Brace yourself. Genetically modified foods are back in town.
All over the headlines nearly 20 years ago. A big public outcry to get them off the market.
Genetically modified, see. To be immune to pesticides. So when crops are sprayed to get rid of weeds, the important plants aren’t affected.
Yeah, great. But how about the super-weeds that become pesticide resistant? Running riot, ready to take over the planet. And what about the dependant ecology – birds, insects, other plants – the whole biological balance?
And what do they do to us humans?
We showed them back then. 1999, it was. Together with the Daily Mail – guns blazing, run that stuff out of town. And we did, all consumers together. Told our supermarkets “No Deal” – we didn’t want any of that Frankenstein stuff.
Well guess what?
Just checking out this year’s National Farmers’ Union conference, they’ve showed up again. Digging by the Mail has exposed GM foods are back. In up to 80% of maize and soya fed to livestock that become the meat that we eat. Sneaked into our supermarket fridges by big money corporations with no questions asked. We pays the money, the retail chains keep schtum.
Yeah, bad news, the pits.
GM and worse
But squeaky clean alongside the ANTIBIOTICS you’ll find in the same food. Especially since those mega-buck conglomerates have no idea they’re there anyway.
Yeah, GM crops – we can probably live with them.
But genetically modified human beings – meaning YOU and everyone else on this planet – that’s seriously screwing with us. Because that’s exactly what antibiotics do long-term – screw up our genes, shake up our body balance.
Ever wondered why we’re all getting fat? Or why we’re getting sick more than we used to?
Thanks for nothing – from antibiotics. In the food that we eat – straight from the supermarket.
You see, they’re actually ADDED to livestock foods, like the maize and soya already GM cultivated – deliberately fed to animals to make them grow bigger, stronger and faster.
And animals have been fed that stuff for decades – generation after generation of cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and even fish – fattened up for market in high density factory farms. Places so crowded, and hygienically iffy, those same animals NEED antibiotics to stop them falling sick in droves.
All in the poo
OK, let’s get basic.
Every farm animal – cows, sheep, chickens – makes poo. Tons and tons of the stuff – a major source of nutrients for all plant life. In fact the average cow probably pumps 80 – 90% of the stuff that it eats back out again – super-enriched food to make fertile manure.
Laced through and through with residual antibiotics.
Right, so follow the chain. The poo enriches grass for grazing – to be re-eaten by those same animals. More of the same stuff to bulk them up – the farmer’s rubbing his hands, although probably has no idea it’s there.
Because they’re in the grass, antibiotics residues are in the animals’ silage too. They get them with every mouthful, even though the farmer will withdraw antibiotics in their feed – for an elimination period required by law – before sending them off to market.
Plus of course, the poo gets collected for manure – which spreads antibiotic residues everywhere it’s used – including the GM farmed crops of maize and soya to be used as additional feed. So even though the animals are not receiving direct doses, they’re still mainlining with every mouthful.
It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere
The same manure of course, gets used everywhere else too – for fruit, grain and vegetable crops, everything. There are no laws or restrictions on its use, so it may even wind up being used to encourage growth of ORGANIC crops too. Organic crops thought to be pure, but containing antibiotic residues.
Oh yeah, and while we remember, antibiotics are widely used to boost plant growth too – sprayed on, mulched into the soil, or sometimes injected – and there’s no legal restriction on how that happens. They’re also used like pesticides – to control white spot, blight and leaf rot. More residues.
Since they’re in the soil, the residues leach down into the ground too, to be borne away by rainwater and runoff into the river systems. Which means there are antibiotic traces in our drinking water too – everything we eat or drink, right across the food spectrum.
Now here’s the thing. We think of antibiotics as medicines, right? Miracle drugs that prevent and cure infection, protecting us from illness and disease. They do this by killing pathogenic bacteria, prescribed according to whatever the need is, to target treatment more effectively.
Not so bad if applied locally, to the skin or directly to a sutured area. But a real full-on drama if taken internally. Because as doctors are now starting to realise, our bodies are actually 90% bacteria and only 10% human – a mutual and harmonious partnership that makes us the amazing creatures that we are.
Down in our gut, where everything we eat eventually winds up, there are hundreds of trillions of bacteria – our microbiota – a diverse and carefully balanced community handling all kinds of functions, including digestion, protein production and regulating our immune system.
Pitch any kind of bacteria-killing antibiotic in there and it’s mayhem. Medicinal antibiotics might home in on specific pathogens, but a lot of other bacteria types inevitably get in the way. Residual antibiotics attack pretty well anything.
Bang, the end of carefully balanced harmony, the whole community goes out of kilter. Some whole species get wiped out, others are severely devastated. Not good for their basic defence system, which is to crowd invaders out by sheer numbers, impossible if half of them are missing.
Er, damaged gut bacteria. With damaged DNA. Unable to do what they’re supposed to do. Genetically modified gastrointestinal malfunction. Oh, sorry!
All kinds of things happen as a result, none of them positive. Yes, we might get rid of whatever bug we got our prescription for, but everything else is a downer. Plus there’s no coming back. Some bacteria resuscitate if their numbers are big enough. But the minor groups are gone for good – the system never comes back to 100%. Being genetically modified is a one-way street.
First to go is usually appetite control – and how many nutrients should be extracted from food. At worst, there are no limits, the body eats gluttonously, side-stepping the brain and indulging itself simply because it can.
More likely we wonder why the hell we start ballooning up, we’re not eating any more and we don’t normally guts ourselves anyway. Yeah, but the body absorbs more as it passes through – with our bacteria on the fritz, it squeezes out food value that much tighter. Check your poo – eating the same but passing less? It’s on your tummy and your thighs and your bum.
Uh huh. Exactly the mechanism that makes farm animals bulk up – only now it’s happening to us. Just one of the happy surprises that genetically modified means. Without controls, we pull out more food value than we should – and pile on the pounds big time.
Fat, fatter, obese – but it’s not all lifestyle. Devastating consequences though – type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, asthma – and a lengthening list of other ailments, most of them slow, debilitating and ultimately fatal. Unless we realise what’s happening, we can eat ourselves to death.
And we’re already on the way. Check out Parliament’s own Obesity Statistics. 24% of adults in England are obese and a further 36% are overweight. Double the way we were in 1994 – when GM foods first pushed their way into our supermarkets – and farmers started ramping up antibiotics in animal feed, now at 324,000 tonnes per year worldwide and counting.
Want more proof we’re already genetically modified?
Well, since when did we develop all these sudden allergies, sensitivities and intolerances?
Some of them are because we grow up too clean these days – too little time as toddlers, eating dirt. Our immune systems are a combination of our inheritance from our mothers and what our bodies learn in our formative years, teaching our gut bacteria how to defend us.
Hmm, not so rosy any more. For a start, Mum’s own immune system is genetically modified from a lifetime of residual antibiotic damage – and probably under-powered from her own birth because HER Mum was genetically modified too.
On top of that, the world we live in has fewer challenges to even a generation ago. Major league killers like cholera and typhoid don’t exist any more – which means our immune reflexes sit twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do.
OK, so they invent something. And our high-powered defences over-react, chasing phantoms. We get a reaction, even plunge into life-threatening anaphylactic shock – coming down with asthma, eczema, hay fever, urticaria, coeliac disease, dermatitis, lactose intolerance, nut allergies and a million more – a three-fold increase on where we were back in the 70s.
Time to strike back. Pressure our supermarkets into rejecting GM foods – and antibiotics too. Go organic if we can. Avoid antibiotics like the plague – because they might save lives in the short term, but in the long run they’re killers.
Which also means stay away from germs wherever possible so that our weakened systems stand a better chance of survival. Only one way round that – wash your hands like your life depends on it (which it does) – and sterilise the area around you whenever you can with a Hypersteriliser. If there are no germs, you can’t get hit.
Yeah, genetically modified foods – at least they’re well intended, despite the side effects. Not like antibiotics – they’re about as helpful as being genetically modified with a baseball bat.
Picture Copyright: velkol / 123RF Stock Photo