Why I’m Worried About GMOs {and You Should Be Too!}

GMOs

Are you worried about GMOs?

I am.

GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. GMO crops were all new to me until I watched Food Inc, one of my 7 Food Documentaries to Watch Now. That was when I learned crops and animals were being genetically modified to be more disease resistant and pest resistant.

Sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? To be able to produce crops that are disease and insect resistant? To be able to have more abundant crops that can help feel the world?

How joyous will the day be when no one on this good earth goes hungry.

When looked at like that, how can we argue that GMOs can be bad?

Let’s look at what the scientists are saying about the safety of GMO crops:

“… Research on genetically modified seeds is still published, of course. But only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal. In a number of cases, experiments that had the implicit go-ahead from the seed company were later blocked from publication because the results were not flattering.”

Scientific American

Hold the phone. Are you reading what I’m reading? The companies that are telling us GMO crops are safe are the same companies that are developing the GMO seeds then controlling what studies are seen and what they say?

Hmmmm. Guarding and witholding information, then releasing only favorable information has always been a big red flag in my book. What does it say to you?

As it stands, GMOs are already in about 80% of our processed foods.

How can that be possible when we only have a few crops that are currently being genetically modified?

Consider this if you will: 88% of the corn that is currently grown in the US is GMO corn. Corn is just one crop. But to see just how much corn we eat in the American diet, read this article and then read this article.

Kinda rocks your world doesn’t it?

Folks, I am a stay-at-home mom with two kids, two dogs and a degree in political science. None of this makes me an expert on anything genetically modified. All I’ve done is try to educate myself. Are my conclusions correct? Is there reason to question the safety of GMOs in our food? You can decide for yourself.

What I’m asking is simple: Label my food so I can choose.

Currently, there are two labels you can find that help you avoid GMOs:

USDA Organic

and

Non-GMO Project

By definition, organic food can not contain GMOs. So purchasing food with the USDA Organic label is the current gold standard for finding food that has not been genetically modified.

The non-GMO label is given when a company demonstrates GMO avoidance. It’s not a sure-fire guarantee that your food has no GMOs, it simply means they are doing their darndest to make sure it doesn’t.

Short of those two labels, it is impossible to know if your food is genetically modified, which is why labeling is so important. 64 countries already require this labeling. It can be done, it is being done, and to be totally transparent in our food supply, it must be done.

Getting off my soapbox now. Thank you for listening. And now it is your turn. Do you worry about GMOs?

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this!! A documentary on this subject that I would recommend is “Genetic Roulette”. It is very eye opening.
    Last October, I made a video in support of California’s Prop 37, to require companies to label GMOs:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK3i2n8QGvQ
    We lost that battle, but hopefully we won’t lose the war against GMOs.

  2. Let’s go back 100 years… Farmers in New England had figured out a variety of carrots or tomatoes that could grow in their soil, etc. The same with the southeast, midwest or west coast. This was done by cross breeding different varieties – genetic experimentation – until a variety was discovered that could survive the weather, soil conditions, etc of the region. So, technically all crops are GMO.

    Scientists have sped up some of the experimentation in laboratories nowadays but technically, it is the same process as 100 years ago.
    So, I am confused whether to buy GMO or not.
    Yes, I like to buy organic.
    Yes, I think the scientists should publish the other results. You have not specified which studies were published vs not published. Scientists may have developed plants with preferable properties but don’t want to name which 2 breeds they crossed to get the new breed. That would be a company secret.

    Yes, Monsanto has patent on a species of corn they developed which is resistant to several diseases and several pests, as well as many other patents on plants. Legally you can buy the seed from Monsanto and grow the plant, but then it’s illegal to save the seeds to plant next year. I think it is wrong to patent the “genetic code” for any living thing but Monsanto did spend a lot of a money to cross breed and finally come up with the special plant. Some gardeners do the same thing in their yard with fruit trees or roses. Dogs are breed for special qualities or looks, but no one has a patent on a dog breed. There are dog breeds now that did not exist 100 years ago, for example, and it took time and effort to develop them but no one has the patent. American Kennel Club recognized 6 new breeds of dogs in 2012 but no one has a patent on them. But I’m sure Monsanto developed at least 6 new plant breeds in 2012 and holds the patents.

    Would you stay away from these 6 new dogs breeds?

    Yes, we eat corn. A human can eat GMO corn and it could affect their body in some way. A human could own one of these new breeds of dog for 15 years and I think that would affect the human in some way too.

  3. Let’s be clear: there is a BIG difference between “cross breeding” and GMOs. The most critical being natural breeding crosses only organisms that are already closely related, like two varieties of carrots. Whereas GM breeding combines genes from up to 15 wildly different sources.

    “The difference is pretty large. In regular cross pollination, the species being crossed have to be related . . . basically respecting their common evolutionary origin. But with GMOs, you can take any gene from any species and splice it into a crop. So you get fish genes in tomatoes or the like.” –Joe Mendelson, director of the Center for Food Safety

    To use your analogy, that would be like cross breeding a dog with another species of animal not at all canine. In a laboratory, on the genetic level. To make them more resistant to flea medication.

    In the case of crops and farmed salmon (which now has eel genes), this is all done for the sake of profits.

    I encourage you to educate yourself on this subject, cathy.

  4. Hi Cathy, Thank you so much for weighing in on GMOs. While you make a good argument, what you are referring to is called cross breeding. And yes, it has been going on for 100s of years. The difference in GMOs is they are actually changing the DNA – for example, they can now add roundup to the DNA of a plant. That is why I’m against it. The longterm effect of actually changing the DNA simply hasn’t been measured. It’s why 64 countries have banned GMO crops. Mexico just this week banned GMO corn. What I’d like to see is labels on all of our food so we can make informed choices. Andrea

  5. Thanks for the video recommend Coley! Andrea

  6. Cathy, I don’t eat dogs and don’t plan to, so I don’t get the comparison. Monsanto is altering corn so that it will better withstand the Roundup it also produces. So, we’re consuming more poisonous Roundup plus who knows what else caused by the alterations.

  7. If you would like answers to many of the commonly asked questions regarding GMOs, many of them are answered here (in plain English):

    http://www.yowzalicious.com/p/the-gmomonsanto-debate.html

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