There has been a debate raging about GMOs for a long time now. On one side of the debate is the idea that genetic engineering is progress for humanity, a natural extension of more traditional breeding techniques. The other side believes genetically modified foods are unsafe for human consumption and harmful to the environment.
France is the latest country to ban the private sale of Monsanto’s favorite carcinogen – glyphosate. France has been in the alternative news quite a bit lately, asking the makers of Nutella to stop using palm oil, insisting all new rooftops be covered in solar panels or plants, and mandating the donation of all supermarket food waste. This new move by their Ecology Minister is the latest result of their forward thinking.
GMO foods are very common in American and Canadian diets. Not because people choose to eat GMOs, but because they are unaware of how pervasive GMO ingredients have become in processed foods. Biotech companies have been very successful in lobbying to prevent labeling. There are no requirements to label GMO foods, despite concerted efforts by consumer groups.
Genetically modified organisms are organisms built with genes from more than one species. The process involves laboratories and scientists followed by regulators, lawyers and lobbyists. There is nothing natural about it. So when biotech argues that the techniques for creating GMO crops are just like traditional crop breeding techniques, those statements are blatantly false.
When chemicals were first introduced in farming, everyone marveled at what they could do. Yields were dramatically increased. In the beginning, the soil was so healthy, any damage done by chemical fertilizers was imperceptible, and pests had yet to evolve resistance to the insecticides. Our technologies were exported around the world as a revolution in agriculture – the green revolution.