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What is the Connection Between Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Herbicides like Glyphosate?

What is the Connection Between Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Herbicides like Glyphosate?
Eighty percent of all GMO crops are engineered to be herbicide tolerant. Perhaps the most well-known example of this is Roundup. Genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready crops are genetically designed to withstand the application of Roundup herbicide. Farmers are able, therefore, to spray an entire field of crops 1-3 times or more after the crop has emerged, keeping their desired monoculture unharmed while controlling the pesky weeds around it. Read on to learn more about the connection between GMO's and herbicides.

What are the most common genetically engineered foods?

The most common genetically engineered foods include alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, potato, soy, sugar beet and zucchini.

Most prevalent GMO crops include corn, soy, cotton, alfalfa, beets, and canola

Are GMO’s safe?

This depends on how you define safe. Will your health be harmed if you eat a single item of GM food? Likely not. Does spraying 250 million pounds of glyphosate-based herbicide in the US or 1.6 billion kilograms of glyphosate globally, used predominantly on GE crops, have negative implications for the health of our children, environment, and our planet? Many would argue yes!

Are GMO’s good or bad?

The answer to this question is complex and widely debated. On one end of the debate, GMO’s may offer solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Scientists, for example, are working to create GMOs that are resistant to drought. This technology may offer a solution to food insecurity in drought-stricken areas. On the other end of the debate is the reality that most GMOs are not grown for human consumption, but rather, are grown to make animal feed or fuel. When GMO’s do show up in human food, they tend to show up as fast food or non-nutritional additives such as oils, sugars, and preservatives. Unless labeled Organic or Non-GMO, processed foods are great hiding places for genetically modified (GM) foods. Here’s a helpful list of where to find these hidden GM ingredients. Genetically engineered herbicide tolerant crops are likely neither good nor bad, but the abuse of their application and farming methods come with many social, health and environmental risks.

Three side effects of GMO and GE farming practices

  1. Proliferation of Glyphosate Resistant Weeds

    The use of glyphosate herbicides has led to the proliferation of glyphosate resistant weeds and pests also known as ‘superweeds’ and ‘superpests’. Superweeds and superpests often require farmers to use more, costlier, or increasingly potent herbicides and pesticides to control them such as 2,4-D.

  2. Threatens Biodiversity of Plants, Animals and Insects

    Because GMO crops have traits that make them easier to farm, many farmers opt to grow GMO crops, or to lease, or sell their land to larger GMO farming companies. GMO technology therefore reduces biodiversity in agriculture.

  3. Threatens Farmer Sovereignty

    The global GM seed market is monopolized by a handful of large biotech companies which account for 70% of the seed market. These same companies also have a monopoly on agrochemical sales. Because GMOs are patented, GM seed access is concentrated to a select few large corporations which may threaten farmer sovereignty.

Your choices make a difference

More than ever, shoppers are becoming aware of the controversy around GMOs and the herbicides that support their growth. More shoppers are opting for Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA Organic foods. This bottom-up pressure continues to sway food brands and retailers to adopt GMO-free policies and supports Non-GMO and Organic farming practices. Your purchasing power directly informs a larger movement towards a more sustainable food system.

Kabrita Goat Milk Foods are certified Glyphosate Residue Free

Kabrita Goat Milk Foods are Non-GMO by European standards. Kabrita’s products are also third party tested for glyphosate and are Certified Glyphosate Residue Free.

*Not suitable for children with confirmed cow milk protein allergy