GMO and the “No’s”
Have you ever picked up a box of cereal and noticed its label says “contains GMO”? –Most likely not if you live in the United States or Canada. However, for European dwellers all consumer products are labeled if they contain GMO. Why are Europeans stressing the importance of knowing if consumer products contain GMO or not? And why doesn’t the United States or Canada enforce the labeling of GMO products? Although, there are some companies in the United States that label their products, “does NOT contain GMO”. What is GMO? Is it Harmful? Is it something us consumers should be concerned about?
The answer is clearly “yes”. We should be concerned about GMO. GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. Believe it or not, over 90% of consumer products contain GMO. Any highly processed food like cereal, junk food, and many grain based products will contain GMO. The top two genetically modified crops grown in the United States are corn and soybeans. To keep up with supply and demand, soybean oil (a GMO) is used in the vast majority of processed foods.As consumers, we need to be aware about genetically modified products and the effect it has our on health, whether they should be labeled or not, and lastly the their negative impact on the environment.
We must first understand how genetically modified organisms are made. The reason genetically modified organisms became the “economic solution” was the scientific breakthrough of reengineering DNA. By isolating a plants specific gene (the inheritance portion of DNA), scientists are able to manipulate and reengineer it. They randomly insert a circular molecule of DNA or a “plasmid” which forms from naturally occurring soil bacterium. In a simplified form, bacteria is invading the DNA. After the transformation, the modified gene is mixed with the plants other cells for its transformation into a GMO. These modifications are most commonly used for drought resistance and herbicide resistance. However, the modifications are dangerous for the environment.
The problem with herbicide resistance plants is the use of more herbicide toxins. Most people assume that more herbicide resistant plants would reduce the usage of herbicides, but they’re wrong. The usage of herbicides has increased from 15 million pounds in 1996 to 159 million by 2012. A study by Washington State University showed how there was also an increase of “super weeds” (weeds that build up resistances which call for deadlier herbicides). More super weeds equal stronger herbicide usage.
Along with super weeds, GMO plants cannot be tamed as they were in labs. Once in the wild, GMO crops easily spread to farmers who don’t want to grow GMO crops. This ongoing biological battle will continue as GMO seeds spread, and weeds use adaptations against herbicides. Do we really want herbicides so potent that they will affect us as consumers? The crops aren’t bothered by the herbicides as scientists continue to manipulate DNA, but when will this battle reach humanity?
In fact, this battle has already reached humanity, but for other reasons besides herbicides. There have been no long term studies on the effects of GMO on humans or any conclusive answers, only speculations. For example, soybean oil (a GMO) can be found in 90% of consumer products. Don’t be fooled by the healthy advertisements of soybean oil. It’s rich in omega-6 fatty acids which in small doses are fine. But due to its popularity in consumer foods, the omega-6 fatty acids replace the healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Studies also show GMO’sstimulate inflammation leading to a variety of diseases like heart disease, asthma, and even cancer.
Several mice and hamster experiments were performed isolating their diet to strictly soybean and corn based GMO foods, and the results were quite disturbing. After being fed a GMO corn-based diet, the mice produced smaller and fewer babies. Even more concerning was the affect a soybean diet had on the mice babies.More than half of their babies died within three weeks. By the third generation of GMO corn diet, hamsters could no longer produce offspring. GMO has only been around since 1996 and no long term studies have been done on human health. If actions aren’t taken, we could eventually end up like the mice and hamsters. Our bodies aren’t meant to be consuming bacteria infected DNA.
Lastly, GMO products need to be labeled. As consumers, we have a given right to know what we are ingesting. Monsanto is the creator of GMO biotechnology. Back in 1997, the United Kingdom passed a law that made GMO labeling mandatory. Monsanto approved and even was excited to show case their incredible biotechnology. As the years passed, several studies were conducted and in 2012, there was a hearing in the United States to enforce the labeling of GMOs. Out of all the Monsanto cooperation, 96% of them voted against labeling. Why is Monsanto against the labeling of GMO? Maybe it’s because of all the health and environmental studies that have been conducted since GMO was first introduced.
Many scientist and farmers claim genetically modified crops will produce more food. With more food, the world doesn’t need to worry about starving people. All good things? Wrong. Altogether, our world produces enough food for every person (7 billion) to eat more than 2,000 calories a day. The problem is supplying food to countries in hard to reach places. Producing more GMO crops will not solve a starving epidemic. There are no facts to prove GMO crops yield more than non-GMO crops. So why are we wasting our time with GMO when they are completely useless and harm the environment and humanity?
The next time you go to a grocery store, know your facts. Since the FDA doesn’t label GMO products, GMO ingredients can be found on the back of packaging. Buy foods that are organic and look for labels that say “contains no GMO”. Help fight against GMO by joining the Campaign for Healthier Eating in America. This is a wakeup call for America, GMO’s are devastating to our environment and who knows what will happen to us if we continue to eat genetically modified organisms.

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