Local Products: Benefit or Not?

In the US, restaurants are becoming increasingly popular, announcing that their products are 100% containing no genetically modified substances. Due to the growing competition, many of them decided to go further: they start to cook only vegetarian food from local products, and the second-generation dishes. All this confirms one thing: Americans want to eat only healthy food.

Last year, the demand for organic products in the United States grew by 11.3%, that is, to $35.9 billion. But American farmers were still stuck in the 1990s, growing genetically modified products (GMOs) that were “bathed” in synthetic chemicals which Americans do not want to eat. The country imports more organic food to meet consumer demand.

Some products cannot be grown in the US in sufficient quantities – coffee, bananas, some oils – but American farmers are definitely able to grow more organic products. For example, they have mastered the production of organic soybeans.

The United States is the leading soybean producer in the world, but the volume of domestic production of organic soybeans has not changed since the early 2000s. In fact, beans are the second largest organic import product in the United States counting $184 million annually. Imports from India and China’s main supplier of organic soybeans are more than doubled between 2013 and 2014.

What about corn? More corn is grown in the USA than in any other country.

And yet, most of the corn that is sold on American shelves came from Romania — imports amounted to $11.6 million from organic corn last year, compared with $545,000 in 2013. In fact, organic corn takes the 10th place as a product of organic imports, the production of which has not changed much over the past decade.

While the long-term health effects of consuming GMO products are controversial, glyphosate (also known as Roundup), a powerful synthetic chemical used for GMO seeds, some scientists believe they can lead to cancer and other diseases. This herbicide is capable of harming the population of beneficial insects, and it has actually damaged the monarch butterfly. Plus, GMO seeds create herbicide-resistant “superweeds” and “superbugs”.

The stories that GMO seed need less chemical processing, as has been proven, are not true, because researchers at the University of Washington estimated that between 1996 and 2011 the use of pesticides and herbicides has actually grown by more than 400 million pounds due to GMOs.

Category: General Issues

Tags: Farmers, human health