What is a GMO?
Genetically modified organism (GMO) is any living organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. GMOs are used to produce many medications and genetically modified foods and are widely used in scientific research and the production of other goods.
This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur naturally or through common methods of crossbreeding.
Genetic modifications may include the addition of DNA from species that would NOT BREAD in nature.
Importantly, most GMOs have been engineered to withstand the direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Imagine a crop that produces self-advocating repellant to insects & moulds whilst growing and ripening. There is a type of corn culture that does that nowadays. However, new genetic engineers are utilising new technologies to artificially develop other traits in plants, such as resistance to browning (in apples), and to even create new organisms using synthetic biology. Basically, men playing God.
Despite biotech industry promises, there is no evidence that any of the GMOs currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.
For more info and a list of high-risk plants and crops visit What is GMO page.
Are GMOs safe?
Without any feasible independent long-term feeding clinical studies, the safety of GMOs is unknown. Increasingly, people like myself are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.
Which countries have GMOs labelled?
While 64 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, made it mandatory to have a label on all of the genetically modified foods. 1 GMO's are not required to be labelled in the U.S. and Canada.
Which foods contain GMOs?
Most of the packaged and processed foods contain ingredients derived from either corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet. The vast majority of those crops grown in North America are genetically modified. 2
To see a list of high-risk crops, visit the What is GMO page.
Since genetically engineered ingredients are common in animal feed, the following products are considered to be at high risk:
- aquaculture products
This impacts animal products such as eggs, milk, meat, honey, and seafood.
Processed add-ons, including those from synthetic biology: GMOs also sneak into food in the form of processed crop derivatives and inputs derived from other forms of genetic engineerings, such as synthetic biology.
Some examples include:
- hydrolyzed vegetable protein corn syrup
- textured vegetable protein
- yeast products
- microbes & enzymes
- oils & fats
How do GMOs affect farmers?
The big pharmaceutical industry has been able to obtain patents to control the use and distribution of their genetically engineered seeds since GMOs are novel life forms. The results are severe for the farmers who are being sued for their fields have been contaminated with GMO's, even when some pollen from neighbouring fields causes the result of contamination.3
The verdict is to put genetically modified crops into a serious threat zone to farmers sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown.
Are GMOs safe for the environment?
It's a well-known fact that a vast majority of all genetically modified crops grown worldwide have been designed for tolerance for herbicide.4 The result is astounding as the use of toxic herbicides, such as Roundup®, has increased x15 since GMOs were first introduced.5
In March 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) determined that the herbicide glyphosate (the key ingredient in Roundup®) is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
There is more evidence that genetically modified crops also are responsible for the emergence of “superweeds” and “superbugs,” which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons such as 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange).6,7Most GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture and are developed and sold by the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. What's scariest is the long-term impacts of these GMOs are unknown. As soon as they're released into the soil, water, plants and environment, these novel organisms cannot be called back.
The debate continues
The overwhelming science so far says that GMOs won't hurt us. However, concerns like the chance that GMOs may cause genetic alterations, allergies, or other life-threatening harm to your health leave a lot of room for more studies.
There could be consequences no one thought to look for, or traits scientists can't test for yet, or worst-case scenarios reviewers hadn't considered.
For his peace of mind, the community of global healthy citizens is eager to see more focused, unambiguous, well-designed studies conducted in unbiased academic settings, free from the influence of politicians and special interest groups.
PS: Hope you've enjoyed the reading of this article. Please share your thoughts on if GMO is safe and do you choose to include it in your diet?
- “Center for Food Safety | Issues | GE Food Labeling | International Labeling Laws.” Center for Food Safety. N.p., n.d. Web.
- Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge, and Seth James Wechsler. “USDA ERS – Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption.” USDA ERS – Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption. United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 09 July 2015. Web.
- Leader, Jessica. “Monsanto Wins Lawsuit Filed By U.S. Organic Farmers Worried About Seed Contamination.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 June 2013. Web.
- Duke, S.O., & Powles, S.B. (2009). “Glyphosate-resistant crops and weeds: Now and in the future.” AgBioForum, 12(3&4), 346-357.
- Kustin, Mary Ellen. “Glyphosate Is Spreading Like a Cancer Across the U.S.” EWG. Environmental Working Group, 07 Apr. 2015. Web.
- Mortensen DA, Egan JF, Maxwell BD, Ryan MR, Smith RG. “Navigating a critical juncture for sustainable weed management.” BioScience. 2012;62(1):75-84.
- “Newsroom.” Agent Orange: Background on Monsanto’s Involvement. N.p., n.d. Web.