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Opinion: GMO letter misses the mark

HERMOSA, S.D. -- According to Cory Christofferson (GMO crops not safe to eat, Agweek, Oct. 19), Monsanto is the evil culprit causing all kinds of illnesses, including cancer, because of genetically modified crops that are not fit to eat.

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HERMOSA, S.D. - According to Cory Christofferson (GMO crops not safe to eat, Agweek, Oct. 19), Monsanto is the evil culprit causing all kinds of illnesses, including cancer, because of genetically modified crops that are not fit to eat.

Christofferson tells us that, during a 2012 French study, 90 percent of rats who were fed GMO corn developed cancerous tumors - some the size of golf balls. He continues to report 88 percent of corn and 94 percent of soybeans grown in the U.S. are GMO.
If the French rats grew golf ball-size tumors from GMO corn, our poor cattle and pigs in the U.S. must certainly have grapefruit-size tumors by now, and their meat wouldn’t be fit to eat.
The only “safe” foods are those grown organic, and made from nonGMO seeds, right?
 Just because a food is labeled organic does not mean no pesticides or chemicals were used and it is guaranteed safe. (Who wants to buy a cabbage full of worms?) 
Recent news reports have highlighted E. coli in some organic produce.
A University of California-Berkeley organic produce article says, “Contrary to what most people believe, ‘organic’ does not automatically mean pesticide-free or chemical-free. In fact, under the laws of most states, organic farmers are allowed to use a wide variety of chemical sprays and powders on their crops ... It means that these pesticides, if used, must be derived from natural sources (normally animal or plant) not synthetically manufactured ... When synthetic chemicals are tested for their ability to cause cancer, you find that about half of them are carcinogenic.
“Until recently, nobody bothered to look at natural chemicals (such as organic pesticides) because it was assumed they possessed little risk. But when studies were done, the results were somewhat shocking: You find about half of the natural chemicals are carcinogenic, as well.
“When you look at lists of pesticides allowed in organic agriculture, you find warnings such as, ‘Use with caution. The toxicological effects of this pesticide are largely unknown’ or ‘Its persistence in the soil is unknown.’”
My husband and I grow all our own veggies and fruit. We use synthetic pesticide and one organic pesticide, synthetic fertilizers and manure or compost from the few beef cattle and sheep we have. 
As avid gardeners, we get an abundance of seed and nursery catalogs. Recently, we started getting, “All Organic Seeds...No GMO Seeds!”
If it’s necessary to pass a law to make labeling GMO foods mandatory, the same law must mandate labels specifying what pesticides and chemicals are used in organic foods.
Meanwhile, we’ll continue to ask the Lord to bless our food, hoping we won’t be poisoned.
Editor’s note: Loerzel is from Hermosa, S.D.

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