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This month marks the 2nd Annnual Non-GMO Month, as promoted by the consumer watch-group The Non-GMO Project. Non-GMO Month is trying to bring better awareness to the fact that ove 90% of much of our major plant-based food in this country is GMO (genetically modified organisims). What you may not know, is that the US is by FAR the largest grower of GMO crops in the world and has the least amount of federal regulation over GMOs of any developed nation.
Proponents of GMOs point to the fact that no conclusive study has found GMO food to have negative health consequences. But what is also true is that no long term studies have been done on humans because limiting someone's diet to potentially hazardous food for several years is simply unethical. Similar studies that have been done with mice over four generations showed abnormal structural and chemical changes to various organs and significantly reduced fertility.
Further, aside from the unknown health risks of GMO crops, the environmental consequences and ethical delimmas are well documented. Much GMO manipulation comes from laboratories that splice cross-species (trans-genic) DNA to produce specific results. We're literally talking about cases in which specific genes from fish have been spliced into tomatoes and strawberries. In my humble opinion, there is a good reason why plants and animals can't go around have babies. Unfortunately GMO scientists just haven't seen that perspective.
What Is GMO?
A GMO is the direct human manipulation of an organism’s DNA in a laboratory environment
Genetic modification may include the addition of DNA from an organism’s own species as well as from other species that would not naturally breed in nature
Genetic modification may also involve removing specific strands of DNA from an organism
Not A GMO.
GMOs do not include plants and animals that are traditionally bred to achieve specific characteristics
DNA from pesticide and herbicide resistant bacteria are commonly combined with corn, soybean and other crops to create pesticide and herbicide resistant crops
Cross-species—or transgenic—genetic manipulation has gone so far as to combine fish DNA with strawberries and tomatoes
In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Diamond v. Chakrabarty case ruled that GMO life could be patented
No Long-Term Testing.
It took decades for the dangers of Trans-Fats (another artificial food) to become understood
GMO foods have only existed in groceries since the late 1990’s
GMOs And The Environment.
Pesticide-producing GMO crops have led to resistance in insects, resulting in the need for even more powerful poisons
A Canadian government study showed that after just 4-5 years of commercial growing, herbicide-resistant GMO canola had cross-pollinated to create herbicide-resistant weeds
A 2010 study of Canola found transgenic DNA in 80% of wild varieties in North Dakota
Percent of Total US Production as of 2011 (souce: FDA)
Soybeans — 94%
Cotton — 90%
Corn — 88%
Other Random Facts.
GMO varieties of corn and potatoes are engineered to produce their own pesticides
In one study, mice fed GM pesticide-producing corn over four generations showed abnormal structural and chemical changes to various organs and significantly reduced fertility
As much as 30,000 different GMO exist on grocery store shelves (largely because of how many processed foods contain soy)
The USA is the largest producer and consumer of GMO crops in the world and currently does not federally mandate labels for genetically modified food
Polls consistently show that a significant majority of North Americans would like to be able to tell if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs
In a CBS News Poll, 87% of consumers indicated they wanted GMOs labeled
in a follow up CBS/New York Times poll, 53% of consumers said they would not buy food that had been genetically modified
30 other countries have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs
Countries include Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the entire EU
The Non-GMO Project is an initiative of the North American organic and natural product industry to create a standardized definition of non-GMO and an independent 3rd party verification program to assess product compliance with this Standard. For the first time, the Non-GMO Project’s seal for verified products gives the public an opportunity to make informed decisions about GMOs.