In listening to all the latest on GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) foods, I was reminded of a television commercial that I found pretty humorous when I was young. It was an advertisement about Mother Nature who was fooled into believing that the food like substance known as margarine was actually butter. She was not pleased and immediately created a natural disaster of some sort.
That commercial for Chiffon Margarine reminds me of the current situation in our country of health care and our increasingly unrecognizable food supply.
Mad Cow Disease was a big scare a few years ago. The source of it was traced to feeding animals foods that they were not naturally designed to eat. Animal byproducts were fed to sheep and cattle, which are, by nature, vegetarians. Why would anyone want to mess with the food chain? In hopes that the animals would gain weight more quickly. What developed was a prion disease which was able to be passed onto humans. This is a pretty isolated example of a natural disaster with which Mother Nature rewarded us.
Similarly, cows are not meant to eat corn. That’s right, they have a stomach designed to eat grass and hay. Ancestors of modern cattle were first domesticated 8000 – 6000 BC, so there is a lot of history to work through. Beef cattle that eat grass produce meat that is higher in Omega 3 fatty acids. Dairy cattle that eat grass produce milk that is safe to be consumed by humans in the form Mother Nature intended, i.e., unpasteurized. The milk from cows that are allowed to graze in the meadow contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which prevents cancer. Perhaps that is why there is such an increase in cancer…the dairy we are consuming is from cows feeding in Confined Areas and the cows are fed corn (probably GMO corn—see below for more on that). In the early 1800’s the alcohol distilleries became big business. The distilleries had a lot of waste that they had to dispose of, so they created dairies and fed it to the cows. As a result, they produced milk which was bluish in color not fit for human or cattle consumption and in which the e-coli flourished. Grass fed cattle produce Lacto Ferrin, which naturally kills the bad bacteria in milk. After all, Mother Nature wanted cows to survive as a species and built this protective mechanism into milk. Cows were meant to graze happily in the meadow on grass, chewing their cud, not stand around knee deep in mud and feces, confined to a small area with 100’s of other cattle.
I remember when my father told me about Round Up Ready Soy Beans. I also remember a few years later his telling me that Japan wouldn’t buy any Round Up Ready Soy Beans. GMO foods, sometimes called Frankenfoods, are human’s way of really messing with Mother Nature. It is important to distinguish between GMO foods and hybrids. Hybridization involves selectively cross breeding over time to increase what are perceived as positive traits in a particular plant or animal and decrease negative traits. So perhaps a tomato variety evolved which appeared to have a resistance to a particular pest or disease, but it wasn’t a particularly tasty tomato. Plant scientists could use the genetic materials from two or more different varieties of tomatoes to create a “better” tomato. This dates back to the time of Gregor Mendal who recognized dominate and recessive genes (in a primitive sort of way) in peas to selectively breed for certain traits. For nearly a century this was done by grafting on branches from different plants.
GMO foods on the other hand, splice genes from different genus and species of the particular kingdom to create, again, what is perceived to be a more desirable plant or animal. Let’s say you are hoping to develop a tomato with a longer shelf life. GMO might take a piece of genetic code from perhaps a Brazil Nut and splice it into the tomato which might create a longer shelf life. The problem with this, of course, is if you are allergic to Brazil Nuts, you could die from eating that tomato. Thus the demand from consumer groups to label GMO foods.
Both Hybridization and GMO are fooling mother nature. Hybridization, however, may cause only a small thunderstorm compared to the Tsunami that is GMO foods. Plants actually do hybridize on their own via cross pollination, so it is perhaps only speeding up what mother nature might be able to do on her own.
GMO foods, are another story completely. Studies on Monsanto GMO corn show that it leads to organ failure, including the liver and kidneys. Of course, Monsanto came up with some legal mumbo jumbo about faulty analysis, etc. But if the rats got sick from eating their corn, the rats got sick, right? The even bigger problem with GMO foods is the cross breeding that occurs naturally with other non-GMO foods. Remember, Mother Nature will cross pollinate on her own. It makes it nearly impossible to have Organic Food if GMOs are allowed to proliferate. That sounds like a natural disaster just waiting to be put into place by Mother Nature.
As an aside, I sometimes wonder if Roundup Ready Soy Beans and other grains invented to be resistant to Round Up (also a Monsanto product—how convenient) were crossed with wild Buckthorn. That is most certainly naturally resistant to Roundup.
Many believe that the reason there are so many people with allergies to corn and intolerances to gluten is due to the GMO crops. Counties and States all through the United States are hoping to tame the wrath of Mother Nature by banning GMO crops all together. In July of 2011, the Hungarian Government ordered GMO corn crops plowed under so the seeds weren’t allowed to pollinate. http://www.care2.com/causes/hungarian-government-destroys-gmo-corn-crops.html Farmers planted them unknowingly, but they were ordered destroyed to protect the future food supply.
Knowing the results of messing with the food chain in animals and trying to control the world’s food supply with GMO food, next time I will turn to medicine and question whether we can get by with fooling Mother Nature there either. There is always a price to pay when tinkering with the grand design of things. Can we really get by with it?