Making a huge splash in the press recently is that it looks like some folks are finally admitting that genetically engineered (GE), also called genetically modified organisms (GMO), crops cause a new class of weeds resistant to herbicides. They are being dubbed superweeds because the increased use of herbicides on GE crops has super (no pun intended) accelerated the natural process of developing resistance. This is great news for agribusiness, they can now produce more powerful herbicides and make more money. And so the cycle goes.
I recall this topic being discussed and their being scientific evidence for it back in the 1990s. But, USDA, the agricultural universities, and agribusiness, disputed such claims. Yet, more and more evidence keeps coming out that GE crops are bad in all kinds of ways.
It seems that the war between conventional (industrial) agriculture and sustainable agriculture is really heating up with attacks by the conventional side ramping up on an
exponential scale. This is directly due to the public finally becoming aware of how bad our food supply really is and how so many aspects of it are deliberately hidden from us. We are mad and we aren’t going to take it any more!
Examples are Ag Gag bills and a recent lawsuit by the makers of “pink slime,” against ABC News. ABC News exposed the fact that ground beef can have as much as 15% pink slime (a very artificially created meat byproduct) with no labeling. Then, of course, are the losing battles to get products with GE ingredients labeled. Agribusiness is putting millions of dollars into efforts to defeat such actions by states and the federal government and has been successful so far. See Senators wimp out on GMO labeling bill and Vote yes on CA GMO labeling proposition.
The most recent research is out of Washington State University. The crops studied are the most commonly found GE engineered herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops. They are cotton, soybeans, and corn. The US and Canada lead the world in planting these GE varieties. You have to understand that HT crops can have far more herbicides sprayed on them than the non-GE varieties. More weed exposure to greater doses of herbicides leads to quicker evolution of resistance. It is a no-brainer, actually.
One of the researchers said,
Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and they are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent
What makes matters worse is that more toxic herbicides are now needed and the development of these superweeds is never confined to just the farms planting the GE seeds. Even now, FDA approval is being sought and approval expected for new herbicides that are known to cause cancer. This is 2-4-D, used in the infamous Agent Orange of the Vietnam War.
This could put organic and other farmers out of business. In anthropology, we call these downstream effects. No farmer (or USDA or FDA or Monsanto) has the right to destroy what someone else is doing on adjacent land or further downstream.
Tags: 2 4-D, ABC News, agent orange, agriculture, conventional, downstream effect, FDA, food labeling, GE, genetically engineered, genetically modified organism, GMO, GMO labeling, herbicide, herbicide-tolerant, HT, HT crop, industrial, labeling, Monsanto, organic, pink slime, resistence, Round-Up, superweed, sustainable, sustainable agriculture, USDA