engineered seeds What are we eating?
What is a genetically
engineered crop or plant?
engineering involves the transfer of genetic material from one organism
to another; such a transfer would not occur naturally. Genetic engineering
is used to introduce or enhance particular characteristics, such as
herbicide tolerance, pesticide traits, or added vitamin or protein content.
Seeds can be genetically engineered to be sterile, as with the so-called
- To date,
the majority of genetically engineered crops benefit the producing companies.
There are no benefits to the consumer. It is disputed whether the use
of genetically engineered seed results in less use of pesticides or
- There are
concerns about pollen drift from genetically engineered crops to native
or wild species or to non-genetically engineered crops such as organic
- In a Bt
seed, genes from the Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) bacteria are
forced into the seed and the plant becomes a pesticide. The toxicity
does not break down in sunlight like the sprayed form of Bt. Toxins
that are produced remain in the plant all the way to our plate. There
are also concerns about build-up of those toxins in the soil and potential
harm to soil microbia and beneficial insects.
use of pest-resistant crops, or Bt, presents the possibility of the
pest building up resistance to the Bt toxin. The potential for "super
bugs" is an ongoing concern, as it would render the use of the
Bt spray useless, destroying a natural pesticide used by organic growers.
- The EPA
placed new restrictions on genetically engineered corn to reduce the
threat of ecological damage. The EPAs Scientific Advisory Panel
recommends even more testing and monitoring of genetically engineered
50 million acres were planted with genetically engineered seeds in 1999.
Sixty to seventy percent of all packaged food on American grocery store
shelves contains genetically altered ingredients. Some of the primary
crops being genetically engineered include soybeans, tomatoes, canola,
potatoes, corn, cotton, cheese, milk, papaya, and yellow crook-neck
engineered food is currently not labeled in the United States.
Organic View: September 28, 1999; ECNews Summer 1999; Nucleus, Fall 1999,
p 3; Seed Savers Exchange, 1999 Summer)
you can take
- Write Stephen L. Johnson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (mail code 1101),
401 M St., SW, Washington, DC 20460 and explain that you are troubled
by the potential threat of Bt-corn pollen to monarch butterflies and
other beneficial insects, and the EPAs failure to identify and
examine the risk before the crop was approved for planting.
- Write Mike Johanns, USDA Secretary, 200 A Whitten Building, 1400 Independence
Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250. Insist that the labeling of all genetically
engineered crops/food is an important right-to-know concern. Tell him
that the USDA should cease funding research on sterile seeds and increase
funding for organic agriculture.
- Write your
Congressional representative to sign on to HR3377/S2080, legislation
requiring that all genetically engineered food be labeled.
- Call or
e-mail us for updates on actions the Adrian Dominicans are taking on
genetically engineered seeds from a shareholder perspective. We can
be reached by phone at: (517) 266-3521
or e-mail: [email protected]