One of the most surprising aspects of the controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms is just how differently virtually all nations in the world treat them in comparison with the United States.
Even as several other countries are either banning these crops, like France and Russia for example; or at the least denying new crop licenses until further safety assessments can be undertaken, the U.S. government continues to push them on its citizens.
Most crop subsidies in the U.S. go to plant corn (and to a lesser extent soy), of which the vast majority are genetically modified.
In Italy, however, a completely opposite scenario is unfolding: a new law, titled ‘Campo libre,’ will make planting GMO crops punishable by a jail sentence of 1-3 years and a fine of 10,000-30,000 euros, according to a recent article by food activist Vandana Shiva.
According to the article, Italian Minister of Agriculture Nunzia De Girolamo said “Our agriculture is based on biodiversity, on quality, and we must continue to aim for these without ventures that, even from the economic point of view, wouldn’t make us competitive.”
In other words, more and more consumers are demanding non-GMO crops, and Italy wants to continue to be known for the quality of its produce rather than submitting to a large multi-national corporation like Monsanto.
How GMOs Take Away Our Right to Choose
An important aspect of the GMO debate that the mainstream media always seems to ignore is that GMOs take away our right to choose truly natural and organic food while also diminishing the biodiversity of our farms.
Cross-contamination by GMOs is rampant, with even wild plants being contaminated as many as 15 miles away. Farmers are having a hard time avoiding it, spending thousands of dollars each year on expensive tests and “buffer zones.”
And as De Girolamo noted above, biodiversity is important, and GMOs have shown a consistent track record of causing a loss in biodiversity. That was the reason that Peru for example enacted a 10-year ban on them recently. Mexico also banned GM corn in large part to protect its stunning biodiversity of organic corn, and Filipino farmers have also noticed a loss in biodiversity of crop and seed varieties as noted in this documentary ‘Ten Years of Failure, Farmers Deceived by GM Corn.’
Italy and many other other countries are doing what’s best to protect their food supplies from GMO contamination, now, the question is whether the U.S. and other countries will ever follow suit.
As noted in this article, we’re making progress: most production of GMOs comes from just six countries, and cultivation is declining worldwide as the truth comes out.
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