We feed our chickens organic feed. With prices of organic feed close to double that of conventional feed, it is easy to wonder, "Is it really worth it?" Nutrient-density tests of organic produce have often shown that "organic" does not equal "nutrient-dense". Sometimes, organic produce will be as bad as—or worse than—conventional produce. Some, therefore, with good reason, start the chorus: "Why pay more for organic if it’s not higher in minerals?" Of course, we all know that organic has not been sprayed with pesticides, and eating food sprayed with substances whose names end in "cide" (from the Latin, meaning "death") does not seem like a good idea. But another, just as important reason is that organic produce must not be genetically engineered.
Companies like Monsanto engineer corn, soybeans and other plants to make them resistant to herbicides (so you can spray Monsanto’s Roundup on the corn field and kill the weeds, but not the corn) or produce their own pesticide (as with Bt corn). Really? Corn with a built-in pesticide? These genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) seem to be everywhere in our food supply. Much of the corn grown in this country is genetically modified (GM). Due to the use of corn for making high fructose corn syrup, many foods that contain corn syrup (from soda pop to ketchup to fruit cocktail to ice cream to "honey" graham crackers) therefore contain genetically modified ingredients. So how do they modify plant genetics, and what are the results?
Dr. Arden Andersen, speaking at the Weston A. Price Foundation 2006 Conference, tells, in a nutshell, the GMO story:
"Now here’s the big issue, really, that you have to understand, it’s even more severe, or as severe, as the immune reaction, that is that absolutely they have proven horizontal gene transfer into our gut bacteria. Horizontal gene transfer. And the problem is, is part of that horizontal gene is an antibiotic resistant gene. An antibiotic resistant gene. So automatically, we become antibiotic resistant to whatever antibiotic that company is using in that genetic technology, because that’s part of the genetic engineering technology…
"So, how is this process happening? Well, what happens is that they have to take cells of this GM crop and they have to culture them, and then somehow they have to get that gene into that cell. But how do they know if it’s in there? They can’t wait for it to grow out and then determine that. So they have to somehow evaluate those cells in culture for the presence of the gene they have randomly shot in. By the way, this is not an absolute technology. It’s very random. They take a plasma gun and they literally just shoot in this plasma into the cells. It’s a random process. And they hope some of them get into the nucleus of the cell. So what they do is they take, for example, the Roundup Ready gene, and they have to attach to that an antibiotic resistant gene, because they have to have some way of identifying whether or not this gene was implanted. Well, then the other thing is you have to understand is this is a foreign gene. In our body we have switches that turn on our genes, turn off our genes, all right? And they do that at the appropriate times in our development, embryonic development. But this is a foreign gene, so there’s nothing there to turn it on or off, so what they have to do is put an on switch. So they put an activator gene in there. What is that activator gene? Typically that is a virus that they put in there. A virus that our body has never seen before. Great!
"So then what they do is they shoot that in, and then they have to figure out, "How are we going to identify this?" So since they have the antibiotic resistant gene, they then coat all of these cells in culture with that antibiotic, and typically it’s ampicillin — penicillin. So any cell that survives that antibiotic treatment — "Ah, that tells us that gene, then, was accepted. We got that gene into those cells." But the thing about it is, you have an activator gene there. So every cell in that soybean plant is also going to have ampicillin resistance. And as soon as you eat that? Direct horizontal gene transfer to the biology in your gut. So now all of the gut in your body also has ampicillin resistance. Great! We don’t have enough resistance to antibiotics in this country, so I know we need to increase that.
"So think about it a moment. Take identical twins, and let’s say that one donates a kidney to the other one that has kidney failure. Identical twins! Does the recipient automatically accept that kidney from its identical twin? Absolutely not! We still have to give that person anti-rejection drugs, okay? And those are human to human transfer of identical twin tissue. So think for a moment: so you think that an absolute foreign protein, put into a plant and then into our body, is not going to have an immune response?
"The Swiss Federal Research Station–so remember now, all these organizations, these are not fly by night organizations, these are government organizations–the Swiss Federal Station found out that when you take green lacewings and they eat corn borer caterpillars that are feeding on GM corn, 50% more lacewings die than if you actually hit those lacewings with Bt directly. "Ah, but it’s essentially the same." Ladybugs, the same thing. They looked at ladybugs eating aphids that are feeding on genetically engineered potatoes. What did they find? 30% fewer progeny and lived half the normal life expectancy. And then they tell me that there is no issue with genetically engineered food? There’s no such thing as genetically engineered food. It is not food at all. It is poison. Every level of nature tells us that it’s poison. Tell me that we have a placebo effect with ladybugs and green lacewings. Amazing!"
Does this sound like something that we should consume every day? It more sounds like a wonder that it hasn’t killed us all. I agree with Dr. Andersen. It is poison!
And so, I support organics, if for no other reason than to avoid GMO’s. I cannot believe that I should put antibiotic resistant bacteria and viruses (implanted into the very genetics of the "food") down my throat. It seems risky, if not downright dangerous!
A very good documentary discussing GMO’s is The Future of Food (http://www.thefutureoffood.com/). It goes into detail about just what Monsanto and friends are doing to our food supply. You can see the introduction to it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNezTsrCY0Q