Saturday, May 25, 2013

Want More Poison Sprayed on Your Food – Here it Comes

Eat Now – Repent Later With All Sorts of Health Issues

One of the great myths of modern society is that man is smarter than nature.  For example, if there are insects which devour a large portion of a crop man can poison those insects by spraying the crops or putting poison in the ground, and there are no side effects.


Putting poison on foods results in putting poison on food. 

But mankind is really smart, which means we will just make genetically modified plants that resist the insects.

Until recently, corn farmers in the U.S. had largely abandoned soil insecticides, thanks mostly to a widely adopted genetic trait developed by Monsanto Co.  that causes corn seeds to generate their own pest-killing toxins, but which the Environmental Protection Agency says doesn't hurt humans.

The modified seeds, first introduced in 2003, proved to be largely effective against the corn rootworm, a voracious bug that is the main scourge of the nation's largest crop. Today, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, two-thirds of all corn grown in the U.S. includes a rootworm-targeting gene known as Bt.

Problem solved, unless you are one of those crazies who doesn’t want to eat genetically modified food, in which case too bad, the government says its safe.  Of course that is the same government that operates the Defense Department and manages the IRS.

So what’s the problem now, well PROBLEM UNSOLVED

Aaron Gassmann/Iowa State University
Corn that has fallen over or 'lodged' as a result of rootworm damage.

In 2011, however, entomologists at Iowa State University and the University of Illinois started to document rootworms that were immune to the Monsanto gene, and have found these resistant pests scattered across the Midwest.

Gosh, it’s called evolution, and despite the ultra Conservatives who say it doesn’t exist (and who then can’t explain how rootworms could change, rootworms are not intelligent beings after all, they are about as intelligent as Conservatives) it does.  So what happens now?

Insecticide sales are surging after years of decline, as American farmers plant more corn and a genetic modification designed to protect the crop from pests has started to lose its effectiveness.

The sales are a boon for big pesticide makers, such as American Vanguard Corp. and Syngenta  But it has sparked fresh concerns among environmental groups and some scientists that one of the most widely touted benefits of genetically modified crops—that they reduce the need for chemical pest control—is unraveling. At the same time, the resurgence of insecticides could expose both farmers and beneficial insects to potential harm.

Oh, but is it safe?  Well how could putting huge amounts of poison into the soil where food crops are grown be a bad thing?  And besides, isn’t the government looking out for everyone here?

The government doesn't track insecticide use annually

Oh, maybe not.

Now this problem could be largely solved with things like crop rotation and other good farming techniques.  But corn is priced very high right now, and farmers make a lot of money from planting it.  So if they have to poison the ground, well that's just a cost the rest of us will have to bear.

1 comment:

  1. FWIW, there's a new biography of Rachel Carson out (On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson) that received a rave review in Science.