Friday, April 13, 2012

Food Facts Friday: All the BUZZ from GMO Corn to Pesticides

I have shunned High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) for several reasons: 
it can be made from genetically engineered crops (GE) (at least 85% of corn is GE), 
it is enzymatically processed so that glucose is chemically changed into fructose to make a sweeter end product 
and it has been linked to obesity.
Well, now, HFCS, has been linked to the collapse of the honeybee colonies in North America. I have previously posted how the North American honeybee population is declining. At that time, the reports showed that something was going on with the bees' digestive system, and the evidenced was linked to genetically modified crops. Up until now, researchers couldn't exactly pinpoint what was going on. 

Now, a new study from Harvard reports that HFCS contains traces of a chemical used to coat seeds to rid the crops of pests. Why does this matter to bees? Well it seems beekeepers have been using HFCS to supplement the bees' diet to boost honey production. But, while boosting honey production, they are exposing the bees to this insecticide. (Yes, if you eat HFCS, you are also ingesting trace amounts of this insecticide! Wonderful, right?)

Harvard researchers reported that the insecticide responsible is called imidacloprid. Bees also come in contact with this insecticide when they are exposed to pollen from plants that have been sprayed with imidacloprid. It seems the chemical is absorbed by the plant, moves through the plant's vascular pathways and ends up in the pollen.
Listen, you can hear the bees, "I'll take the sweet nectar, hold the HFCS & the Imidacloprid, please!"
Why does this matter? Well, for starters, research determining the link between imidacloprid and honeybee colony collapse, showed that the exposure (to imidacloprid) responsible for the collapse of a honeybee colony is actually far less than that which is typically found in our cornfields! And since honey bees reportedly pollinate about $20billion dollars worth of crops each year, they're importance to our food supply and agricultural economy should not be taken lightly! Lastly, scientists do not even know how imidacloprid could hurts us when we eat it as a residue on plants that have been sprayed with this insecticide, or when we eat it in foods that are higher up on the food chain, and have a concentrated amount of this chemical.

One way to avoid this problem: Choose Organic
Organic crops do not spray insecticide, like imidacloprid.
Organic foods are pesticide free ...YIPPEE!


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