GMO Gains: Food Supplies Increasingly Under Siege
Three hundred farmers recently took over the building and interrupted a meeting where the Brazil National Biosafety Technical Commission was deciding whether or not to introduce genetically engineered (GE/GM/GMO) transgenic eucalyptus trees into their biosphere. These activists and thousands more around the country have halted plans temporarily, but the assault continues by international corporations bent on patenting and controlling the environment itself.
At home, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has already approved the first corporate-sponsored, patented, genetically modified tree, ArborGen’s loblolly pine. Despite outspoken public opposition, the USDA approved it with no public oversight nor assessment of the environmental risks it poses.
Grass-fed beef farmers, supplying an alternative that many seek to avoid GMO feed grain, now have to cope with the advent of genetically modified grass. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Monsanto’s exclusive consumer sales agent for RoundUp glyphosate weed killer, intends to conduct field trials at the homes of company employees absent government oversight, because no laws currently prohibit or limit the planting of GMO grass.
In February, the government approved the first genetically modified apple for commercial planting. The Arctic apple is part of a growing list of sanctioned GMO fresh produce, including papaya and sweet corn. A gene within the apple is altered so it resists browning and bruising.
Many people die or go blind from vitamin A deficiency, so the Gates Foundation has funded research by Australia’s Queensland University of Technology to create a vitamin-enhanced, GMO “super banana”. Testing on humans will take place in the U.S. over a six-week period and researchers aim to start growing the fruit in Uganda by 2020.