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Your children might be born naked

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  • A French study was published in fall 2012 that links genetically modified food to tumors and to liver failure in certain rats. That study was retracted by its publisher in November of 2013 for being inconclusive in its findings. What does that mean?

Good unbiased science has brought us a long way, particularly in agriculture. It has delivered tools and know-how to farmers who in no other way could produce the amount of food we need. The rest of us can just eat it and spend time figuring out other challenges.

I’m not going to go pro or con on GM crops here, either. I’ve seen what they can do to improve a farmer’s operation, making it more profitable and, if I can use this word, “sustainable.” But I’ve seen, too, that the overuse of a particular GM tool can lead to other management problems on a farm, tanking profits and putting sustainability into question.

But do GM crops cause cancer or other health risks? I don’t think so. We’ve been using them for quite some time. As far as I can read, no studies have conclusively linked them to major health risks. Of course, over-eating almost anything can lead to health problems.

I remembered another phrase as I read about the study’s retraction, a phrase a farmhand once told me as we walked by some insecticides. “Don’t get too close to that stuff or get any of it on you,” he said. “Your children will be born naked.”

He was right. My boy was born many years later without a stitch of clothes on him. I guess I got too close to that stuff.

More from Southeast Farm Press

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