, Salem, MA

December 27, 2013

Letter: US should ban GMOs

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

The state of Massachusetts should implement an immediate ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). There needs to be a greater effort to educate and raise awareness of the inherent dangers of the modification of our food sources on the genetic or molecular level.

It is unknown or unforeseen how these organisms will react within our bodies. In recent months scientists are discovering that the genes inserted into plants are often contaminated with unintended material that includes viruses. We know what viral genes could possibly do to our immune systems. Viruses that invade a plant do not fundamentally differ from the viruses that cause illnesses in ourselves or animals. Seventy-five to 80 percent of the processed food you are eating is processed with GMO ingredients.

Leading the assault in GMO production is the uber-evil corporation Monsanto. Monsanto has produced 88,000 tons of the herbicide glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, which the EPA lists as a class III toxic substance.

Glyphosate is an endocrine disrupter; 30 grams can be fatal, and peer-reviewed literature links it to at least 20 adverse health effects. GMOs have been developed to withstand the spraying of this herbicide, which has been found in our water supply and human blood samples. GMOs are also developed to increase a plant’s toxicity against destructive insects, resulting in the destruction of honeybees and other beneficial insects.

Monsanto has claimed that glyphosate is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. But in 2009, a French court found Monsanto guilty of lying about these claims. Mexico has recently outlawed GMOs after its corn has been found to be dangerously mutated. Hungary destroyed all GMO production and many European and Latin American countries are following suit. GMOs have allowed farmers to soak their fields with herbicides with no care to the long-term health of our environment.

So where are the EPA and our regulatory agencies? That’s right, right in the back pocket of these corporate behemoths. It sure doesn’t hurt when you have Monsanto’s ex-president Michael Taylor in charge of the FDA or you have mega-dollars to lobby just the right congressperson.

GMOs seem to be present in most foodstuffs, such as high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, maltodextrin, corn flour, cottonseed oil, xanthan gum, even vitamins such as B12 and ascorbic acid. It is almost impossible to avoid this dilemma, requiring vigilance on the part of the consumer. Try checking out the non-GMO shopping guide. Support farmers’ markets and grow your own organic produce as much as possible. This is a pandora’s box, which must be confronted. We may end up destroying the food we know that keeps us healthy, and replacing it with something from a horror movie.

Jeff Tanzer

Sa lem