Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Taking a Stand Against the GM Food Movement

Guest post by Karen Flores

It is nothing new to hear about the growing control that multi-national corporations (MNCs) are having over our food industry with genetically modified (GM) foods, which are infiltrating every aspect of the consumer food market. It is increasingly difficult here in the US to find foods that have not been genetically modified in some way.

What is new to hear is that more and more countries are willing to take a stand against the giant MNCs and ban GM crops in their countries. With entire countries enacting bans against GM crops, this is an enormous leap in making arguments known over the concerns of GM foods. Ireland has made the decision to ban GM crops and offers a voluntary labeling system that identifies food which are GM-free. Ireland’s decision is based on many factors from the obvious to the more subtle.

Clearly there are health concerns revolving around GM foods and what kind of long-term health issues that may arise. But additionally, Ireland recognizes that its local farmers would not be able to compete against the giant subsidized food industry as is seen in the US and Canada. Over time, the MNCs would gain control over much of the economy and Ireland’s local businesses would be suffocated and eventually become extinct. Another beneficial reason for Ireland to ban GM crops is that with consumers increasingly demanding natural foods, Ireland stands to be a good source country for non-GM foods that can me exported to other countries. It will be clear that foods grown in Ireland or other countries with a ban against GM crops will be naturally produced.

Ireland will likely face an uphill battle against MNC giants, such as Monsanto. Last year, Monsanto filed a suit against the German Government when it enacted a ban against GM corn. Monsanto is clearly trying to preserve the economic opportunities in Europe and is willing to battle it out against countries that ban GM crops; realizing the potential influence these bans would have on other European countries that may be flirting with the idea.

As more countries start to ban GM crops and take a stand for additional testing and research, there may be a glimmer of hope toward more natural food choices and less control by MNCs.

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