Genetically engineered (GE) foods have been touted as the answer to
the age-old competition of crops versus weeds. Genetic engineering
advocates claimed that if plants are engineered to be resistant to
applications of Roundup (a glyphosate herbicide manufactured by the
GE-promoting firm Monsanto) then they would require fewer toxic
herbicides to help them grow. But now, data from the United States
Department of Agriculture's
shows that these genetically modified food
crops actually are requiring more and more help from other
herbicides during the growth cycle ? not less.
The number of weeds that are resistant to glyphosate is increasing,
because their genes can travel quickly when their pollen spreads.
According to agriculture policy expert,
Charles M. Benbrook, the beginnings of this environmental and
economic problem can be seen in a weed called 'marestail.' Dr.
Benbrook says that as a result of heavy reliance on Monsanto's
Roundup, 'marestail will almost certainly be the first of several
glyphosate-resistant weeds that emerge and spread,' triggering the
need for the creation of a new toxic herbicide.
Some farmers are apparently willing to ignore the degradation
caused by releasing so many toxic chemicals into our environment,
because they need to find ways to decrease their costs. But
opponents of genetic engineering argue that the only ones who
benefit from genetically modified crops are the companies that sell