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.
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
Proliferation of Glyphosate Resistant WeedsThe 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.
Threatens Biodiversity of Plants, Animals and InsectsBecause 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.
Threatens Farmer SovereigntyThe 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.
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