Hungarian officials have burned 1,000 acres of genetically modified corn after it was discovered that the fields contained a mix of natural corn and the genetically modified variety. It was believed that the genetically modified corn was the product created by the Monsanto company, which is sold around the world, including the European Union. It is not allowed to be sold in Hungary, because the Hungarian government has been concerned about an increasing number of studies linking it to health issues. On May 25, there was an international protest against Monsanto, which has been granted legal immunity in the United States under the Monsanto Protection Act. The act, which was slipped anonymously into a spending package last March. The act limits courts’ ability to restrict the sale of GMO corn in the United States even if it is found to be a health hazard. An attempt will be made to repeal it by Senator Jeff Merkley. The repeal is expected to pass the Senate, but fail in Congress, and it is anticipated that the law will stand.
Genetic modification has made corn resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide product, so that larger quantities can be used in cornfields, which will suppress more weeds and increase yields. Corn that has been engineered to carry disease resistant genes from resistant plants also contain lower levels of mycotoxins, which are substances produced by fungi that normally grow on non-GMO corn crops when they have insect infestations. Myxotoxins are potentially carcinogenic. Genetic design changes have also made corn more durable, capable of being planted, grown and harvested under harsher climate conditions.
However regulators and officials in Europe remain wary of GMO corn, and German regulators have forbidden the planting of 9,000 acres of Monsanto’s MON 810 corn.
There is increasing scientific concern that genetically modified varieties may be health hazards at many different points, ranging from damage to bee colonies to causes of cancer and organ failure in mammals.
French Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini, a molecular endocrinologist at the University of Caen and a member of two French government commissions evaluating GM food, found that MON 810, along with several other varieties of GM crops, showed statistically significant problems in animal studies.
Seralini explained that consuming GM crops had effects similar to those caused by eating pesticides, including inflammation disorders and liver and kidney problems.
Further, biology professor Bela Darvas of Hungary‘s Debrecen University discovered that Monsanto’s Mon 810 is lethal to two Hungarian protected species and one insect classified as rare. Now Monsanto refuses to give him any more Mon 810 corn to use in his tests. They also refused his request for Mon 863, another GM variety.
So not only has MON 810 been shown to cause serious damage to animals, but it may also wipe out protected plant and insect species. Of course, adding to the potential devastation is the fact that corn is a wind-pollinated plant, which means that it is not possible to control is spread.
In the United States, at least ten million acres are planted in GMO corn. As US law now stands, even if the product proves to be a health hazard, it cannot be removed from the market.
Read Anne Strieber’s discussion of the dangers of GMO foods, Evil Corn.
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