I’ve posted before about the possible dangers of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
The major concern seems to be that GMOs tend to reach beyond the fields where they’re planted and, if they’ve been genetically modified in a way that allows them to out-compete crops that aren’t genetically modified, have the potential to completely take over and eliminate any non-GMO alternative. If down the road there is some hitch with the GM crop, then, well, that crop is done for, and we can’t go back to the old version, because it no longer exists.
That’s the nightmare scenario. Lesser, but very real, problems include cross-pollination of GM crops with nearby organic crops, thereby costing organic farmers their organic certification through no fault of their own. (And also often paradoxically dragging them into lawsuits for planting crops they don’t have rights to, seeing as the GM crops are patented and the organic farmers never paid for them.)
Anyway. I didn’t need to recap this here because you can visit my old post linked to above. But I did want to highlight some additional reasons to oppose GM crops, nicely articulated by Stonyfield “CE-Yo” Gary Hirshberg in a letter he wrote on January 31 defending his stance on GM crops against an attack from within the organic movement.
“We believe that these [GM] crops are resulting in significantly higher uses of toxic herbicides and water, creating a new generation of costly ‘super’ weeds, pose severe and irreversible threats to biodiversity and seed stocks, do not live up to the superior yield claims of their patent holders and are unaffordable for small family farmers in the US and around the world.”
Well. Now that’s a laundry list of problems, and none of them did I mention in my earlier post about the potential horrors of GM crops (except of course for “irreversible threats to biodiversity and seed stocks,” a fancier way of saying what I spelled out in the first couple paragraphs above).
I’m not sure these need any further explanation; I just wanted to share them with our readers. If you’re interested in reading more about “super” weeds and their tendency to require more herbicides over time, please also check out my post about the USDA’s approval of GM alfalfa.
Do you know of any other reasons we may want to limit, eliminate or at least more heavily regulate the use of GMOs?