Genetic Engineering (GE) is the process of altering or disrupting the genetic blueprints of living organisms–plants, trees, fish, animals and microorganisms. Genes are spliced to incorporate a new characteristic or function into an organism. For example, scientists can mix a gene from a cold-water fish into a strawberry plant’s DNA so it can withstand colder temperatures. So far, the most widely used GE foods are soy, cotton and corn. Roundup Ready Wheat is currently under development. This crop will join the company of a number of crops engineered to resist the Roundup herbicide.
Proponents of GE claim that this “technology” will make agriculture sustainable, eliminate world hunger, cure disease and improve public health–but have they factored in the enormous risks? When surveyed, most consumers do not want to eat genetically modified foods, and even commercial farmers are wary. Wheat farmers are scared of the Starlink corn fiasco. Iowa farmers planted one percent of their 2000 corn crop as Starlink, a genetically engineered corn approved only for animal consumption. By harvest time, almost 50 percent of the Iowa crop tested positive for Starlink. Product recalls, consumer outcry and export difficulties have ensued. This mistake resulted in the recall of hundreds of millions of dollars of food products and seeds.
In regards to exporting, our overseas consumers say they will not accept any wheat that has been genetically engineered. For this reason, the development of GE wheat is temporarily on hold.
Article adapted from westonaprice.org