Why the World Should Copy Europe and Opt Out of GM Crops

Brittany Helmer-Peschier discusses a recent move by several EU countries to opt-out of a recent GMO Crop scheme, and asks if it’s time the rest of the world followed suit.

14 EU countries and 3 of its regions have opted out of a new GMO crop scheme. In March, new EU rules were agreed to and, as a result, 15 countries have sent out territorial exclusion requests to Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, Pioneer, and many more major food corporations. Applications from Latvia and Greece have already been accepted, and if the rest of the applications are accepted as well, two thirds of the European population and all of its arable land will be GMO free.

Franziska Achterberg, Greenpeace’s EU food policy director said that “A growing number of governments are rejecting the commission’s drive for GM crop approvals.” She also said that these governments “do not trust EU safety assessments and are rightly taking action to protect their agriculture and food. The only way to restore trust in the EU system now is for the commission to hit the pause button on GM crop approvals and to urgently reform safety testing and the approval system”.

Recently, the UN declared Monsanto’s roundup “unsafe for human consumption”. Shortly after that, Scotland and many other countries in the EU refused to use Monsanto’s roundup.

The UN also called for an end to industrialized farming, saying that “the world’s agricultural needs can be met with localized organic farms”.

A 30 year study from the Rodale Institute showed that organic farm fields yield 33% more crops compared to chemically managed ones.

Anne Lappe, author and educator, said that “organic agriculture is taking off around the world, especially where it is needed most”

She reports that 80% of all organic producers are based in developing countries. 162 countries, including India, Mexico, and Uganda, are now home to certified organic farms, covering 37.5 million hectares of land. In 2012, the farmland produced a harvest worth $63.8 billion.

If the entire world started eating organic, and supporting the farmers in these developing countries, then these countries would be able to slowly build themselves up financially. This, in turn, would benefit global economy, education, and impoverished families of these countries, not to mention the health of people all over the world.

One major health risk posed to the people who eat genetically modified crops is glyphosate. Glyphosate is an active ingredient in Monsanto’s roundup.

In March, the International Agency for Research on Cancer warned that glyphosate “probably” causes cancer. The risks, however, may not be limited to cancer, according to research from an MIT scientist.

One in 68 children in the United States are diagnosed with autism. Dr. Stephanie Seneff, senior research scientist at MIT believes that there is a connection between Glyphosate and autism saying that it is caused through the disruption of gut bacteria. She also says that Glyphosate can cause problems with liver function and Vitamin D.

Switching to organic food will stop the intake of Monsanto’s roundup and consequently avoid the major health problems mentioned above. Europe is definitely taking a step in the right direction. It is only a matter of time before the rest of world follows suit.

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