Thursday, February 11, 2010

Genetically modified food

Part - 2

Genetically modified (GM) foods are foods produced from genetically modified organisms (GMO) that have had their DNA altered through genetic engineering. GM foods were first put on the market in the early 1990s.

The most common modified foods are derived from plants: soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil. GM foods and crops commonly focus on human and environmental safety, labeling and consumer choice, intellectual property rights, ethics, food security, poverty reduction, and environmental conservation.

Alarming facts about genetically engineered foods(

- Animals have become seriously ill or died from Genetically Engineered (GE) foods. Over 50% of newborn rats died within 3 weeks from GE soya eaten by their mothers, twelve dairy cows died in Hesse, Germany after being fed Syngenta's Bt 176 GE maize and at least 1820 sheep in India were reported dead after grazing on post-harvest Bt cotton crops; the symptoms and post-mortem findings strongly suggest they died from severe toxicity.

- Hazardous genes from GE foods that human eat can become inserted into human own genes. Tissues including meat of chicken who had eaten only genetically engineered Bt corn were found to contain pieces of DNA from this food. The problem however is that every cell in plant GE foods contain genetically unstable DNA from the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV) promoter. This DNA is suspected to be cancerogenic.

- An unexpected poison killed 37 persons eating a food supplement produced by GE bacteria and 1500 people were permanently disabled in the US in a disease called eosonophil myalgia syndrome (EMS).

- Top researchers confirm that genetic engineering is inherently unsafe and unpredictable. It may therefore generate unexpected harmful substances in GE food. The present procedure for assesing the safety of GE foods is not designed to detect unexpected substances.

- Numerous studies have demonstrated that GE causes "non-target effects" in addition to the specific "desired effect". These effects are little understood, completely unpredictable and may be hazardous to the individual and the environment. This underscores the fundamental unsafety of genetic engineering.

- Over twenty thousand farmers lost their farms and were thrown into poverty and unemployment when GE crops were introduced. Argentina has suffered an environmental crisis with 'superweeds' overrunning the countryside and farmers reporting health problems, experts warn. Since 1997, genetically-modified soya has been planted over almost half the country's arable land. Now farmers are having to use more and more herbicides to control the resistant weeds, damaging the soil's fertility for generations.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Land Mines in Cambodia

Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined areas in the world; some estimates run as high as ten million mines (in a country of 11.5 million people), though the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) estimates 4 to 6 million mines.

Cambodia is also littered with other kinds of unexploded ordinance (UXO), left over from half a million tons of bombs dropped on Cambodia by the United States in the late 60s and early 70s. The figures here are not known, though there is an estimated "dud" rate of 10 percent for UXO (Cambodia Daily website).

There are many different kinds of bombs and mines: US material from the "Vietnam" war era, and Chinese, Soviet and eastern block made materials left from the Khmer Rouge era in the 1970s and a decade of civil war that followed in the 1980s.