What are GMOs?
GMOs, or "genetically modified organisms," are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.
Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers' and consumers' rights.
Are GMOs safe?
Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In 61 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.
Are GMOs labeled?
Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they are purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.
How does GMO Awareness come into play?
If people stop buying GMOs, companies will stop using them and farmers will stop growing them. The aim is to make more and more people aware until a tipping point of consumer rejection happens and the market for GMOs collapses.
Do Americans want non-GMO foods and supplements?
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 (a 2008 CBS News Poll found that 87% of consumers wanted GMOs labeled). And, according to a recent CBS/New York Times poll, 53% of consumers said they would not buy food that has been genetically modified.
How common are GMOs?
In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food.
What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment?
Over 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. GMO crops are also responsible for the emergence of "super weeds" and "super bugs:" which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange). GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture, and are developed and sold by the world's biggest chemical companies (Monsanto, for example, produces and owns patents on GMO plant seedlings...AND they are also the ones that make Roundup...AND...they also have complete protection from litigation by a bill signed by President Obama -The Monsanto Protection Act.) The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment these novel organisms cannot be recalled.
How do GMOs affect farmers?
Because GMOs are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents with which to restrict their use. As a result, the companies that make GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. GMOs therefore pose a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown, including the United States.
So, in summary, best estimates indicate that 80% of processed foods on supermarket shelves contain at least some GMOs, and at least 60% have GM as a primary ingredient. Don't believe it? How about we go through your grocery cart from last weekend? If your food products contain corn, soy, wheat, cottonseed or any derivative of these (and others), it probably is a GMO.
In addition, virtually all confined animals are fed GM food almost exclusively, most of it GM soy.
Before you order your next pizza or Happy Meal, or fill your shopping buggy with breads, cereals, pop tarts, cookies, non-free range/non-grass fed meats, non-wild caught fish, and even many of the staple foods you may be buying at the grocery...rethink. Invest in your health.
Why? A SCARY FACT -there can be no scientific testing of the physical effects of GM foods on humans. Lab study results with animals was enough to create a HUGE uproar in the UK -enough to not allow GMO's to humans (or at least require labeling).
Consider getting to know your food. Get to know some local farmers -small scale, non-corporate, non-GMO, organic. It is well worth it to you and your family.
Genetic Roulette (documentary)