In Far away United states of america, a war has been raging of recent-the war against Monsanto, the food giant that spearheads the research into and production of genetically modified foods, foods manufactured using the activities of genetically modified organisms, GMO. Their Congress has passed a bill that makes it against the law to label foods on the market shelves as being a product of genetically modified organisms. The debate was that, given the fact of an overwhelming evidence that genetically modified foods are harmful to humans, and government insistence that only genetically modified foods are the best for the country, every food that contains GMO should be labeled so that Americans have a choice in deciding whether to buy the GMF or the naturally produced foods. In fact, in recent times, there has been several recalls of shelf foods due to the fact that they were deemed to have used undeclared chemicals in their production.
The government has been at war with the farmers who produce and sell directly to consumers without resort to genetics, with the accusation that their foods are contaminated with the Salmonella species of bacteria. Salmonella is the main causative agent for diarrhea. For polish deli. example, American federal and state regulators are seeking legal sanctions against farmers in Maine, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California, among others. These sanctions include injunctions, fines, and even prison sentences for farmers who fail to join the genetic bandwagon.
Genetic modification of foods started in the nineteen eighties. The biotechnology giant Monsanto began to genetically alter corn to withstand its activities in trying to round up their weed clearing agenda-or herbicide roundup, as it was generally referred to. The goal was to eradicate weeds but not crops and resist a corn pest called the corn borer. These small changes in the Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA, the building blocks of proteins in the body, of the corn are expressed by the plant as proteins. Those proteins act as allergens, provoking a disorder marked by the overproduction of a type of white blood cell called an eosinophil.
The U. S. government started approving GMO corn and soybeans for sale in the mid-1990s, and today, 88% of corn, and 93% of soybeans, are the transgenic varieties. According to my findings, due to cross-pollination via winds, birds, and bees, there’s no such thing anymore as a GMO-free corn crop in the U. S. “It’s almost impossible to find a corn source in the united states that doesn’t have the [protein] in it, ” Dr. Mansman, an allergist who works in a Virginia hospital, told an American Magazine.
Beyond all the hype, beyond all the gobbledygook, GMFs have become the stable shelf food in Europe and America, and the idea has become acceptable in other parts of the world. In fact the Nigerian National assembly has hurriedly passed the bill to back the genetically modified foods production in the country. Former President Goodluck Jonathan set up a committee to vet the so called biosafety bill as passed by the National Assembly before he could sign it into law. Then, participants at the 10th anniversary of African Agricultural Technology Foundation, AATF seminar say Nigeria’s dream of achieving food sufficiency in 2015 will be a mirage, unless the country adopts biotechnology in the agricultural sector. Even Olusola Saraki, a senator and chairman senate committee on environment and ecology, who is currently the Senate President, decried the delay in signing the bill into law. “As a matter of fact, the benefits of signing the bill into law by Mr President are numerous, ” he said. ” These include regulating the safe application of biotechnology in Nigeria to harness benefits in fields of agriculture, medical, environment sustainability and industrial growth. ” Further more, the law will promote technological and material transfer for research collaboration and commercialization in biotechnology. ” According to him, since 1996, biotechnology-driven crops had been commercially planted and their adoption had increased steadily, with over 8. 5 million planting them in 21 countries, with most African countries developing biosafety. He also noted that all over the world, scientists, who recognized the benefits of the technology, had been at the forefront of the call for safety and regulation of activities in the field of biotechnology.
“Therefore, there is the need for Mr. President to assent to the bill in the interest of our nation and the attendant economic and employment opportunities that come with it, ” he had said. “If this feat is achieved, Nigeria, as a nation, would be sufficient in food production and thereby, save the cost of annual food importation and diversify same into a value chain mechanism. ”
But the question is, how safe is BMF? Investigations indicate that even scientists at the forefront of the promotion of biotechnology are coming out to speak against it. Most food literature focuses on poor nutritional quality of canned and pre-packaged food, which is the only source of food to certain urban people who have no access to fresh foods from the farm. Chemicals found in food packaging are unhealthy-as, for example, Bisphenol A, or BPA. This chemical has been banned from baby bottles and sippy cups in the united states but find ways into the stable consumption of the nouveau-rich in Nigeria. Since it is used to line food cans, intended as a protective barrier between the metal and the can’s contents, BPA actually leaches into the food we eat. The effects of leaching BPA are likely most detrimental for pregnant women, babies and children. This chemical has been linked with obesity, cancer (breast and prostate), early onset of puberty, Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD and retardation of development of brain and nervous systems. The case of early puberty has been a serious societal issue that results in increased rape cases and pedophilia simply because the children look older than they actually are. And Monsanto and other companies are at the forefront of these drugs. France has banned the use of BPA in the preservation of canned foods with effect from 2015. Soon, other European countries will follow suit. Apart from BPA, Aspartmine is another chemical. Aspartame has been linked to several different cancers and even degenerative brain conditions. Consuming aspartame regularly will burn out neurons and has been linked to headaches, mood alterations and even brain tumors. It is regarded as a healthy and sweeter alternative to sugar, though it actually causes diabetes and may also cause obesity. It was developed in a bio-weapons laboratory from excrement from bacteria culture and bleached with other chemicals by Monsanto corporation. It is currently sold under different brand names and used in food seasonings. Unfortunately this chemical, originally sold by Monsanto Corp, is now being re-branded under different names There are currently efforts underway to include aspartmine in milk and so called diet products-“low sugar” or “sugarless” drinks, even though aspartame is contained in many products already that do not list it as one of the ingredients. But by far the most important of these products are the genetically modified foods. “Introduction of genetically modified food has raised a number of fears, some genuine and some irrational, ” says Dr. Leo d’Souza, a Jesuit priest and biotech researcher. “Human fears, whether genuine or irrational, have to be attended to. ” These fears are currently being expressed by Nigerians who are skeptical of the benefits of the foods. For example, The Daily Trust Editorial of 26 June 2013 was particularly critical of the bill. “It may come as something of a surprise, ” the paper wrote, “to some, even shock to many, that such a profound policy step would be taken without as much as consultation with the public. ” The paper continued: “Still, even in advanced nations that have pioneered the technology and fully embraced the crops, controversies over them linger. Scientists have raised concerns about their effect on human health and on the environment. It is alleged that the crops damage the soil and that large quantities of fertilizers and hazardous chemicals are required to successfully cultivate them. And for particularly the developing world, GM crops portend another challenge of having to depend on giant companies in the West for seed imports to replant as some of the crops do not have seeds or those with seeds cannot produce high-yield varieties when they are planted. Unless these allegations about the disadvantages of the crops are satisfactorily addressed, it would be premature to expose Nigerian farmers to GM seeds when the technology is still in its infancy in the country, if at all. ” The paper insisted that the main challenge now is that a large percentage of the national arable land is not being put under cultivation. ” Since the advent of the oil boom nearly four decades ago, successive governments have paid scant attention to agriculture as a national security issue. This is the time to do it, by going back to agriculture, which offers better food and economic security than oil. Efforts should also be made to find a solution to the huge post-harvest losses that farmers suffer. If these and many other steps are taken, the country may in the end find it does not have any need for inorganic substances like GM crops to feed the people, ” the paper concluded.