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.
What is GMO Technology?
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. Myth about GMO foods debunked!
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. Another myth about GMO foods debunked!
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:
Best Food Facts – Why are GMOs Banned in Other Countries
A Farmers Perspective on the March Against Monsanto
10 Things You May Not Know About GMOs
Grandma Kc says
Some great research and it confirms most of what I already thought to be true. Although I am in favor of GMOs — I’m still not a big fan of Monsanto. Just stopping by from the GRAND Social Linky Party. Thanks for sharing!
I have to say that I disagree with just about everything in this post. GMOs are not relatively new. They have been around for over 30 years.
A GMO seed is made by genetically crossing a virus/bacteria with a strain of seed.
There has been research done with GMO but not much. French scientists have linked GMOS and round up to Colony Collapse disorder in Bees AND tumors in lab rats. Neither of these studies were mentioned in your post. If you are going to share “myths” it is important to share both sides of the story.
Minnesota Farm Living says
Mary, the French study you are referring to is flawed. Fellow scientists looked at this study as being irrelevant because of how it was conducted. The rats/mice they used were bred to have tumors. The reason I didn’t mention this study was because of that. It’s important to use good credible research and I felt that study did not meet that criteria.
I do appreciate your comments. Conversation is important, especially on this topic.
Minnesota Farm Living says
Mary, Did a little more research on the Colony Collapse disorder in bees. The CCD is a hot topic and has had many theories as to causes. Purdue did a study a year or so ago looking into the CCD. One of the conclusions was that insecticides, such as neo-nicotoids (sp) (Cruiser, gaucho) will kill bees. We already know that insecticides kill bees. GMO’s do not, in fact GMO’s reduce the need for insecticides. Even non-GMO seed uses the neo-nic insecticides too. Most of the findings is that there may be a mite that is causing the bee die-off.
Again, I do appreciate your comments!
Thanks for linking up at Tuesdays With a Twist, but please return to Back to the Basics to grab the share button, you accidentally grabbed the featured button, thank you.
Minnesota Farm Living says
Thank you Joyce! Hopefully I have it now!
Maureen Fitzgerald says
From what I understand of GMO’s, most are made to create strains of plants that are Round-Up ready, meaning they can be sprayed with Round Up (also made by Monsanto BTW) and not die. How exactly does this reduce the amount of pesticides used? And now my corn has not only had it’s DNA tinkered with, but it has also been doused in Round Up? Call me simple, but I’ll stick to my non-GMO, organic veggies please!
And some of these blogs read like slick advertising, so i dont really beleive a Mom wrote this.
The myth persists that GMO uses less herbicides and pesticides, when that is completely untrue. We are about 20 years into this and the resistant strains are growing. Monsanto talking about bringing back DDT now.
Glyphosate is now ubiquitous in our environment and is a toxic endocrine disrupter. It takes very little time on the internet to find factual scientific information on this. It would be of more value for someone who opposes me to find the information on their own than for me to have to argue with them. Do the work, i did.
I agree, Maureen.
Here is more input from another MOM:
1. GMO;s and glyphosate do not cause immediate death. But they have been directly linked now to all of the bowel diseases our culture experiences, diabetes, as well as birth defects, autism, and infertility. All of these have been on the rise since GMO’s and their accompanying chemicals came about.
2.Pesticide use is increasing due to resistent strains. Stronger applications are requited and newer formulas being researced. DDT being reconsidered.
3. GMOs contain radical proteins our bodies have no idea how to use. Causing cancer. Influencing the undeveloped fetus.
4. Europe would rather not use GMOs at all, but Monsanto is a bullying kind of company using trade agreements to force GMO;s onto foreign nations.
5.Monsanto has been buying up seed companies and shelving their seeds for about 3 decades now forcing a monoculture and lack of choice to the people. Monsanto runs itself unethically and has a track record of legalistic and political bullying that is legendary.
Who are you really, “Wanda”? If you are a real person, Do your homework, as the rest of us have, and stop reading the propaganda Monsanto puts out. Your husband and you could make alot of money converting to organic, as many others have, and which is in rising demand.
Minnesota Farm Living says
I am choosing to remain transparent on my blog, so for my reason to publish your comments. I really take offense of the accusation that I am not a mom. If you look at the rest of my blog, you will see than I am. 3 daughters, 5 grandchildren with 4 on this earth and 1 in heaven. Please look at the links I have listed on my blog. And if you have the time, please checkout this link from Food Dialogues. I believe you will here “your voice”. http://www.fooddialogues.com/chicago-food-dialogues/bio-conference
I believe in choice. Consumers should have choice. That is why organics are available and I have no problem. I believe farmers should have choice also. That is why we grow what we do. It works best for our situation. We choose not to grow organic.
And the statement on the myth of using less herbicides. I can assure you that we do use less herbicides. We farm and who better to ask than farmers. Just because you don’t get the answer you are looking for does not mean it is not true.
I am open. I will answer questions you have. I will dispute misinformation. I will ask you to read credible scientific based research. It is only then we will have the truth.
Thank you for responding. Dialogue is important.
I wasn’t going to comment because I’ve done my own research as well and came to a different conclusion but I figure, to each his own. Then I saw this. I, too, was accused of being some sort of clever Monsanto plant in the blogosphere. In my case they were saying, “see? She’s making it LOOK like she’s against but then she says farmers may have valid reasons to choose it as well.” Apparently the black-helicopter folks disagree with looking at both sides of an issue! I’m not in favor of GMOs but I’m also not in favor of rampant paranoia. I have read your blog before and think it’s great. Keep on doing what you’re doing! :)
Minnesota Farm Living says
Thank you lazyhippimam for your comments! I really appreciate honest conversation about these topics. I don’t believe in food fear but believe we should all learn more about what we eat and use our critical thinking skills. And I love hearing and learning about other perspectives – its important. IMO, we are all becoming too polarized. Thanks again and I encourage the conversations!
I shared your post on facebook. Thank you for saying it all for me. – Daughter of an Indiana pork, commercial corn, and soybean farmer.
Minnesota Farm Living says
You are welcome! We just need to keep spreading the truth. Thank you!
Alli Smith says
Thanks for sharing such a hot topic at Throwback Thursday! Interesting reading!
Marc Ross says
I didn’t read your whole support of GMO, don’t have to. I understand you must protect the corporation that puts profit in your account. However, if and when we get labelling for food, which by the way, would be true democracy and freedom your country constantly espouses… I will never buy a product with your grains. I support your ability to grow it, you should support my ability not to eat it.
Marc, Thank you for your comments. You actually can avoid GMOs right now. Eat organic or grow your own food – this will give you what you want. And, yes, we need profit to farm–we need to put food on our table just as you need to put food on your table. And I won’t apologize for that. GMO technology allows us to use less pesticides on our farm. And that is good for my husband, who is certified to apply it, and good for the environment. Your ability to choose to eat organic and our right to choose how to farm is what is important to our country’s well-being.
Francis Moore Lapp had long ago dispelled the the selling point that industrial farming and now GMO’s will feed more people. People starve not because there’s not enough food, but because of distribution, inequality, politics, and ruthless monopolization by Ag giants. Trade deals like NAFTA flooded the Mexican market with subsidized GMO corn, costing over a million Mexican farmers their livelihoods. And we wonder why we have an immigration problem.
As far as studies go, there are very few independent studies, but they are mounting and an unpleasant picture is emerging. Most studies that are done are done for less than 90 days by Monsanto (lucky them they get to do their own studies, which are often found deceptive, and sloppy by independent scientist). The FDA is a revolving door of Monsanto execs and cannot be trusted. Sadly, if the “wrong” results come about via independent studies the scientist, no matter how respectable, often find themselves mercilessly attacked and their careers ruined. Monsanto uses it’s unlimited budget to sue, threaten, and bully others into silence.
I would love to trust Monsanto, but this is a company that knew about the harmful effects of pcb’s and ddt for decades, but lied and deceived so as to not harm it’s profits. This at the expense of many lives lost while distributing chemicals that cannot be broken down across the globe. Would they do the same with GMO’s? Absolutely. If we finally reach a consensus that GM crops are harmful it will be too late, they are already out there cross pollinating.
Yes GMO’s and patenting genes (an insane idea in itself) are about control and domination. What else could it be? Mexican farmers developed over a 140 varieties of corn by modifying their own seeds. If Monstanto owns the seeds or their seeds get cross pollinated with Monstanto’s they no longer “own” them. Creativity, the right of public ownership and sharing as well as diversity is lost – dependency is the only alternative. Conventional and organic farmers have ruthlessly been sued by Monsanto for their crops being contaminated. Often they have to settle out of court because they cannot match the unlimited budget of Monsanto. It’s a sweet deal for Monsanto. They can contaminate another’s fields and then sue them for taking their genetic material.
These are evil actions, but to be expected from a system that worships and makes profit it’s only goal. Corporations were originally set up for the public good, not only profit. In a just world, Monsanto would have it’s charter revoked, and those who knowingly manipulated data, or were aware of the dangers of it’s products (but pushed them anyway) prosecuted.
There’s nothing democratic about either having to shop organic or grow your own. Organic crops will eventually be contaminated (most organic canola farmers have given up because they can’t prevent contamination) and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
Genetically modified crops are not the same. Gene manipulation is not specific, precise or predictable. See here for more information: http://gmo-awareness.com/all-about-gmos/gmo-risks/
It was thought that there was a one to one ration between genes and proteins. This is not the case. Genes are not isolated but are interactions that affect other proteins in unpredictable ways.
Finally, we could have an excellent food system by limiting size, increasing diversity and putting people back on the land to farm. The UN has found that small organic farming would be the best route for sustaining long term health and feeding increasing populations. Making food conform to wall street profits and an industrial machine is destructive to the earth, people and the soul. It’s time for something much better.
Books I would recommend: Ominvore’s Delimna, and The World According to Monsanto.
Lisa Ovitt says
Hi, Wanda. We met at the Animal Ag Alliance conference a few weeks ago. Love your blog! Keep up the good work of getting out the good news about ag–and dispelling the myths.
Wanda Patsche says
Thanks Lisa! I appreciate it!
Rae Frank says
Plenty of facts in the other responses here, so I just want to remind you that capitalists don’t care about anything but profits. Lie, deceive, manipulate for the sake of personal gain – externalities be darned, it’s all within the scope of this economy and proven by history. The only question I have for you is: are you a manipulator or one of the manipulated? And do you have the moral base to make sure you are neither?
This was a very informative read! Thanks for sharing :)
Such an informative article on GMO’s. Thanks!
Wow! I don’t know much about GMOs but this definitely helped clear a few things up for me.