GE crop acreage increased from 4 million in 1996 to more than 167 million in 2003.
In the United States, 70% or 100 million acres contain GE crops.
Other leading GE crop producing countries include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, China, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Romania, and South Africa.
However, Europe’s timely intervention has prevented many of the problems now faced by other countries who accepted GE crops without question.
In Europe, the ‘mad cow’ scare caused many to distrust governmental regulations and led to stiffer supervision of GE food production. As a result, the European Union (EU) established strict laws regarding the labeling and tracing of GE foods.
Since 1998, the EU has blocked any new GE crops from being approved – a moratorium that is still in effect. However, Germany and Spain are the only EU countries growing GE crops at present.
Naturally, such policies have angered the US; and, in 2003, they filed a suit with the World Trade Organization in an attempt to end this moratorium, but to no avail.
As a result, the US employed tactics designed to force or ridicule the EU into submission, which only served to stiffen their resolve. This was apparent in the following statement issued from the European Development Commissioner, Poul Nielson, in response to statements made by the US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and his attack on the EU’s stance on GE foods:
“If the Americans would stop lying about us, we would stop telling the truth about them.”
In Ireland, the uprooting of the only acre experimental GE crop has merit. At the time of the infamous potato famine, severe food controls were in effect. This cost the country millions of their citizens because such other foods as barley and oats that could have saved the people, were being shipped to England.
It is little wonder that Ireland and other countries are reluctant to go down that path again. GE crops will mean food controls of one type or another.
We are now in the middle of the largest food experiment in history. Since the largest GE producer comes from the US, the eyes of the world are on American children to see how they measure up after consuming GE foods for a period of time.
So far, they are not doing very well despite protests to the contrary.
Illnesses, diseases, growth rates, andbehavior problems have all increased steadily during the last decade, with the majority being traced back to diet. However, few so-called experts are going to admit to such a link. Therefore, it is left up to the individual to find out what is best for him/her.
According to a March 2001 article in the New York Times, “The CDC now says that food is responsible for twice the number of illnesses in the United States as scientists thought just seven years ago . At least 80% of food-related illnesses are caused by viruses or other pathogens that scientists cannot even identify.”
The reported cases include 5,000 deaths, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 76 million illnesses per year. This increase roughly corresponds to the period when Americans have been eating GE foods.
In addition, obesity has skyrocketed during the same period. In 1990, no state had 15% or more of its population in the obese category. By 2001, only one state did not. Diabetes rose by 33% from 1990 to 1998. So did lymphatic cancers and many other illnesses.
There is no way to tell for sure because no one wants to look for a connection.
Feeding the World:
Proponents of GE crops say that biotech foods are necessary in order to feed the world. The Vatican and other governmental agencies have been convinced.
However, to date, GE foods have been developed only to withstand herbicide sprays and not to feed starving people. The nutritional ploy is used only to convince people that GE crops are necessary – but necessary only to line the pockets of the GE industry.
As it stands now, there is enough food to provide 4.3 pounds per person every day of the year; but yet, 800 million people go hungry during the same time period.
The problem is not that there are insufficient quantities of food, but rather the problem lies in distribution and not in production.
Stephen Jones, associate professor and wheat breeder at Washington State University, agrees, summing up the problem by saying: “Starvation is not a technology problem; it is one of poverty and politics. How will biotech fix that?”
Francis Moore Lappe was even more pointed in her observations: “Monsanto, and other corporations seeking to make the world dependent on their engineered seeds, have had the gall to tell us we need their technology to ‘feed the hungry’ when the bane of farmers around the world has long been overproduction, because too many people are so poor they can’t afford what’s already grown.”
The problem of feeding people also is involved with nutrition, and these large conglomerates have failed miserably in that category.
The world is already inundated with overly processed, nutrient-deficient foods.
Recently, scientific studies have proven that industrially-grown foods contain up to 50% fewer nutrients than organically grown food – something that organic producers have maintained for years.
GE producers have yet to prove their foods are more nutritious, and it appears that this proof will not be forthcoming any time soon. Nutrition is not a priority with them in the laboratory, only in the media and lobbying and making money.