The danger of GMO foods

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Fr. Shay Cullen

Fr. Shay Cullen

The pictures of the hungry children holding up placards with the single word “Food” and another that cried out “Help,” these among many others were heart-wrenching cries of hundreds of thousands of poor people whose lives, homes, and families were wrecked by the devastating, all powerful storm to hit the Philippines last November 7. The memories will never go away and they bring home to us with sharp reminder, that food and clean water are the most basic human needs of all. In fact, this is such a powerful need that when it is unsatisfied, there are severe malnutrition, hunger, famine, starvation, and these in turn cause mass migration, civil unrest, demonstrations, revolutions, looting, robberies, wars, massacres, and the fall of governments.

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It is when food is plentiful and evenly distributed, there is greater peace in a country and the nation can be stable and prosper. When there is justice and respect for human rights, then it is a civilized and developed country. Whoever can supply and control a plentiful supply of food for all will grow rich and powerful and rule forever. That seems to be the sinister plan of those who hunger and thirst for political power. Decades ago, the powerful nations dominated the weaker by luring or coercing poorer nations in their debt traps. Governments incurred huge debts, which the people had to pay through oppressive taxes and austerity.

They were then forced to comply with the demands of greater nations to sign unequal contracts to favor the oil, mineral, pharmaceutical multinationals, and the military industrial complex. Military bases proliferated. One more richer and powerful nation could ride roughshod over the sovereignty of small nations especially in Africa and South America and parts of Asia and control and extract their natural resources with the connivance of the corrupted governments. When some patriotic, uncorrupted rulers refused, they were replaced through coups, regime change or assassination.

Qualms of conscience
But some of the agents who were the field officers, implementing this global strategy of the great powers had qualms of conscience and soon it was leaked to the media and a worldwide outcry against it led to the “Freedom from Debt” campaign and the Jubilee campaign. Bono, the Irish leader of the Christian rock & roll group U2, was a major inspiration and leader of this movement.

The great political powers looked for another mechanism to control the smaller nations, the poorest and most vulnerable. Foreign aid was not enough and competing powers could offer more than the other. Through business monopoly, elite fractions that greatly influence democratic elections found another powerful mechanism to exert influence that is the greatest need of all – FOOD. They saw their opportunity in the scientific development that changed the genetic make-up of the humble tomato.

It all started in 1994. The tomato had a very short shelf life; it ripened very quickly and had a shelf life of only a few days. The big plantations could not deliver in time to dominate the markets so the food science laboratories experimented to find ways to extend the ripening time. By taking the gene of another organism that did not ripen so quickly, they inserted it into the tomato and bingo, after much trials and errors, it worked. The new tomato had a very long shelf life, the big food growers swamped the market with low cost tomatoes, the small farmers went out of business and then with the competition eliminated, the plantation corporations increased the price of their tomatoes and made a fortune. They still do.

The food science industry boomed and every possible modification to the food we eat has been made. The “not so humble” tomato was to again lead the way. Cold snaps in Florida decimated the tomato crop, the laboratories went to work. This time, as the story goes, they found an organism, (an arctic fish some say) that had a gene that enabled them to survive minus 30 degrees. With this gene spliced into the DNA and genetic make-up of the tomato, the tomatoes had stronger resistance to cold and the plantation owners became even richer. But that is the general idea behind genetically modified plants that make up our food.

Corporations control seeds, farm inputs
The scientific research laboratories of the multinational food corporations launched frenzied research and development programs to find ways to genetically modify every possible plant that could be used in food and they own the patent for that food. So tomatoes and corn and many more crops that now dominate the food chain is owned and controlled by these corporations.

The seeds that produced them are terminal. That is they can’t be planted to grow more crops. The farmer has to buy the seed every year from the corporation that holds the patent.

They own and supply the specific fertilizer that makes the seed grow and upon which it is dependent. In this way, the corporations control the food supply through their GMO seed and food products.

They will own us too one day and nations will become dependent and subservient to them. If they don’t supply the seed people will starve, riot and topple government. That is greater power than that which grows from the barrel of a gun.

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