GM crops: commercial interests at the cost of public health?

There is broad consensus among experts regarding the dangers to health and the environment represented by growing genetically modified crops in the open air, as opposed to research in labs that is doubtlessly considered to be highly valuable in terms of understanding nature and developing medical research.

Despite the fact that mechanisms to assess risks involved in open field crops are still insufficient and there are no safety guarantees, GM crops are being grown in Spain on a commercial scale making it the only European Union country doing this. In 2011, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, around 97 thousand hectares were used to grow genetically modified corn by the multinational company Monsanto, MON810. In addition, these crops are usually accompanied by the use of herbicides: Roundup is one of the most common. It is used to irrigate genetically modified corn, essentially to accelerate its development so that using these chemical products has become essential to grow it.

According to conclusions from research, shown in this documentary, GM products that are authorised for human consumption are damaging for our health. In addition, production implies multiplying the use of chemical products damaging the countryside and, according to ecologist warnings, negative impacts on the environment might be irreparable.

Highly aware of all these risks, different organisations working in Spain to defend the environment, local agriculture and consumer rights are demanding that growing, importing and using GM agro-food products should be banned. They report that this agriculture model is encouraging privatisation and a seed monopoly controlled by a small number of companies and threatening peasant agriculture. They also state that its growth does not really represent greater productivity. Out of the 52 billion dollars spent on agricultural research every year, less than 0.4% is used for researching and assessing specifically ecological initiatives. For this reason, they are asking for more support to continue developing a sustainable agriculture model, to protect the countryside and jobs in farming, local, biological, high quality and healthy production, backing initiatives working towards food sovereignty.

Another highly criticised aspect of using GM crops and the associated chemical products is the authorities' absolute lack of transparency and control as both conventional and organic harvests and foods are being contaminated due to filtrations in the earth. They consider it to be extremely serious that Administrations and the political field are endorsing practices that clearly prioritise individual commercial interests over general public health interests. As they see it, we cannot continue to ignore the social, economic and environmental impacts and the dreadful consequences for health and biodiversity that have led other countries to ban GM crops.

Organisations that insist on defending growing GM foods argue that this might be the answer to world hunger. However, data reveals that they are not providing food right now as 90% of world farming land is GM free and 99% of farmers do not grow them. The controversy and debate rage on.

Film: All of Us Guinea Pigs Now?

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