The Monsanto Superweed
Genetically modified organisms: This stuff currently is what the food industry and USDA call food.
You remember food, don’t you? Plant a seed, add water, pick what grows and take it to the market. Ah, the good old days. Things have changed along the way, and we now engineer food instead of using the traditional farming standard. We give the process a title that sounds like the name of some classic Twilight Zone episode and fill the shelves of grocery stores nationwide. Beware: There’s a genetically modified organism on the loose and it’s made its way into our food supply. Exit Rod Serling.
On that note, I give you Monsanto.
More than half of processed foods in supermarkets contain genetically engineered ingredients. Companies like Monsanto are heavily invested in the process and have modified crops like corn and soybeans so that they are now able to survive lethal doses of herbicides (toxins). The result has been an increase in the use of herbicides, a surplus of weeds resistant to herbicides, and the contamination of conventional crops.
The bandwagon that carries mega-company profiteers is pretty full these days. Eighty-five percent of genetically engineered crops have been designed to resist herbicides. Companies such as Syngenta, Bayer and Dow all produce seeds that can tolerate the herbicides that these same companies produce.
Monsanto has profited more than any other company through the production of genetically engineered seeds and the accompanying "Roundup Ready" herbicide whose active ingredient is glyphosate.
Now the problem shifts into high gear. Despite an overload of chemicals being poured into the environment and Monsanto basically calling the shots on our diets, the beat goes on.
Whereas farmers no longer needed to be concerned about flooding their crop with herbicides, they began using more. Overuse of Roundup and the active ingredient glyphosate spawned a legion of glyphosate resistant superweeds.
Soon enough, farmers caught on that glyphosate was no longer effective for killing weeds, they began using more toxic concoctions like 2,4D and Paraquat. The "spray more" solution was now in play with farmers using multiple herbicides in the hope that one of them might work.
And the Good News Is…
There is no good news. In 2012, 49% of United States farmers who were surveyed reported that they had glyphosate-resistant weeds on their farms, an increase of 15% over the prior year. Ninety-two percent of farmers in Georgia reported glyphosate-resistant weeds on their farms.
From 2011 to 2012 the states of Nebraska, Iowa and Indiana reported that the number of acres with resistant superweeds had almost doubled. In addition, the spread is accelerating. The number of resistant acres increased by 25% in 2011 and then by 51% in 2012. Exacerbating the problem is the emergence of additional resistant species. In 2010 twelve percent of farms had more than one species but by 2012 that number had increased to twenty-seven percent.
Monsanto and their peers are racing to the rescue though and have proposed that farmers try “next generation” herbicide-resistant seeds that are engineered to resist not only Roundup but other even more toxic herbicides.
Good thinking indeed.
Living life well-fed,
My Bariatric Life
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