There are so many things I love about October. My husband and I were married in October, so that alone is special. Then there is everything glorious about fall, with the beautiful leaves changing and falling, the crisp air, as well as things like pumpkins, football and soup. But one of the greatest things about October is that it is Non-GMO Month. This is the perfect opportunity to get the word out about GMOs and their harmful effects on us and our food supply.
This post will only touch the surface on the detailed intricacies of GMOs and the drama that surrounds them. I urge you all to do research and learn everything you can about GMOs.
To the biotechnology world and conventional farmers, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are the answer to everything. Proponents of GMOs and biotechnology always say that it would be impossible to feed everyone in the world without GMOs and that organic just won’t cut it. As far as I know, there are plenty of GMOs and there are still plenty of people starving in the world. This article busts some common myths, including the one just mentioned.
GMOs include plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses, or other plants and animals (Source). These are specifically created and modified by scientists and do not occur in nature on their own. GMOs are touted by supporters for things like increased yields, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition and other consumer or farmer benefits. Sounds great, right? Wrong! What GMO Giants like Monsanto, Syngenta and others don’t talk about is the fact that no long term studies, and very few short term studies, have been done on the effects of playing God and altering things in nature.
Just hearing the name Monsanto strikes fear in my heart. They are the brains behind such wonderful products (are you sensing my sarcasm?) as Agent Orange, dioxins, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and genetically modified seeds. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine, among others, tells us that GMOs are inherently unsafe. The Academy reported that “several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system (Source).
Sadly, our food system is being destroyed by GMOs. Crops that are bred to be resistant to pests and herbicides, such as Roundup Ready crops full of glyphosate, are creating problems like super weeds and super pests (Source). These could be likened to antibiotic resistant infections such as MRSA. There are also independent studies showing that GE (genetically engineered) foods can cause severe health issues and are not safe (Source).
Unfortunately, 90% of crops like soy, corn, wheat, sugar beets and canola are GM unless they are organic or Non-GMO verified. This means that you are almost certainly eating GMOs if you eat any processed or packaged foods. Not only are these things bad to consume, they are also bad for the environment and organic farming. Research published in 2010 showed that “glyphosate causes birth defects in frogs and chickens embryos at far lower levels than what is used in agricultural and garden applications. Quite shockingly, the amount of glyphosate residue you can be exposed to through food is remarkably high, and is very close to the maximum residue limit (MRL) legally allowed (Source).” In fact, according to GMO expert, Jeffrey Smith, when GM soybeans were introduced, Europe had to increase their allowable residue levels by 200 fold! That’s an insane increase!
Why is it that GMOs are banned in many countries, and we can’t even get them labeled here in the United States?! Sadly, it comes down to the fact that GMOs are big business, and lobbyists ensure that companies like Monsanto, Syngenta and other biotech giants are protected so they can keep generating millions of dollars of revenue. Many studies that say GMOs are completely safe are funded by the GM producers. If you have enough money, you can make studies say anything you want.
Sadly, until more people start taking notice and demanding change, our food supply and our environment will continue to be ravaged by the destruction of GMOs. The United States and Canada don’t require labeling of GMOs, yet there are restrictions or outright bans in Mexico, Brazil, UK, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Russia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, South Korea and Australia. Grassroots organizations and great organic businesses are fighting hard and spending lots of money to get GMOs labeled.
Meanwhile, companies like Monsanto, Dupont, PepsiCo, Kraft, CocaCola, Nestle, General Mills, ConAgra, and Kellogg’s are spending millions and millions of dollars fighting against having GMOs labeled. If they feel that their products laden with GMOs are so great, why would they not want to proudly label that?? Instead, despite the fact that the majority of consumers want GMOs labeled, supporters of labeling have to fight tooth and nail to try to make change happen. Because of the backlash surrounding this issue, some companies are now making their donations through the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) and hiding that they are actually supporting this. Just this week, junk food industry lobbyists were sued for money laundering.
For a full list of companies and how much they’ve donated to NOT label GMOs, check here. Want to check your GMO labeling knowledge? Take a quiz here.
Check out the Non-GMO Project website to enter to win some great Non-GMO Project Verified goodies.
For a list of more great GMO resources, check here, here, and here. Dr. Mercola also has a lot to say about GMOs in this article. If you live in states where you have the opportunity to vote to label GMOs, support the proposition so we can start a trend of labeling. We all deserve to know what we’re eating. We ARE NOT science experiments!