Genetically modified foods (GMOs) are a direct extension of chemical agriculture; they’re developed and sold by the world’s biggest chemical companies. GMO seeds are patentable. This means that biotech companies can control and restrict their use— and thereby control our food supply. Monsanto is not only the leading producer of genetically modified seeds but also the prime producer and pusher of herbicide glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) that’s used worldwide.
GMOs were primarily engineered to withstand direct application of herbicides. They don’t offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. And there’s increasing evidence connecting GMOs with health problems and environmental damage.
I try to avoid them because:
1. GMOs are not safe and are linked to health problems. More than 60 countries including all those in the European Union, Australia and Japan have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs
What the Fork Are You Eating
Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals. The effects on humans of consuming these new combinations of proteins produced in GMOs are unknown and have not been studied.
The (U.S.) federal government does not require genetically modified food be tested for carcinogenicity, for harm to fetuses or for risks over the long term to animals or humans. Few such studies have been conducted by independent scientific institutions.
Doctors around the world warned that GMO foods may cause unexpected health consequences that may take years to develop.
2. GMOs require increasingly toxic pesticides leading to environmental damage. As weeds became resistant, growers applied more herbicides to try to control them. A recent study found that from1996 to 2011 the use of GMO crops increased herbicide use by 527 million pounds, putting consumers and the environment increasingly at risk.
Use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. GMO crops are also responsible for the emergence of “super weeds” and “super bugs:’ which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons. The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment these novel organisms cannot be recalled.
GMOS damage soils and transfer GMO genes in the environment, contaminating neighboring crops and potentially creating uncontrollable weeds.
- Genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant crops have spurred “superweeds” pest plants that have mutated to survive herbicides.
- Toxic herbicides are harmful to beneficial insects.
- Toxic herbicides run off into waterways and leaches into the groundwater, where it is drawn back up for use as drinking water and crop irrigation. Soil biology is negatively impacted when it’s used to grow GMO crops, due primarily to the heavy use of weed killers, not to mention the negative impacts of long-term mono-cropping and fossil fuel-based fertilizers. Multiple studies are finding the key ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp weed killer (glyphosate) is present not only in soil and groundwater, but even in the air and rainfall.
What To Do?
- I try to shop Non-GMO as much as possible
- Look for Non-GMO Project label
- Download the Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide to my Smartphone
- Use the Environmental Working Group Guide to Avoid GMOs
2. Take Action
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