The future of food
Companies patent agricultural crops and so control the sale of the seeds of those crops. Monsanto owns 11000 seed patents. Genes from fields of patented crops migrate into other fields of non genetically engineered crops. Farmers using the resultant seed are sued by owners of the patents for the genes. This and other factors prevent farmers from using their own seed and so are being forced to use the seed sold by the seed companies thereby enforcing the use of fewer varieties. The number of varieties of each particular crop has been greatly reduced from the great number of varieties grown a century ago. That has left crops much more vulnerable to pests and disease. Now, if a disease threatens a crop, there may be no variety of the crop that has resistance to the disease.
How genetically engineered food is developed. Fragments of dna from bacteria and virus are inserted into the dna of crop plants. There is the possibility that those genes could recombine in ways that would produce organisms harmful to humans.
Suicide genes and germination inhibition genes could unintentionally transfer to other agricultural plants and plants in the natural ecosystem. Germination inhibited seed requires the application of a spray to enable the seed to sprout. If the trait is unintentionally transferred to other plants, those plants loose the ability to naturally procreate. Suicide genes are used to prevent plants from producing viable seed. Farmers or gardeners whose plants have become contaminated by suicide genes would be unable to use the contaminated seed to start the next season's crop. Seed from plants contaminated by germination inhibiting genes would not grow unless sprayed with chemicals to enable germination. Both of these genetic traits contribute to the seed companies controling availability of seed and limiting variety diversity.
Other genetically engineered traits could be unintentionally transferred. Allergenic food crops could be unintentionally created. There may be potential health effects of consuming GMO food that may not be detected until after harm has been done.
This program does not present adequate information to enable the viewer to assess the risks versus benefit aspects of the issues presented. The program does inform the viewer on what are the major issues involved in the debate over acceptance of genetically modified food crops. It seems apparent that the loss of resilience in food production poses a threat to the security of our system of food production.
Alan Detwiler, author of Thrivers In An Uncertain Future; bio at