Super bugs – coming to a supermarket near you (if it’snot there already)

Evolution can be a beautiful thing, except when it comes to genetically modified  crops, pesticides and herbicides. No “modification” is 100% effective, so there remain a few, albeit small, number of bugs, diseases or other organisms that manage to survive and eventually they become immune to whatever is sprayed on them or introduced into their food source, thus creating big  bad super bugs and super strains.

It has already happened with the herbicide Roundup, which resulted in the creation of a strain of weeds that are no longer affected by this poison, and indeed seem to thrive because of it. After all, if you remove the competition there is little to hold your growth in check. The latest disaster in the making is Monsanto’s Bt modified corn. Originally claimed to be rootworm resistant, that resistance is now failing, along with the corn’s resistance to some of the insects that were supposed to be deterred or killed if they ate the corn.

Monsanto’s response is not, “What have we done,” but rather “Let’s create a newer resistant strain,” but such fixes will only work for so long before a new resistance again develops. Monsanto’s efforts call to mind that childhood rhyme about the old lady who swallowed a fly, and then to get rid of it she successively had to swallow a spider, a bird, a cat, a dog, a goat, a cow and finally a horse; “She died of course.”

The problem is that we, the consumers, are the ones who will ultimately become sick or die from the scientists of Monsanto (and other “big ag” corporations) whose focus is figuring out ways to kill things effectively. But at what cost? Blood tests of women seen in one university hospital in Quebec found that 93% of those who were pregnant tested positive for Bt toxins while 80% had Bt toxins in their umbilical cords and toxins were also found in 67% of non-pregnant women as well.

Genetically modified foods were touted as the answer to increasing crop yields and providing a safe source of food. They have clearly fallen short in the latter category. While many consumers, particularly those of lower economic means, feel they have no alternative to buying genetically modified foods owing to the often higher cost of organics it may come down to paying now, or paying later. What good is low cost food if it ultimately will compromise your health, and possibly your very life?

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