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Crop Watch:Watching Out for Our Crops

May 3, 2009

Crop Watch

The European Union and South Africa are actively considering changing the current regulations regarding production and labeling of imports of genetically modified crops.

The chemistry of the new genetically modified (GM) plant products may smell and produce similarly, but do they have the same natural God-given reproductive properties and effects intended? Certainly not if the “suicide seeds” they yield are designed not to grow the farmer’s next crop. In “The Mutational Consequences of Plant Transformation,” published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, describes the creation of unrecognized and unintended genetic changes in the phenotypes of plants and how far-reaching the implications of induced mutations in plants are. Attempting to generate higher-yielding plants is magnified by the risks of current genetic engineering techniques. Latham calls for enhanced regulatory analysis and control of genome-wide mutations before too many plants with complex genetic insertion sites reach the market (Latham, 2006).

Rapeseed, commonly called canola in North America, is the fourth largest GM crop in production in the world after soy, corn, and cotton. Rapeseed oil is increasingly used in the food industry. The rapeseed plant is noted to have exceptionally long seed dormancy. The seeds of some genetically modified crops such as rapeseed appear to remain in the earth for at least a decade. Many volunteer GM rapeseed plants grow with conventional rapeseed after a GM crop. The current problem of total conventional crop contamination causes rising production costs stemming from transgenic GM seeds. The prices of non-GM plants are now significantly higher than GM varieties, and higher raw material costs affect margins in the industry.

On the other hand, blending of the sources of genetically modified plants and techniques to safely generate new products along patentable pathways could create outcomes that have clinical “structure and function” acceptability. Jian Zhao’s “Nutraceuticals, Nutritional Therapy, Phytonutrients and Phytotherapy for Improvement of Humans: A Perspective on Plant Biotechnology Application,” published in Patents in Biotechnology, analyzes the related epidemiological investigations and clinical studies as well as regulations that have significant implications on our crops (Zhao, 2007).

Genetic engineering has extended into the field of stem cell transplantation, with data suggesting that there is a dose-dependent effect on stem cells by blueberry, green tea, catechins, carnosine, and vitamin D3, alone and in combinations. These phytonutrients synergistically promote proliferation of human bone marrow, implying that these phytonutrients and the nutraceutical products they represent may promote health and healing capability of the human body at the cellular level.

Europe’s natural perfumery industry is experiencing incredible regulation-induced turmoil over the use of natural citrus essential oils. Regulatory agencies, like IFRA, have proposed rulings based on the unsubstantiated risk assessment of furocoumarin-like substances in citrus essential oils. It is important to have unadulterated plants or products in any way, shape, or form, whether they are foods or perfumes with or without essential oils from citrus.

Ensuring proper oversight can rather than over-regulation which suppresses small businesses will ensure safe foods and cosmetics that harness their extremely promising potential when manufactured into products that provide systematic benefits for all age groups. The creation of products for the consumers of the Wellness Revolution can reliably and safely help humanity manage health care issues both globally and locally.

Excerpt from the Sweet Smell of Success

James Geiger MD

the oilMD

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