Up front, I will admit that I am ambivalent on the issue of GMO foods products. I am not anti-business nor am I an absolute food purist. I am someone who wants to have some assurance as to the quality of the food I grow and consume. The debate over the validity of GMO products for human consumption is frustrating on a good day and absolutely maddening on a bad one.
I empathize with Monsanto and others to a degree. They invested a large amount of money in developing these products which on paper should be a boon to mankind. However, it is my belief that they dropped the ball by assuming that farmers were the only people interested in the results. The products, after all, are designed to improve the efficiency and profitability of the farmer. That is a good thing.
However, they ignored the fact that farmers along with fishermen, ranchers, food processors, and grocery stores only exist as one part of the food chain. To the best of my knowledge, the end user, the consumer of food stuffs, has been ignored in this entire process. As a result, we have an inflamed consumer base and no way to resolve any of the issues. There are opinions flying in every direction, including mine, which only further fan the flames. Where is the documentation? Where are the test results showing the safety of the food in question?
Several times I have run searches on Yahoo and Google and other search engines looking for “test results on GMO food.” I pass over .com and .org website and look for .gov and .edu sites on the assumption that these should have the most independent and authoritative documentation. I can’t say that I went through all of the millions of hits but I can tell you that out of the first 4-500 hits, you can count the “authoritative” results on one hand with a couple of fingers still closed. This is purely my own limited effort to educate myself. But if I cannot find the resources I need to make my own judgment, where do you go to find such material?
In addition, there are questions that have not been addressed at all. As an avid gardener, I have asked about the efficacy of using manure from GMO-fed animals for garden use. I asked OMRI (the arbiter of issues related to organic gardening) who responded that they felt that such manure was acceptable since the digestive process would have resolved the GMO content.
However, when asked the same question about plant feedstock for composting, they had not have an answer to that question. Composting is a major effort by serious gardeners and farmers. If the material used in the composting process is unsafe, then the compost which provides nutrients and organic matter to the soil and therefore to the crops grown there is corrupt and should not be used.
There are indeed questions about GMO materials that are not answered. My opinion and a couple of dollars will buy you a cup of coffee in a few places. And the same is also true of most of the articles being written that normal people have access to as they are opinions at best. So where is the documentation that will provide some real answers to some very real questions?