GM quality costs

September 2012

In the 1990s as the first Roundup Ready GM soya crops were entering our food chain, Monsanto enthusiastically broadcast to the public that:
“Roundup Ready soyabeans are just like any other soyabeans in safety, nutrition, composition and the way they process into high-protein animal fed and ingredients in the food we eat, such as margarine, salad dressings and bakery products.” 
The Company website quoted “1800 evaluations” concluding RR soyabeans are the same as other commercially available varieties.

Despite the fact that glyphosate interferes with the biochemical pathways involved in the synthesis of lignin in plants, this important material was not analysed. Only the total fibre content of the GM soya was measured as part of Monsanto's thousands of tests.

However, subsequent studies by other scientists showed that the lignin portion of the fibre was nearly double in the GM soya compared to the control. Lignins give plant stems their strength, but too much makes them brittle. This unnoticed (or undeclared) excess lignin in GM soya crops has since been identified as a major cause of crop failure in times of environmental stress.

More recently, some strange stories are emerging from GM soya, GM maize and GM cotton fields.

In America, farmers are complaining that the post-harvest stubble in their GM soya and corn fields is so tough it keeps puncturing the tyres of farm vehicles. Happily one of the major GM seed suppliers is also a chemical company and has quickly come up with an answer. DuPont is manufacturing 'Kevlar' stubble-proof tyres made from the same fabric used in military helmets and bulletproof vests, and costing the farmer twice as much as regular tyres.

GM cotton growers in Burkina Faso, frequently held up as an example of how GM technology can help small-holders in Africa, have a different GM fibre problem: the quality is so poor it has driven prices down by 10%. The farmers have, however, solved their problem without resorting to biotech industry high-tech solutions: they have simply abandoned GM cotton in favour of conventional varieties.


We only know about these problems because the GM cotton doesn't make good quality yarn, and because farm vehicles are getting stranded in the middle of GM maize and soya fields. A question not being asked is how digestible are the products of these GM plants with their odd fibre quality? Or, put another way, what do they do to your insides?

Since you can't get yourself Kevlar guts, best abandon GM food in favour of conventional fare.

  • International Roundup: Africa, Burkina Faso, Thin Ice, Issue 26, July 2012
  • Bob Tita, Genetically Modified Tires, Wall street Journal, 31.07.12
  • ADVERSCIENCING, GM-free Scotland News Archive, February 2009

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