovine growth hormones. Meaning Monsanto’s GMO’s are in everything we eat; even in the feed that our meat eats before we eat it. Corn and soybean products are in all of the food groups we’ve become devoted to.
So I dive my fatty hands into the flesh of a chicken I’m preparing for next week’s lunches. I take away each voluptuous breast unbeknownst to the hormones injected within it to create such size. Pondering over the genetically modified meat I sprinkle a little seasoning and stuff it in the oven. It’s a Tuesday. But a few weeks ago on a Wednesday over 170 MP’s voted against Bill C-474, which if passed would have supported Canadian farmers by requiring that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.” Since this bill was voted down genetically modified food of any kind may be grown in Canada and may enter Canada with very little scrutiny. Monsanto Canada is based out of Manitoba. Bill C-474 would have meant the discontinuance and lessening of genetically modified organisms in our food. Another bill that was presented and voted down was one to provide a label on all genetically engineered food. Not only do we not get a say in what we eat, how it’s made, or where it comes from but we also don’t get to know about it. If there was ever a time to support your local farmer and build a garden, it’s now.
I won’t be dishonest with you Pretty Wild readers, I’m ready to stick my head back in the sand or at the very least run out into the streets with a sandwich board screaming, “the end is near, the end is near!” But instead I stand in front of the New World Order with my Kraft peanut butter and corn oil conducted soft drink, taking a sip and asking what do you know that we don’t? We have yet to see the effects of hormones in fast food but if we wait ten more years I’m sure they will be vibrant. The up and coming generations are less intelligence than previous generations and we’re the sickest. Our hospitals are overflowing but no one is questioning Chuck Strahl; why did the Chilliwack MP vote against this bill? Write a letter to your MP and ask them why they would do this to you. Ask them why they would allow fake food to be passed off as nutritious and why the self-sustained, country farmer is being put out of business. Every time you go to the grocery store you’re voting for these companies and you’re voting against the local farmers. The only way to put something like Monsanto out of business is to stop buying the products that fund them. Canada is changing right in front of us and we may not be able to avoid that but we can learn to live around it. We can learn to be self sufficient and genetically-phobic. Grow your own food, visit farmer’s markets, and eat organically.