[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you’re like most preppers, your plan for long-term survival post-SHTF probably includes some type of garden as a food source. If you’ve already started gardening, you probably have heard about the debate between GMO and non-GMO foods. So how exactly could GMO impact your survival planning?
Americans are just beginning to make the link between GMO crops and processed foods containing these ingredients and the increased health problems over the last decade or so.
Huge spikes in allergies, cancers, and other illnesses, including gluten intolerance, are cause for concern. You may want to think twice about stockpiling GMO foods for a post-SHTF scenario.
Our European counterparts caught on to the risks of GMO much sooner than Americans have and simply demanded GMO labeling and now they simply avoid buying products containing GMO’s. Big name companies, like Hershey, Kraft, and Nestle claim to have removed GMO’s from their products, but only for the European markets.
What is GMO?
GMO means “genetically modified organisms” and it’s a very hot issue across the U.S. in recent years. When DNA from two different species (for example plant and bacteria, animal, or virus), are combined through artificial injection it produces a GMO. This creates a type of combination that doesn’t occur by itself in nature. GMO procedures are typically used to encourage desirable traits and discourage undesirable ones. Traditionally this has been done through manual splicing of plants or selective breeding of animals with desirable characteristics.
But naturally splicing or breeding takes time and is never 100% predictable. Consumers want aesthetically pleasing, uniform fruits and vegetables. They want apples that don’t turn brown when sliced and exposed to air and they want less bruising as fruits and vegetables are transported from farm to store to table.
Consumers who are so far removed from naturally grown food won’t buy misshapen tomatoes. Farmers wanted crops that could withstand disease and attacks by pests. So now, plants and animals are being genetically engineered in a lab to have desirable characteristics. These are the so-called GMO’s.
Benefits of GMO?
GMO is being touted by biotech companies as the solution to a food shortage, especially in third world countries. And there are many potential benefits that could arise from GMO practices in the lab:
- Increased crop yields and greater food security
- Reduced costs for food or drug production
- Crops and Animals that resist diseases and pests and don’t need pesticide spraying
- Enhanced nutrient and food quality (plants can be created with more nutrients or with pharmaceuticals to fight illness, right in the plant)
- Crops and Animals grow bigger and mature faster
- Crops better tolerate environmental stressors and can grow where they normally wouldn’t.
The above potential benefits seem worthy of exploration. The problem is that we don’t yet know all the long-term consequences of GMO’s but here are just a few areas of concern:
- GMO work is being conducted by big name corporations like Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer, Syngenta, and Bayer and is being called biotechnology.
- Gluten intolerances and sensitivities have been linked to glyphosate residue found in foods originating from GMO crops.
- Rats who were fed GM maize developed severe kidney and liver damage and malignant tumors after just 16 weeks.
- GMO’s have been suspected of being linked to chronic ailments such as weird joint pain, rashes, allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, constipation, bowel disease, organ failure, Crohn’s, infant mortality, autism, heart and kidney disease.
- GMO’s have been associated with Morgellons disease, symptoms include joint pain changes in vision, mental confusion, short-term memory loss, and fatigue. Some patients have reported long string like fibers coming from under their skin.
- Monstano’s most infamous herbicide is RoundUp which contains Glyphosate, an ingredient known to be extremely toxic even in small amounts, to all forms of life. This ingredient has already been linked to cancer, birth defects birth defects, and chronic fatigue.
- rbGH, a genetically altered bovine growth hormone given by injection to milk-producing cows included IGF-1 , which has been linked to causing cancer.
- Genetic engineering produces Bt crops. Bt crops produce an insecticide that kills pests. The pesticide is produced within the plant as it grows! Those pesticide filled crops are then turned into food that is consumed by people.
There are some people who believe that GMO contamination, including the use of glyphosate is a subtle attempt to degrade the health of the human population. We won’t really know if there is truth to this theory until it’s too late.
Will History Repeat Itself?
To top it off, the history of these big name corporations is concerning. Although in recent years their marketing strategy has been to call themselves biotech companies, they are for all intents and purposes, pharmaceutical and chemical companies. Chemical weapons were produced for the Nazi’s by the I.G. Farben conglomerate, one that BASF and Bayer, now big biotech companies, were part of. Monsanto, one of the biggest GMO players, has produced multiple carcinogens in the past, including Dioxin, Lasso, DDT, and Agent Orange.
Which Crops Are Being Genetically Modified?
Any crop can potentially be genetically altered but the most common crops currently are corn, soybean, canola, tobacco as well as plums, nectarines, and rice. Cottonseed oil, white potatoes, tomatoes, peas, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, and crook neck squash. You also have to be wary of any derivatives of these crops. GMO’s are also already being used to genetically modify salmon, chickens, and cows to grow bigger, produce more milk, and mature faster than normal.
What Foods Are Genetically Modified?
Genetically engineered foods have been on the shelves since the middle of the 1990’s. In fact, any food containing ingredients such as genetically engineered corn, soybeans, or canola is considered GMO and that’s more than half of all processed foods. Anything from salad dressing, to pizza, to ice cream and baking soda can contain GMO ingredients.
Other Potential Problems
First, Monsanto and other big biotech companies, have the money to lobby regulatory agencies like the FDA. The FDA is the agency that determines whether or not to flag something for further inspection by the EPA or USDA, both of which have much stricter safety guidelines. This means that the companies with the most money influence the FDA, and control how foods derived from GMO crops are labeled and whether or not they are subjected to more rigorous inspections.
Many people who have been growing crops, saving part of the seed from those crops, and then growing more crops, know that GMO crops do not reproduce as well year after year from saved seeds as non-GMO or heritage seed. In other words, if you plant pumpkins for example, save part of the seed and then use that to plant the next year, you get an entire crop of pumpkins and can repeat that every year.
If you plant GMO seeds, grow the crop, save the seeds and use it to plant more pumpkins, you will get fewer pumpkins every year. Eventually you will plant the seeds and will get very few pumpkins and maybe none at all.
It’s already been proven that GMO crops being planted out in the open are cross-pollinating with non-GMO crops and altering them. So the continued planting of GMO crops near non-GMO crops means that there may come a day when all of the non-GMO crops have been contaminated by GMO cross pollination. Big biotech companies, especially Monsanto, have also been gradually buying up smaller seed companies for years, especially those seed companies selling non-GMO seed.
So just for a moment, think about that. Monsanto, one of the main GMO players, could one day own all of the non-GMO seed companies. They could own all of the non-GMO seeds on the market. GMO crops are being planted out in the open and have already been shown to cross-pollinate with non-GMO crops nearby, contaminating them.
So potentially, those non-GMO crops that are contaminated may produce fewer results from seed year after year. So it stands to reason then that one day, the only seed available would be seed that doesn’t reproduce well year after year. EVERYONE who wanted to grow their own food would have to eventually purchase more seed, from, you guessed it, Monsanto owned and controlled seed companies.
How to Avoid GMO Foods
Know the common GMO crops and become familiar with their derivatives. Avoid buying them in the store or buy produce only at a local farmer’s market. Because GMO labeling is not required in the U.S., it’s more difficult to know which foods are GMO-free. There is no true GMO free certification. For help in buying GMO-free foods, visit www.nonGMOshoppingguide.com or learn more at http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/.
The best way to avoid GMO foods is to stop eating processed foods and to grow your own food from non-hybrid, heritage seeds. To accomplish this, you may have to buy seed from other countries (especially corn for example). Find out if there are GMO crops growing near your crops that could cross-contaminate your fields. You also have to pay attention to the feed that you give your animals to ensure it is not GMO contaminated in any way.
So GMO versus non-GMO is a lot to think about, but for preppers who want to take everything into consideration, it’s an issue that cannot be ignored. If your long-term survival plan includes relying on the ability to grow your own food supply, you have to research and be aware of how GMO practices could negatively impact growing food and plan for it.