Mmmmmalfalfa…GM?

A conversation topic for you and your families about what we’re putting into our soil and into our bodies and ecosystem:

Borders are physically drawn on a map but when we’re talking about seeds, borders don’t stop them. So…genetically-modified (GM, same as genetically engineered or GE) seeds across the border in the US…what’s keeping them from crossing the border into Canada? Not much really in terms of physical barriers. Arguably, many foods that we see today have been bred to have desirable traits. Creating hybrids through breeding has been done for a long time to create new species of apples, for instance. GM seeds have their molecular structure altered via recombinant DNA technology (essentially recombining DNA from more than one source) so that they can have favourable traits, like being more pesticide- or herbicide-resistant. That makes large-scale care of the crop a little bit easier by allowing application of pesticides/herbicides to kill undesired creatures or plants while not killing your desired crop.

There are a wide variety of issues that are discussed with respect to GM products. The safety of inserting/deleting genes, genetic contamination of non-GM crops, labelling requirements for products that include GM ingredients, controlling GM crops or products within and across borders (since some countries don’t allow them)….  For me, I think the biggest issue is the branding of GM seeds and the loss of control of farmers and their seeds. Seeds don’t carry passports and they don’t get stopped at any border or port. They get carried with the wind and being a farmer without being able to control what goes into or onto your land, then being told by large companies that you are growing their branded GM seeds unauthorized….

Cute video care of cban.ca (Canadian Biotechnology Action Network)

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