Would you eat a vegetable that you knew contained poison? It had been bred to kill. Would you serve it in your dinner salad?
Regardless of your answer, the sad truth is, you probably already have. Farmers are now using a poison derived from nicotine, neonicotinoids, to kill pests. But this is not a spray or a powder that is administered topically to the plant. Instead, this is a systemic pesticide that is bred into the plant. The farmers buy this genetically modified seed, because it saves them money on purchasing and applying topical pesticides. The neonicontinoids have a long life span, easily months long, but as we’ve seen with herbicides like Grazon, it could persist in compost for years. The idea behind using this new form of pesticide is that it can’t wash off in the rain, or degrade in the sun. It is there, within the living plant. And when an insect comes along for a snack, they’ll find their food has been poisoned, and they will die.
So I can see why farmers would find this new form of pesticide beneficial. What I don’t understand, is why anyone that wants to eat fresh food would allow it to exist. If this poison kills insects when they eat it, what is it doing to us when we eat it? Apparently, this question never occurred to the EPA, who granted some neonicotinoids conditional approval without extensive research or testing. A group of beekeepers, environmentalists, and consumer groups recently sued the EPA for this decision, saying the association exceeded it’s authority.
But speaking of beekeepers brings me to the second prong of how these embedded pesticides could end up drastically reducing our supply of safe food. It turns out that Colony Collapse Disorder is not even close to being treated or healed. Beekeepers are reporting the greatest bee die offs ever over the course of the last 12 months. Many are blaming the toxic soup of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides that are now our nation’s farms. And neonicotinoids are a major culprit to bee deaths.
The pollen on these GMO plants are full of poison. Bees are bringing this poisonous pollen back to the hive and making toxic honey from it. Over the course of the year, especially in the cold months, bees and bee larva eat this toxic honey and it kills them. They are dying by the billions. Many of the top bee keepers in the country are experiencing hive deaths of over fifty percent. If we kill off all of our bees with our poisonous produce, we won’t have to worry about how much pesticides are in our vegetables because we won’t have any vegetables. Without bees to pollenate our plants, our crops will not be able to fruit.
Everyone wants to talk about the costs of farming and food production these days. Everything from the weather, to the seed, to the pests, to the availability of migrant labor affect the cost of our food. Everywhere we turn, we are being told why the price of our produce is going up. But no one is talking about the real price of growing poisoned food. The price per pound is important, but it pales in comparison to the expenses incurred by not having any produce to sell. Perhaps we should all consider a compromise with the insects. We’ll tolerate some pests if the bees will come back and help us grow healthy, non-toxic food.
For more information on this topic, Google “neonicotinoids” and read this article from the New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/science/earth/soaring-bee-deaths-in-2012-sound-alarm-on-malady.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&hp.