It seems everywhere I turn, I am constantly reading about how GMOs (genetically modified organism) are going to be the death of civilization. Or at least close to it. Let’s examine the top 5 myths about GMO foods.
First, let’s start with what GMO technology is.
The term GMO is most commonly used to refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques. These plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content.
1. MYTH: GMOs make people sick. It is the reason why we have more sick people than ever before.
There is absolutely no evidence that GMOs have caused illness or death. All GMO seeds go through an extensive approval process. The Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of AG, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, have to approve all GMOs prior to use. In fact, it takes about 13 years and $130 million before a GMO makes it to the food shelf. The fact is: Biotechnology has been in use for the past 20 years with no health problems reported. Actually, natural genetic mutations occur in nature all the time. Always have, always will. The scary thing about nature’s version of GMO’s is there is NO control over the outcome. Using the GMO technology, we have very tight controls that affect from 1-3 genes (out of tens of thousands of genes.)
2. MYTH: There is evidence that more pesticides are used now than ever before.
Using the GMO technology allows farmers to use less pesticides and fuel, which is good for them and the environment. GMOs, or crop biotechnology, is just another tool farmers use to improve efficiency. The fact is farmers harvest better and more crops with biotechnology. Just an example of continuous improvement.
3. MYTH: GMO foods are nutritionally and chemically bad for us.
GMO foods are not nutritionally or chemically different than non-GMO foods. One of the initial non-GMO leaders, environmentalist Mark Lynas, has come forward and retracted his statements about how harmful GMOs are. He admittedly agreed he was wrong about what he said about GMOs and is now very regretful that he said them. Please read his statement: “I was wrong about GMOs”
4. MYTH: Many other countries have banned GMOs so that’s proof they are not safe for us.
Europe has not banned GMO corn or soybeans for their livestock. In fact, they import a large amount of GMO crops to feed their livestock. Very few countries have a complete ban on GMO crops. The fact is some of these countries, specifically Europe, have not approved GMO crops. That’s much different than a ban.
5. MYTH: Monsanto is the devil child. They want to dominate the world’s food supply.
Monsanto is not the only company that develops biotech crops. There are many other companies that use the same technology. Farmers are thankful for companies like Monsanto who research technology to further improve the tools and seed farmers use to optimize their crop yields. Monsanto is also one of the largest companies that supplies organic seed, which is something not many people know. It’s easy to demonize a company like Monsanto, but it’s imperative that we look at the facts and realize the true benefits the company has given the agricultural community.
What I have learned the most about GMOs, or biotech crops, are important for us because they allow us to grow better crops, which is good for everyone. Many people don’t realize that third world countries stand to benefit the most from biotech crops. GMO technology will allow them to grow food for themselves in areas of the world that have less than ideal growing conditions.
Probably the most exciting news with biotech crops is that we have just scratched the surface. We will soon see medical advances using biotechnology in crops, that is, if we are not prevented from using biotech. How great would it be to have illnesses such as HIV and cancer be cured using plant biotechnology.
The bottom line is we need to base our decisions on science and research. As a mom and grandma, we can’t let fear mongering drive changes in our lives and our world. We need to be critical thinkers. Read and read and read with an open mind. Learn from credible sources. And relish the advancements that will make our lives better.
For more information:
G is for GMOs – What are GMOs and Why Do Farmers Plant GMO Crops?