Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dr. Frankenstein, paging Dr. Frankenstein...

Just watched an incredibly disheartening documentary called "The Future of Food". It gave info on genetically engineered foods, like corn, canola, soy, and wheat products. It claimed that, the majority of foods found in the grocery store contain some form of genetically altered content even after it has been proven that some of these have been found to kill, cause gastrointestinal lesions, slow the growth rate, and cause violent allergic reactions in test subjects (rodents, varying types of insects). The documentary also stated that the U.S. government is the biggest supporter of this technology, and several members of governmental positions have occupied positions, or have received substantial contributions from companies that produce genetically enhanced seeds. (Clarence Thomas, John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dan Quayle to name a few)
Apparently, several years ago, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court these companies were able to receive patents on these seeds. This is outrageous for the simple fact that the ability to patent life forms has previously been unheard of. I guess anything is possible when the ability to make copious amounts of $ is involved. Where there's a will (and a dollar to be made) there's a way eh?
Anyway, all it takes is for farmers to purchase and plant one bag of genetic seeds, and they will eventually begin cross-pollinating and overtaking organic seeds. This has been the case in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Fortunately, some countries have banned the exportation, and distribution of these seeds. Here is the real problem though. After a certain time period say, a couple of seasons, these companies began hitting up farmers claiming to have conducted extensive tests on their crops. (Which they did not) They then accused the farmers of copyright infringement because the seeds used to produce new crops were the offspring of the original seeds used for crops a season or two ago. So, according to copyright law, these farmers are using the property of the seed producing companies to generate money without providing compensation. The companies then began pressing charges against the farmers in order to scare them into paying settlement amounts, and destroying their inventory of seeds collected from the past two seasons. It seems that the goal of these companies is to force farmers to become dependent on their seeds in order to maintain their livelihood. And that situation is what generates more moolah for the companies. Farmers are unfortunately stymied because as I said, the government is fully backing the idea. The Bush administration wanted to create subsidies in foreign countries based on the notion that these foods would be used to help end global famine.
Methinks there's something rotten in denmark. Opening the floodgates and providing the world with this potentially contaminated food could quite possibly promote the health problems related to food we have here in the states, and it doesn't seem likely to me that these efforts really would make a dent in famine, because the people who are starving are poor, and probably don't have the money to buy seeds right? Well obviously these companies aren't Giving away these seeds.
Hell, they're subpoenaing individuals who might unknowingly have these patented seeds growing on their farms! This is just a front for creating business opportunities in markets abroad. C'mon guys, we are smarter than that! (Aren't we?)
There was a bright side to all this. Due to disenfranchisement with unfair treatment, and a growing health consciousness, farmers have begun to produce organic vegetables for consumers. This isn't the most cost effective choice, but hey, at least farmers now have a CHOICE. Coupled with that knowledge, and the fact that they now have a better chance of keeping the lights on looks much better than being "legally extorted".
I have only scratched the surface of what "The Future of Food" has to offer, so rent it and see what you think.
I will leave you with this, Don't eat any partially hydrogenated anything, soya products, canola based foods, and most definitely, no high fructose corn syrup! This stuff can/will potentially hurt you.


SRH said...

I wonder if any farmers have pressed a counter suit for industrial contamination by the cross-pollenation of the genetically modified seeds?

jw said...

Hmm. I think I will be doing some McGruff type crime-biting investigations this weekend...