By Silvia Wú Guin and Fernando Alvarado de la Fuente
The discussion clearly confronts two positions, those who defend the large transnational transgenic seeds and those who want to defend the rights and health of the population and the environment. With this article we want to synthesize the main points of discrepancy between those who defend transgenics and those who question them and propose as an alternative organic, healthy food, free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
With this article we want to synthesize the main points of discrepancy between those who defend transgenics and those who question them and propose as an alternative organic, healthy food, free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
1. Monsanto's friends don't want GMO labeling
To declare or not to declare the existence of transgenic inputs on the labels? That is the concern of the proto-transgenics that see the expansion of their proposal threatened. For us, the situation is extremely clear "the right of citizens to know what they consume is an inalienable and indisputable right." Dr. Jaime Delgado has already said it repeatedly and we agree on it "the right to information is a fundamental principle, and this is not in dispute"
Now, what we must recognize in the first place is that, the labels serve mainly to inform, truthfully and objectively about the background of the products. The labels are therefore similar to an affidavit, which the more detailed and truthful, the better it will say about the company that declares it. We are not appealing to the “preventive” tone at all, since the preventive is a condition relative to people. Thus, the fact that a company declares -or not- gluten, peanuts or cinnamon as inputs, for some people will be mere information about the company with the aim of being transparent to its loyal consumers, and for others, it will be the difference between a healthy life, or a life with chronic symptoms, or even death from anaphylactic shock, for not having read the labels or because the labels do not declare their inputs.
Just as inputs such as gluten, peanuts or cinnamon are declared, additives such as caffeine, tartrazine, aspartame or monosodium glutamate are also declared. Thus, the people who have detected hypersensitivity to these additives do well to avoid them. It is only a matter of information and personal decision making.
In conclusion, any statement on the label helps to rule out or verify the reasons for possible poisoning or allergic reactions as it allows ingredients and supplies to be traced. In other words, if your child suffers from allergies, and for this reason you take her to the doctor, he will ask her about the routine that she follows, and within it, the diet that she administers. If you were to consume, for example, some soy derivative, such as soy 'milk', and it happened that it was also transgenic soy (which today is highly likely), knowing this condition through the label would help to rule out or verify that sensitivity. The opposite is not to have a minimum of clues, making the assumptions, the tests, the mistakes almost infinite, until you find the riddle.
2. The processed and their health hazards
In addition to the ingredients, of course it is important to know the production process, and any company that has no qualms about informing it, will declare it, especially if they feel proud of it. When we speak of processes we refer to the techniques or the means to obtain the products, for which, certainly, there is no requirement to declare them but it should be a good habit to do so. Why? you ask, simply because there is also a difference in the quality of the processes.
Let's think of some simple examples. Let us bring to mind some oils, one made from cottonseed, or from sunflower seeds, or from corn, and another from olive; So far we will have only observed the inputs and we will feel happy because it is - what better - "natural products"; Now, let's get more insightful and remember your production processes. In the first case, for this example, those of cotton, sunflower and corn are commercial oils, whose production process subjects the seeds to high temperatures and solvents to extract the maximum amount of oil and, after separating the solvents from the oil, it follows a refining phase to make it "fit" for the market. Serious studies indicate that these oils contain high amounts of trans fats, therefore, subjecting the oil of these vegetable seeds to temperatures greater than 1500 C favors the denaturation of their fats, the consequence of which is serious health problems. None of this happens with the extra virgin olive oil from the cold press process. So will it be important to know the production processes?
Another much more recent example is that of milk with melamine, prepared by one of the large Chinese dairy groups. His pride was to declare the high% protein of his product, raised precisely by melamine, a powdered substance that is actually used for the manufacture of plastics and cement. If it hadn't been for the fact that such a practice caused the death of - at least - 6 creatures, its production methods that included melamine might never have been known. Perhaps it had been argued that the ailments of the creatures were due to other causes and not to that "milk."
The third example is the one that motivates our existence as an agroecological movement. Bring back some vegetables, imagine that some come from the San Agustín, Callao area and others from the Pachacámac area. The former are irrigated with wastewater from the Rímac River, which is contaminated with a sewage collector . The second come from agroecological fields that monitor the quality of water to be used for irrigation. Is it worth knowing the production process? Observe the quality in the processes?
Returning to the case of milk processed with melamine, we have just learned that the Chinese authorities have sentenced to death two of those responsible for this fraud; Mentioning it in this article does not imply that we advocate a similar sanction for those who daily threaten our health by offering as food that which sentences us to a slow death. Rather we ask ourselves: who protects us against additives that cause health disorders? Who sanctions the use of toxic agrochemicals in the crop production process? Who watches over our citizen rights? Officials and authorities often ignore each other.
Mothers, fathers and doctors should be the first to demand that the GMO Labeling Law, which has been in the legislature for months, and which, reliable testimonies tell us of the "many pressures" to curb this rule.
3. Disinformation to the consumer
We insist that the more information provided to the consumer, the better the quality of the choice they make when buying. It is already known from companies that indicate the use of Peruvian potatoes, such as Andean and native potatoes, which is commendable.
One of the recent ASPEC campaigns highlights how unhealthy the majority of cereals sold in our market are, either due to their excessive refined sugar content, their high sodium content and even the colorings used. The other ASPEC complaint refers to the breads that are sold under the denomination of "whole grains", which are actually refined flours mixed with bran and colorants to make them look like true whole grains that are darker. Again ... to declare or not to declare? What to declare, what to hide?
Our proposal is to raise the quality of citizen participation, involve them in decisions, make them aware that they have capabilities and that it is their right to exercise them. We do not approve of others thinking or deciding, hiding behind "academic degrees" or "doctor's degrees" as the friends of Monsanto do. Human beings have thinking capacity and we must make use of it. Therefore, let us banish that image of manipulable mass, the last wheel of the car for governments and authorities. Consumers can be an organized group that asserts their rights.
The heart of the debate is increasingly evident. What is the information to be provided? Any information of interest to the consumer? Or only the one agreed that makes the company sell more? Those who allow this last practice, whom do they defend? Consumers or companies, especially the big monopolies that produce GMOs? Who should the “advance of science and knowledge defend? To the human community or to a few particular interests?
Here is the difference of approaches, totally opposed, with Monsanto's friends of GMOs.
4. The dirty work of proto-GMOs
Returning to the arguments of Monsanto's friends, he assures that exhaustive and careful studies have been carried out to verify the potential allergenic or toxic effect of transgenic derivatives and ensures that there are no chemical or bromatological differences between them and conventional foods. Moreover, it ensures that studies that prove otherwise have been dismissed because they present deficiencies in their experimental design. That is to say, science against science, and we lay people in the middle. Who is right? Why the antagonism on the same subject? In these cases it is good to turn to history to clarify doubts.
In the 1950s various Ph Ds "proved" that tobacco was harmless and, on the contrary, healthy. Around those years, likewise, it was several honest scientists who uncovered this scientifically-backed scam. This is how the courts were able to condemn the tobacco companies to the payment of 700 billion dollars. Tobacco has been and is the cause of death for tens of millions of people; Those responsible have not been but the companies that bought the scientists to make up arguments and the media to spread false studies, and with them, what they sold their conscience for a few dollars more are also responsible (for details see our article "Tobacco and T-trap transgenics ").
Don't you think we are under the same ethical case as 50 years ago? That is to say, on the one hand, the great petty economic interests and their group of scientists and the media that lend themselves to say what is convenient and, on the other hand, the well-being and health of the population.
A recurring and almost workhorse argument of pro-GMOs is to imply that transgenics are safe because "they have been exhaustively and carefully studied to verify their potential toxicity or allergenicity", no more than OJO, the fact of mentioning that They have done careful studies does not mean that the result was that. There are many scientists who claim that Monsanto itself has actually carried out these studies - but the results are not disclosed and the fact that they prefer to keep them in reserve speaks for itself.
As for the "questioned" studies, we also know that it is another recurrent practice of the transnationals to "question their questioners." Dr. Flora Luna, in a recent article 'Medicines, vaccines and transgenics: Scientific recommendations versus serious conflicts of interest "(see Sharing # 07 - 2009), reveals" With the development of some Clinical Trials of medicines, vaccines or transgenics, it has been reached the extreme of manipulating the results, of having adverse effects and if they are communicated, they are immediately threatened with lawsuits and totally discredited at the scientific level. Examples abound, I will only mention two: A. Wakfield (5) who warned about the use of multi-dose vaccines to live attenuated virus and the risk of autism (6) or Arpad Pusztai (7), renowned molecular biologist, whose only mistake was to speak in the press about the adverse effects of their rats fed transgenic potato. He was immediately threatened with lawsuits, his computer confiscated, his phone tapped and of course fired (8) ".
Marie-Monique Robin in her documentary and in her book ‘The World According to Monsanto’ (464 pages of compilation of evidence and 38 of references) illustrates dozens of cases of manipulation of studies provided that the marketing of transgenic seeds remains protected; also, he reviews the brutal attacks against scientists who dared to confront the transnationals.
5. The dangers of Bt
Another tactic of the pro-GMOs is not to delve into or show what does not suit them. For example, they do not detail how to obtain a pest resistant transgenic crop.
At the moment 98% of all transgenic seeds that are grown and sold in the world correspond to four products: soybeans, corn, rapeseed and cotton. 80% of them are resistant and for this reason they are abundantly sprayed with Glyphosate, a powerful herbicide and cancer promoter. The other 20% contain Bacillus thuringiensis Bt. A part close to 10% has both characteristics, that is to say they are doubly dangerous, let's see why.
The Bt maize varieties owe this ancestry "Bt" surname to the introduction of Bacillus thuringiensis genes into commoner maize. Now, Bt has been known for years, as its derivatives are used in pest control, either by dusting or spraying crops; no more than - beware - in all these cases, the Bt remains externally, intermingled in the soil or on the plants. We have known insects forever, and the truth is that their survival instinct is such that they will always find a way to evade Bt regardless of the number of times this product or any other pesticide is used. So, faced with such a challenge, instead of designing production systems that balance the insect population to coexist in harmony (which is the agroecological proposal), a group of skilled scientists came up with the brilliant idea of incorporating the insecticide into the map. genetics of corn. Certainly, Bt is not an inert substance like DDT or parathion, Bt is a bacillus from which a portion of its genetics is extracted to incorporate it into corn. Thus, wherever the insect bites, it will always run into Bt and die. Machiavellian, right?
Bt proteins, incorporated into 20% of all transgenic crops in the world, have been found to be harmful to a large number of insects not considered pests. This shows, once again, the narrow vision of the short term, not foreseeing what this practice may entail in the future.
In fact, the review does not seek to raise awareness of the rights of arthropods, but it does warn of what can happen by consuming a Bt corn, in which each of its millions of cells includes the biological mandate to process the insecticidal toxin of the Bt. Would you accept it on your family's daily plate? In the mush of his creatures? In the breakfast omelette? A team of scientists has warned of the dangers of releasing Bt crops for human use.
6. The dangers of glyphosate
Just as Bt genes are paired with maize, which might not generate so much citizen alert, because finally "why so much fuss about insects that in the long run will survive humans"? take note of this other scientific advance. In addition to pest insects, scientists have set out to sweep away weeds from the field, which they also consider another pest and label them "weed". Surely you have heard that some crops must grow without company next to them to avoid competition and thus another agrochemical product called herbicide is justified, which serves precisely to make a soybean, corn or rapeseed crop grow exclusively accompanied by their peers. The challenge was how to achieve a herbicide that is powerful, but does not kill the crop by the way? This is how scientists created transgenic soybean seeds capable of resisting herbicides despite being marinated in them (marinated because field herbs also generate resistance to herbicides, so it is increasingly required to use more to control them) . What is the point? you ask, the point is that the herbicide used (and sold by Monsanto as part of the technological package) is glyphosate, a product with a tremendous criminal record against our health.
Let's see what Dr. Jorge Kaczewer refers to in his article ‘Toxicology of glyphosate: risks to human health’
"Recent toxicological studies conducted by independent scientific institutions seem to indicate that glyphosate has been erroneously classified as toxicologically benign", both at a health and environmental level. Thus, glyphosate-based herbicides can be highly toxic to animals and humans. Toxicity studies revealed adverse effects in all standardized categories of laboratory toxicological tests at most of the doses tested: subacute toxicity (lesions in salivary glands), chronic toxicity (gastric inflammation), genetic damage (in human blood cells), disorders reproductive (decreased sperm count in rats; increased frequency of sperm abnormalities in rabbits), and carcinogenesis (increased frequency of liver tumors in male rats and thyroid cancer in females). At the eco-toxic-epidemiological level, the situation is aggravated not only because there are few laboratories in the world that have the equipment and techniques necessary to evaluate the impacts of glyphosate on human health and the environment.
Also because those who initially conducted the toxicological studies officially required for the registration and approval of this herbicide in the United States have been prosecuted for the crime of fraudulent practices such as routine falsification of data and omission of reports on countless deaths of rats. and guinea pigs, falsification of studies by altering annotations of laboratory records and manual manipulation of scientific equipment so that it provides false results. This means that the existing information regarding the residual concentration of glyphosate in food and the environment may not only be unreliable, it is also extremely scarce. "
Later paragraphs continue with another description "Every pesticide product contains, in addition to the" active "ingredient, other substances whose function is to facilitate its handling or increase its effectiveness. In general, these ingredients, misleadingly called" inert ", are not specified in the product labels. In the case of glyphosate herbicides, many "inert" ingredients have been identified. To help glyphosate penetrate plant tissues, most commercial formulations include a surfactant chemical. Therefore, the toxicological characteristics of market products are different from glyphosate alone The most commonly used herbicidal formulation (Round-up) contains polyoxyethylene-amine surfactant (POEA), related glyphosate organic acids, isopropylamine and water.
The following list of inert ingredients identified in different commercial glyphosate-based formulas is accompanied by a classic description of their acute toxicity symptoms. The effects of each substance correspond, in some cases, to symptoms verified in the laboratory through toxicological tests at high doses. Most symptoms were compiled from reports prepared by the manufacturers of the different formulas.
*. Ammonium Sulfate: Eye irritation, nausea, diarrhea, respiratory allergic reactions. Irreversible eye damage in prolonged exposure.
*. Benzisothiazolone: eczema, skin irritation, allergic photoreaction in sensitive individuals.
*. 3-iodo-2-propynylbutylcarbamate: Severe eye irritation, increased frequency of miscarriage, skin allergy.
*. Isobutane: nausea, nervous system depression, dyspnea.
*. Methyl pyrrolidinone: Severe eye irritation. Abortion and low birth weight in laboratory animals.
*. Pelargonic acid: Severe eye and skin irritation, respiratory tract irritation.
*. Polyoxyethylene-amine (POEA): Ocular ulceration, skin lesions (erythema, inflammation, exudation, ulceration), nausea, diarrhea.
*. Potassium Hydroxide: Irreversible eye damage, deep skin ulceration, severe ulceration of the digestive tract, severe irritation of the respiratory tract.
*. Sodium Sulphite: Severe skin and eye irritation concomitant with vomiting and diarrhea, skin allergy, severe allergic reactions.
*. Sorbic acid: Skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, chemical pneumonitis, angina, allergic reactions.
*. Isopropylamine: Extremely caustic substance of mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract tissues. Lacrimation, coryza, laryngitis, headache, nausea "
"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already reclassified pesticides containing glyphosate as class II, highly toxic, for being irritating to the eyes. The World Health Organization, however, describes more serious effects; in several studies with rabbits , rated them as "strongly" or "extremely" irritating.
"In humans, symptoms of poisoning include skin and eye irritations, nausea and dizziness, pulmonary edema, drop in blood pressure, allergic reactions, abdominal pain, massive loss of gastrointestinal fluid, vomiting, loss of consciousness, destruction of red blood cells, abnormal electrocardiograms and kidney damage or failure. "
We reiterate, 80% of transgenic crops are full of carcinogenic glyphosate. And there is something else… there is herbicide resistant Bt corn. Consequently, not only do you have corns with all their cells containing Bt, moreover, Bt corns that grew soaked in glyphosate.
For more references, check the article "Glyphosate: The poison that devastated the Ituzaingó neighborhood" in Sharing # 5-2009, written by Darío Aranda.
In another article compiled in Compartiendo # 52-2008, entitled ‘Spain cultivates transgenics dangerous to health,“ the following is reported:
"In Spain alone this year 98 experimental fields have been cultivated with a transgenic maize whose health damage has recently been demonstrated. 93 municipalities throughout the country have hosted open-air trials with this transgenic, which poses serious risks of contamination .
In Spain, this corn (known as NK603 x MON810) has been experimentally cultivated in the open air since 2004 by the companies Monsanto, Pioneer and Limagrain Ibérica, in more than one hundred experimental fields in Catalonia, Extremadura, Madrid, Galicia, Navarra , Castilla y León, Castilla La Mancha, Aragon and Andalusia. A cumulative total of almost half a million square meters cultivated with this transgenic over the past few years, with the risk it poses of contamination of other corn fields .
The Ministry of the Environment gave the green light to these trials claiming that: "It is considered that in the current state of knowledge and with the proposed use measures, the trials do not pose a significant risk to human health and / or the environment. "
"On November 11, a study commissioned by the Austrian Ministries of Health and Agriculture on the effects of GMOs on health was presented at a scientific seminar in Vienna. This research, one of the few carried out on long-term impacts from the consumption of transgenics, he concluded that the fertility of mice fed the genetically modified NK603 x MON810 corn was seriously damaged  This corn is approved for import into the European Union for use in human and animal nutrition.
Now that this corn has been shown to pose a health risk, the entire approval process is called into question. We cannot feel safe with the GMOs on the market. We cannot continue to tolerate that multinationals experiment with our health with the approval of the Government and the European authorities, "added Sánchez."
Studies subsidized by companies that sell GMOs imply that they are safe and, furthermore, question the dozens of independent studies that show otherwise. What is happening with science and scientists, has he prostituted himself to defend the interests of transnational corporations?
7. The financial interests of friends of Monsanto
Something can be deduced from the article ‘Those who want to eat the world: corporations 2008’ prepared by Silvia Ribeiro and which was transcribed in Compartiendo # 03-2009. There it is stated that "In the 1960s, almost all of the seeds were in the hands of farmers or public institutions. Today, 82 percent of the commercial seed market is under intellectual property and ten companies control 67 percent of that item. These large seed companies (Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Bayer, etc.) are mostly owned by manufacturers of pesticides, an area in which the ten largest companies control 89 percent of the global market. Which in turn are represented among the ten largest companies in veterinary pharmaceuticals, which control 63 percent of this item. "
"The 10 largest food processors (Nestlé, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, CocaCola, Unilever, Tyson Foods, Cargill, Mars, ADM, Danone) control 26 percent of the market, and 100 direct-to-consumer chains control 40 percent. percent of the global market. It seems "little" in comparison, but they are vastly higher sales volumes. In 2002, global sales of seeds and agrochemicals were 29,000 million dollars, those of food processors 259,000 million and those of chains of consumer sales 501 billion. In 2007, those three sectors increased respectively to 49 billion, 339 billion and 720 billion dollars. It remains the supermarket WalMart, the largest company in the world, being number 26 among the 100 largest economies of the planet, much higher than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of entire countries like Denmark, Portugal, Venezuela or Singapore ".
Indeed, these are not modest figures that have ended up breaking the integrity of many scientists.
At this point in the reading, what can be left in doubt? Is it important for consumers to be informed? Why is it that Monsanto's friends do not provide the details behind GMOs? Isn't it logical to ask what interests are being defended by hiding this key information?
8. Genes: playing gods
Again, it is omitted to report that genes come from species that nature would never collect. Many of us know that spontaneously a mammal would never genetically join a fish or a bird with a mollusk, even if they are on the market and we have already consumed them. It is not that they are "varieties or hybrids that we have been using in the past" alluding to the fact that they are not extraterrestrial species, it is about the fact that nature has evolved generating order and behavior. Human beings are still very unaware of the functioning of nature and day by day, with each discovery we are more aware of how much we still have to know. Despite this, a number of scientists - playing gods - combine genes and without thoroughly studying the consequences, release their products, indolent to the results of this action.
Perhaps the greatest indolence (or impudence) is to appropriate those "varieties or hybrids that we have been using in the past", which communities developed for years to patent them, and with it, charge farmers for their use. That is, anyone who uses them must pay them for that "research effort."
What never ceases to amaze us is the artificial system that they have created, with their own logic and rules, ensuring that we are facing the same thing in the past and even supporting themselves under the concept of "substantial equivalence" and simultaneously patenting and charging for products as if they were real inventions.
9. "Substantial equivalence", the FDA and GMOs
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is the United States government agency responsible, among other matters, for regulating GMOs. Be careful here, the FDA is a state entity, and even so, it asks Monsanto itself to carry out studies of its children - GMOs. In other words, Monsanto is judge and party.
The serious thing about the studies carried out by transgenic seed companies is that they are carried out for short periods, and what they reveal are the results of these "studies" of only weeks or months. They have not conducted long-range studies. In places where there is no labeling (as in the United States) there is no way to know the harm caused by transgenic drugs. However, the report of an increase in allergies has skyrocketed since GMOs have been consumed.
Marie-Monique Robin demonstrates in her book 'The World According to Monsanto' that the principle of substantial equivalence (see pages 223 to 226) is actually "... one of the greatest machinations in agribusiness history ...", "... simply a way for Monsanto to quickly get its products to market with as little government interference as possible. " Marie-Monique Robin in the same book (p. 224) includes the opinion of Michael Hansen, the expert of the Union of Consumers, who insists "The principle of substantial equivalence is an alibi that is not based on any scientific foundation and that was created ex nihilo to avoid that GMOs are considered at least as food additives, which allows biotechnology companies to get rid of toxicological tests provided by the Food Grug and Cosmetic ACT, but also from the labeling of their products ".
Robin continues saying "We have reached the center of the debate that opposes supporters and opponents of GMOs. Indeed, although no scientific study had been carried out to verify them, the FDA decided a priori that GMOs did not fall into the category of GMOs. food additives and that GMOs could therefore be marketed without prior toxicological evaluation. "
Robin concludes "Currently, when you want to add a microscopic drop of a preservative or a chemical to a food, it is considered a" food additive "and, therefore, all kinds of tests must be done to show that there is a" certainty reasonable that it is not harmful. "On the other hand, when a plant is genetically manipulated, which can engender innumerable differences in food, nothing is asked!"
One of the many examples that verify the lightness with which the matter is handled is the case of L-tryptophan, whose transgenic version caused the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) that caused edema, cough, skin rashes, respiratory difficulties, hardening of the skin. skin, mouth ulcers, nausea, vision and memory problems, hair loss and paralysis. GMO L-tryptophan killed 37 people and more than 5,000 were disabled in 1989. None of Monsanto's friends allude to this unfortunate and clear case of the danger of GMOs.
Another very notorious case is the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone rBGH (sold as Posilac by Monsanto), which although people do not consume it directly, causes such disorders in the physiology of dairy cows that - in addition to causing them painful diseases - transfer a substance identified as IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) into milk, which studies show to what extent abnormally high levels of this second hormone are associated with the development of breast, prostate and cancer cancers. colon (visit www.organicconsumers.org/rbgh0724_monsanto_rbgh.cfm).
Information as a means of identification and tracking is absolutely necessary. The mechanism is the declaration of inputs and procedures on the labels of foods that contain transgenic derivatives. In this way we can be supported and if in some years the damages are verified we can hold the corresponding companies responsible for it.
On the other hand, resorting to the argument of "... labeling based on the consumer's right to know ... is counterproductive and would bring harm to the consumer due to the increase in food costs" is frankly naive but also insulting. When have you stopped declaring specificities of a product because it is more expensive? And if it were more expensive, it would simply be preferable not to resort to that technology and to choose organic production, which, far from risking the balance of the planet or the health of people, can proudly and transparently explain its entire production process. If it is about declaring the use of transgenic derivatives or inputs, this measure is applied in countries such as Brazil, Mexico, France, to name a few, and in no case have prices been raised. It is taken for granted that the most benefited are consumers who, informed, can choose.
10. The precautionary principle
Laboratory tests carried out by scientists Arpad Pusztai, Michael Hansen and many others, show that living beings fed with transgenics do present anomalies and diseases. Does this reality have no logical or experimental support? Despite this, transgenic crops have been released and almost the entire food industry (except for the one that follows organic production standards) is devoted to transgenic inputs and derivatives.
Even so, precisely how to trace if the industry refuses to declare supported by the friends of Monsanto. Isn't the collusion between the industry and certain scientists notorious?
The WHO in 2002 specified that the number of people in the world who died of cancer was about 7.6 million, a figure higher than the 5.6 million who died from HIV / AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis. According to the WHO, cancer increased by 19% worldwide between 1990 and 2000. Wouldn't this data alone deserve attention by delving into the causes of it?
Dr. David Suzuki, geneticist, widely awarded professional, environmentalist and awarded for his 30 years as a diffuser of scientific topics in a simple and enjoyable way, opines "With the experience of DDT, nuclear energy and CFCs, we learned that we could only discover the costs of these technologies after their use has spread. We should apply the precautionary principle with any new technology, finding out if it is necessary and then demanding proof that it is not harmful. And nothing more important than biotechnology because it is using the hallmarks of life itself Since GM foods are present in our diet, we have become experimental subjects with no choice (Europeans say that if we want to know if GMOs are dangerous, we should only study North Americans). I would have preferred much more experimentation with GMOs under controlled conditions in a laboratory before their release into the open field, but it is too late. s painful experiences we have learned that anyone who participates in an experiment should provide consenting information. This means that, at least, foods should be labeled if they contain transgenic (inputs or derivatives), so that everyone can make their choice. "(Experimenting With Life, www.davidsuzuki.com)
11. Laws must defend us
Indeed, legal instruments are required to rule and regulate the use of GMOs and, at the same time, it is necessary to set compensation measures and liability for damages. History tells us facts such as the damages caused by the use of agrochemicals since their popularization with the green revolution; in turn, thousands of cases of cancer due to tobacco use; and more recently, so many other cases of death, disability or illness due to consumption of L-Tryptophan or milk with rBGH, to which is added considerable economic, social and environmental losses. As citizens who advocate greater social participation, will we continue to allow impunity? Given the antecedents, shouldn't we be cautious?
In the article "Uncovered transgenic corruption" by Silvia Ribeiro (published in "Compartiendo" # 4 - 2009) the following is transcribed "After seven years of the article by Ignacio Chapela and David Quist in the journal Nature, showing that there was transgenic contamination in the peasant corn of Oaxaca, a new scientific article confirms that not only was there contamination at that time - despite the fact that the aforementioned authors were the object of one of the most shameful witch hunts in the history of the scientific establishment - but that years later, it still existed and represents a current and future risk against corn, one of the most important genetic and food heritages in Mexico. Entitled 'Presence of transgenes in Mexican corn: molecular evidence and methodological considerations for the detection of genetically modified organisms', this article was published in November 2008 in the scientific journal Molecular Ecology and is the responsibility of a team led by Elena Alvarez-Buylla from UNAM.
Beyond a scientific controversy, the article is extremely relevant because, although it was not its objective, it highlights the collusion between the biotechnology industry, scientists and government officials, as well as the failures of the transgenic detection companies, very useful to transnationals. "
In 2007, 39 new incidents of contamination by transgenic crops were reported worldwide in 23 countries. Much of the reported contamination involves crops such as rice, corn, but also includes soybeans, cotton, canola, papaya, and fish. In the last 10 years, the registry of these cases has reported a total of 216 pollution events in 57 countries. In 2007, incidents of contamination and illegal release of transgenic crops involved cotton (1), fish (4), corn (9), canola (2), papaya (1), rice (20) and soybeans (2) (GeneWatch UK and Greenpeace International, 2007).
In the case of Peru, in 2007 the presence of two transgenic events was identified in hard yellow corn crops in the Barranca valley, located north of Lima, Peru (Gutiérrez, 2007), which once again puts the question of issue of the risks and impacts generated by the introduction of genetically modified crops in centers of biological diversity, such as Peru, which currently has 55 varieties of maize adapted to various ecological levels (Perry et al. 2006 in Lapeña, 2007).
12. Conclusion: Two antagonistic positions
The discussion clearly confronts two positions, those who defend the large transnational transgenic seeds and those who want to defend the rights and health of the population and the environment.
GMOs do not offer safety in cultivation, much less in consumption; tampoco resultan ser la salida al hambre del mundo porque no presentan mayor productividad; para colmo, se demuestra que sólo beneficia a unos pocos. Los agricultores que ingenuamente entran a ese cultivo se vuelven esclavos de las compañías y los resultados suelen ser contraproducentes. Caso conocido es el de India, en donde fueron muchos los agricultores que creyeron la historia de las semillas transgénicas como solución al hambre del mundo; la dependencia a los insumos (semillas y agrotóxicos) no fue al ritmo de las ganancias y terminaron arruinados. Se calcula que 200 mil jefes de familias campesinas se han suicidado a causa de las deudas y por el sentimiento de no poder retomar sus cultivos tradicionales.
Nuestro cuestionamiento no es cerrado ni "anti", ni fundamentalista. Ofrecemos salidas tecnológicamente apropiadas, social y ambientalmente respetuosas y económicamente factibles. La agricultura ecológica le está probando al mundo que es el enfoque de producción que hace posible la obtención de alimentos sanos, sabrosos, más nutritivos y sobre todo, seguros.
En el artículo Agricultura ecológica produce más y mejor de Lim Li Ching (ver Compartiendo # 12 – 2009) se dice:
Aunque pocos cuestionan que la agricultura ecológica sea mejor para el ambiente y la gente, hay temor a su presunta insuficiencia productiva.
Recientes estudios muestran que los rendimientos de la agricultura ecológica son en general comparables a los de la convencional en países desarrollados y significativamente más altos en regiones en desarrollo, en especial donde las inversiones son bajas, como África.
Un estudio mundial con datos de 293 ejemplos (Catherine Badgley, 2007) halló que la diferencia de rendimientos de la agricultura orgánica (que no utiliza productos agroquímicos) con la no orgánica era de poco menos de 1,0 en el mundo desarrollado pero de más de 1,0 en los países en desarrollo.
En promedio, sistemas orgánicos en naciones ricas llegan a 92 por ciento del rendimiento de los convencionales, mientras en países en desarrollo, agricultores orgánicos producen 80 por ciento más que los tradicionales.
Los investigadores estimaron que hipotéticamente los métodos orgánicos podrían producir suficientes alimentos, sobre una base global por persona, para mantener a la población mundial y quizás a una mayor, sin agregar más tierras a la producción.
Por todo lo expuesto, las y los consumidores necesitamos estar realmente informados sobre los riesgos de los transgénicos, tanto a nuestra salud y a la del ambiente, como a los agricultores que las producen, y debemos seguir prefiriendo los alimentos ecológicos.
Silvia Wú Guin – Directora ejecutiva de Red de Agricultura Ecológica – Fernando Alvarado de la Fuente – Presidente del Centro IDEAS
Extractado de Con Nuestro Peru – http://connuestroperu.com
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