Genetically Engineered Corn

Jill Taylor Bussiere jdt at itol.com
Sat Mar 23 19:26:07 EST 2002


Hi Phil!

I hear you on the spraying 7 to 9 times.  I wouldn't be in favor of that either.  I don't spray with anything, except with kelp water.  Well, and humic acid sometimes.

I stopped using BT when I realized that it was nonspecific.  But you are right that organic farmers/gardners, at least the last time I looked, are able to use it.  Although if BT plants are 
planted en masse, the resistance to BT may rise, making the use of BT not very helpful for anyone, including those planting GMO's.  Yes, I know now non-GMO areas are required, and perhaps they will work to some degree, but I think the resistance will increase nonetheless.

It isn't the BT in the corn that is problematic for Mexico, but rather the spread of the genes from the genetically engineered corn to their many varieties, some quite ancient, of corn.  Mexico has forbidden GMO corn to be grown, so as to protect these varieties, as they would/will be an important source of genetic material for the future.  And yet, GMO 
corn that came in through free trade agreements and dumping was not clearly labeled as such, and its genetic materials have been passed to these very varieties of corn in Mexico that they were trying to protect - wish I could remember the percentage of contamination, but 
it is an awfully large percentage given that no GMO was purposefully planted.  Although it is not known how the gene material spread, it is clear that it had to come from growing corn plants.  GMO corn plants could have resulted from 1 of 2 ways, as far as I can tell - seeds 
having fallen to the ground and sprouted here and there, or farmers buying the GMO corn, which was sold only as food or feed, not as seed, and then planting it.  Since the corn was not labeled GMO, it would not be clear to farmers what the repercussions would be.

  What I have difficulty with is that the GMO's pass on their genetic material indiscriminately to other fields and varieties.  The genetic drift on GMO's is a fact, and its contamination of seed stock will be very difficult to reverse if ever.  The result is that  the world's seed stock becomes contaminated due to the refusal of corporations to allow labeling.  Freedom for the corporations, but none for the consumers.  
Since the genetic drift was not a consideration before such organisms were grown, I don't have  much confidence that those promoting them have covered all the other bases.  In addition, I think it best to always use the precautionary principle until the effects of a technology are clear - especially one with such widespread effects such as GMO's.

                                Respectfully,
                                    Jill, Wi
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