What is in this article?:
- The fundamental misunderstanding of the plight of agricultural producers stems from the idea that farming is, or should be, natural.
- Technology is essential tool to feed the world.
- Fear and rumor hurts agriculture.
The Mercola website that reported the story of the 1,000 acres of corn being destroyed is among the worst inaccuracies. On that site I read a story about buffalo eating GMO cottonseed and becoming sterile. This might be funny if it were not so tragic in its ignorance. It is not the transgenes that cause the buffalo’s sterility, but rather the gossypol, a toxic pigment found in all cotton seed—which can only be detoxified by heating during processing—that causes temporary sterility in adult bulls and permanent sterility in adolescent males. In fact, the Chinese male birth control pill, also used in Brazil, is based on gossypol.
The food supply provided to you, by American farmers and ranchers, is the safest and most affordable in the world. The World Health Organization states on their website: “The GM products that are currently on the international market have all passed risk assessments conducted by national authorities. These different assessments in general follow the same basic principles, including an assessment of environmental and human health risk. These assessments are thorough, they have not indicated ANY risk to human health.”
U.S. farmers grow 40 percent of the world’s corn and 10 percent of the world’s wheat. The genes selected to protect and enhance these crops are chosen with great care. I remember one of the first genes to control worms in corn was the StarLink (Cry9C) protein developed by Aventis. StarLink was a very long and complex protein structure. Most allergens are also long and complex proteins. There was never a single person identified who showed an allergic reaction to StarLink, but since it was a long protein, and it is impossible to prove that something is not an allergen with a world population of six billion, it became guilty by association.
The EPA did, however, allow StarLink to be fed to animals. This was a terrible mistake to allow StarLink for animal and not human consumption because we do not have the infrastructure necessary in our grain handling facilities to segregate the grain consumed by animals and humans. It was only a matter of time before the StarLink corn found its way into the food supply in the form of taco shells. There was never one instance where a person was hurt by the StarLink protein, but its uncleared presence in the food supply caused it to be quickly taken from the market in 2000.
The mill where I deliver our corn continued to test for StarLink until 2009, when it was clear that it had been completely purged. The genes that followed StarLink, such as Dow AgroSciences’ Herculex (Cry1F), were extensively tested to the point they were cleared for both humans and animals. Never again will one be cleared and the other not.