Debugging the Paradox of GMO Consumption and Feed Grains in the U.S.

What first got my goat was the mention of some harebrained scheme (okay, study) to give hookworms to celiacs as a treatment for the disease.

Notwithstanding the problem with GMO corn and gut-porosity in celiacs and others, with its toxin-generating plants derived from chemicals that burst bug’s intestines, it is laughable at best to introduce insects or parasites directly to person’s intestines in a crude, arcane, and ill-conceived notion to bandage the real issue…

A bug problem? (Non-GMO locally-grown corn pictured)
A bug in the issue? (Non-GMO locally-grown corn pictured)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…Which is our food supply.

In my haste to denounce the treatment vs maintaining a gluten-free and primarily natural food diet, I went from talking of the “grossly hybridized” wheat to “GMO wheat”.

Of course they are two entirely different things, so I felt it best to ascertain if in fact GMO wheat is being used.

Our wheat has been categorized in mass-media as hybridized to the point where it is much shorter, has higher gluten-content, and higher sugar content that wheat produced 50 years ago.

Incidentally there are more cases of Celiac disease than 50 years ago…5 times more according to a recent NY Times post.

But GMO wheat would mean wheat that has been genetically engineered to posses qualities it does not possess in nature. Granted, there may be legitimate uses for genetically modifying some crops such as resistance to disease or blight. For instance reducing or eradicating mycotoxins produced by fungal disease. Mycotoxin contamination can be widespread and cause nausea and vomiting and even serious disease from infected wheat.

But what about modifying for production reasons at the expense of health?

This apparently is a much larger concern in wheat than GMO corn in the industry.

So much so that according to GMO Compass, in 2002 Monsanto submitted its application for an “herbicide-resistent, genetically modified wheat cultivar”. The application was withdrawn 2 years later.  The site lists these types of organisms discussed as either “Roundup Ready” (glyphosate) or “Liberty Link” (glufosinate). After turning off or modifying the genetic structure of the resistant crop, they are paired with non-selective complimentary herbicides, meaning the remaining herbicide will affect any sensitive organism by disrupting any other plant’s metabolic structure. Most herbicides are traditionally selective to a specific plant. This is another bone of contention – mutating other plant genealogies…

So. That’s what all the fuss is about, greed that is apparently turning the food supply into a monstrosity, one major crop at a time. “Frankencorn” and soybeans being the primary crops in discussion, etc.

As a matter of fact, corn production is way up and seeing record numbers while farmers are being paid $.40 less per unit.

According to the USDA Feed Outlook:

Corn Supplies Forecast Higher, Use Increases
U.S. corn supplies for 2014/15 are forecast at 15,607
million bushels this month, with the larger crop as carryin and imports virtually unchanged.
Projected feed and residual is raised 75 million bushels as the larger crop boosts residual disappearance
and the lower price outlook encourages increased feed use. Food, seed, and
industrial (FSI) is raised 70 million bushels as forecast use of corn for ethanol is
raised 50 million bushels. Low corn prices are expected to encourage additional
blending of ethanol, both for the domestic and export markets. Among other FSI
categories, corn usage for sweeteners
is raised 20 million bushels.
Forecast exports for 2014/15 are increased 25 million bushels to 1,750
million bushels. Lower corn prices are expected to increase demand for U.S. corn despite
large foreign supplies. Total disappearance is projected up 170 million bushels this
month to 13,605 million.

So. The question remains, since GMO is banned in EU, what are other people using the exported corn for? Ethanol?

Well one doesn’t eat or drink ethanol!

But “Frankenwheat?!”

I was still doubtful so I looked for any subsequent development of GMO wheat. Wheat is consumed primarily by people, (whereas apparently corn and soybeans are not recognized by industry bigwigs as consumed in our Great Republic, so gee, no biggie…), but most farmers have been reluctant to contaminate the U.S. wheat production citing this reasoning.

After all, if even Monsanto couldn’t get the ball rolling, it must have been a big deal to protect our food supply.

Well, not totally. It was a bigger deal to protect our exports.

The funny thing is, this GMO production-inspired greed could end up spelling serious trouble for U.S. exports. So it isn’t really a big deal in industry circles until other countries break out their mass spectrometers to look at what we made…and reject it. Which could very well happen… Then what?

How big a market share could the U.S. lose in foreign markets if GMO wheat is labelled and commonplace? ….BIG.

Apparently we export more than we actually consume as food most years. Table 1 of the USDA Wheat Outlook reports a few key points.

Our exports outpace our actual consumption of wheat as a food source 5 out of the last 7 years based on these estimated/projected figures.

This year our projected food vs. export figure expects us to consume more than we export for the first time in 4 years. Both of these projected figures are in the 900 million bushels. So officially GMO wheat is considered a HUGE no-no. This is probably because that will hurt our bottom line. We have historically been considered the world’s largest wheat exporter. Usually this figure is well over 1,000 million bushels.

Even Monsanto has hastily  declared, along with the USDA, that no GMO wheat is in commercial production phase, according to their own website.

So we have no GMO wheat crops! That isn’t the problem, right?

Well, not really.

There have been recent “sightings” both in Montana and Oregon. But are these commercially involved?

Not for publication, no.

So there shouldn’t be a problem with labeling GMO wheat then, right?

Well, not exactly.

Vermont passed a law to label GMO foods and they are fighting it.

Who is ‘they’? and Why don’t they want people to know?

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NY Times- Celiac Disease a Common-But Elusive Diagnosis 2014

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/29/celiac-disease-diagnosis-gluten/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=2&

GMO Compass>Crops>Wheat 2008

http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/grocery_shopping/crops/22.genetically_modified_wheat.html

Monsanto and GM Wheat

http://www.monsanto.com/gmwheat/pages/default.aspx

USDA ERS Corn: Outlook

http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/corn/market-outlook.aspx#.VDQWVfldXOB

USDA Wheat Outlook Reports 2014

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/whs-wheat-outlook/whs-14i.aspx#.VDP7l_ldXOA

Minnesota Dept of Agriculture – Why the Export Market is Important for U.S. Wheat

https://www.mda.state.mn.us/food/business/~/media/Files/food/business/economics/exports-wheat.ashx

Lawsuit Challenges Vermont’s GMO Labelling Law

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/12/lawsuit-challenges-vermonts-gmo-labeling-law/10402301/

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