What's all the fuss
about gm crops?
And what’s it got to do with vodka?
This is a complex and controversial issue, and somewhat confusing for us non-scientific average Joes. You might ask why we’re writing about this at all, and what’s it got to do with vodka anyway? Maybe you think we should leave this one to the experts or Al Gore? And you might have a point. Hey, we’re the first to admit we’re not an authority on anything except how to make really PURE vodka…
But the thing is… this affects all of us. This is happening right now, so for all those still reading… we wanted to just say, there’s plenty of reason for concern. And this is why:
What is GM anyway? (we looked it up for you):
GM stands for ‘genetic modification’ or ‘genetically modified’. A genetically modified organism is any living thing (microbe, plant, fungus or animal) whose genetic material has been altered through genetic engineering. GM crops are those that scientists have engineered to have certain traits, like being more resistant to certain diseases, or are actually designed to grow in certain ways or at a certain rate, that exceeds the imagination of natural selection. Put very, very simply, this is done by splicing together different organisms’ DNA to artificially enhance one organism by adding in a desirable trait or quality from another. The science is quite remarkable, and can combine not only two different plant species but cross the boundaries of anything possible in nature, by combining DNA from a bacterium with a plant.
An extraordinary achievement
Hats off to the academics who have developed this technology, it is an extraordinary achievement that will enable us to feed the world’s population more efficiently, guard against disease and increase the nutritional value of our food. GM technology replicates what nature does itself: organisms adapt continually to meet the challenges that our environment presents. Up to this point, we are wholeheartedly in approval of GM, but here us out…
Can we just slow down a bit…?
The thing is, in nature, this evolution happens over 1000’s of years in harmony with the environment, not in isolation in a laboratory.
This bold, new technology, is already being tested in real time and applied to farming on a massive scale, yet we don’t really know what the long-term outcomes will be and can’t predict the impact of these alterations to our natural environment. There hasn’t been a time in history when agricultural change was happening this fast on this scale, and that in itself rings warning bells. Still, fear of the unknown is not enough to put-off the pursuit of progress. We’re still pro-GM, providing there is sufficient monitoring of the effect it is having, but it’s not the science itself that worries us…
Who’s really in control?
The owners of this technology have power over the global food chain and, unfortunately, control doesn’t lie with our governments or scientists. It lies with a handful of immensely powerful companies, in an industry that lacks transparency and accountability and is woefully under-regulated compared to the organic food sector.
87% of the global surface of GM crops are controlled by just one agri-tech giant called Monsanto (you can read more about them and their use of Glyphosate here), either directly through the sale of seeds or indirectly through the licence of traits for which they own the patents. This is a monopoly situation that would be questionable in any sector; let alone one which is so significant to our health and survival.
A few big biotech companies have been buying up the global seed trade over the last 20 years and the top three; Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta, own a staggering 47% of all seeds, GM or non-GM.
It feels a bit risky:
These are the same companies that developed DDT, Agent Orange (Youtube summary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJaJbq9aRFI) and PCB in the past. We start sounding like whackos with conspiracy theories at this point so we’ll step back and leave you to do your own research, but they are companies who have a terrible track record of due diligence in their development and who have shown a complete disregard for health effects on numerous occasions.
Bringing it back to a subject that resonates with us as an organic business, these large monopolies are pricing out or buying out smaller seed companies and reducing biodiversity. We are losing thousands of local crop varieties that have each developed to suit their specific environment, adapting naturally to local conditions and adding to a rich and diverse ecosystem that is interdependent in ways we still don’t understand.
All in all, we just think it’s time more people asked more questions.
Why PURE remains Organic and GM Free:
The use of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) is prohibited during the production and processing of certified organic products. A rigorous certification process, including periodic testing, is required.
Organic farms never grow GM crops, and maintain locally suited crops that have adjusted to the micro-climate where they are grown over centuries of growth.
Be sure that you’re drinking non-GM produce. Drink PURE.