GMO’s, or Genetically Modified Organisms are a hotly contested issue around the world. Parts of Australia and the United States, New Zealand, France, Austria, Greece, Luxembourg and Zambia all have bans against food that has been produced using genetically altered seeds. One reason for this harsh treatment of GMO’s is that we do not yet know the long term effects of ingesting, in some cases, large amounts of insecticide supposedly deadly to invading insects but harmless to humans. Regardless of the ability to grow larger quantities at lower risks of infestation, genetically altered food is seen by many as a danger whose implications are, as yet, unknown.
Hungary has gone past the banning of all Monsanto GMO products and has started requiring seeds to be checked for GMOs before being introduced to the market. Monsanto is a major retailer of genetically modified seeds and this move by the Hungarian government is seen as a serious slap in the face to the international produce giant.
Unfortunately for Hungarian farmers some Monsanto GMO seeds illegally found their way onto the market and hundreds of acres of genetically modified corn were sown this past planting season. The acres containing the illegal harvest were plowed under, by no fault of the farmers, too late in the season to re-plant. An investigation by the Ministry of Rural Development found that seed traders were not properly differentiating between modified seeds and organic ones, but because of the free movement of goods within the European Union, it is impossible to tell where the tampered seeds came from. The Ministry also reported that GM seeds from the two major seed producing companies, Monsanto and Pioneer, may have found their way into the thousands of acres of produce fields. They will continue running tests to make sure none of these fruits and vegetables make it to consumer markets.
The question remains as to whether or not GM food is as bad as some people believe. Whether or not it is worth the entire growing season of hundreds of farmers remains to be seen. However, general consensus is that organic is superior to processed and natural is superior to unnatural. As long as growers, traders and retailers are clear in their labeling, the choice should be yours.