We have all heard of Monsanto and GMO foods. We now have labels that list ingredients that say non-GMO. Which is reassuring. However, recently I have heard of something called CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats). It’s like GMO phase 2. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) have made some changes that will allow Monsanto to create the next generation of GMO foods. These will be legally permitted to be labelled as non-GMO.
The technology used in the new era of Frankenstein foods is called “gene editing” which is hailed as different from the original phase one technology. Many experts are concerned and say that gene editing has many of the same dangers and problems as the original phase 1 GMO technology.
Under this new arrangement, Monsanto gains a worldwide, non-exclusive right to use these technologies for agricultural applications. There are a couple of provisos though in this new agreement. 1) Monsanto will not be able as it did in the 1990s to produce sterile seeds which force farmers to buy seeds every season from them. 2) It prohibits Monsanto from creating a deliberate technique designed to spread genetically modified genes to non-modified organisms. Sounds good but who knows what else Monsanto has up its sleeve?
The whole situation is just getting worse as far as I can see. Crops using this new “gene editing” process will no longer be regulated as a GMO food?? This is excellent news for companies like Monsanto as it will save them millions per modified trait just in regulatory testing and registration fees. Really terrible news for us.
So what does gene editing techniques include? Fusing separate cells, inducing mutations with the use of synthetic DNA, and cutting out specific genes to induce another DNA to take its place and injected genes.
Both phase 1 and 2 techniques produce unpredictable and uncontrollable changes in the genomes of living organisms. Creating unknown risks of genetic pollution, as well as adverse health reactions in people who eat them. They change the natural environment in the long-term. They promised wonderful things for the farmers that got involved in growing GMO phase 1 but in reality, the picture was different.
I read that the massively large company Bayer (a German pharmaceutical and chemical giant) bought Monsanto for about $66 billion. They control vast amounts of the world’s seeds and pesticide supply. There are experts from various universities that are predicting a rise in cost for farmers and hence in food prices. Not sure how this will help the poor and starving? Which is something these companies are always shouting about.
Many organizations and experts are worried about this monumental merger of two massive companies, seeing it as devastating, bad for farmers, bad for the environment and bad for consumers. After this merger, we are left with just 3 companies dominating the global seed and pesticide markets! There is wide use of GMO agriculture in the USA and other countries around the world. However, Germany, Britain and many other European countries are somewhat anti-GMO foods. Many have strict laws against GMOs due to public health and environmental concerns. That is the situation at the moment let hope things don’t change, that laws don’t get relaxed.