More Reasons to Question GMOs

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.

Stonyfield Yogurt

If It's Organic, It's GMO-Free.

Hirshberg notes:

“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?

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3 Responses to More Reasons to Question GMOs

  1. I am a big organic consumer. It angers me that we have to fight for healthy food choices in addition to making sure that we are not feeding our body imitation food! Keep passing the word along. I’ve also published a few articles on organic topics and health concerns for readers to think about it. I hope Whole Foods Market and other Natural and Organic based stores continue the fight for this. Right now I am disappointed after learning about the decision of the Whole Foods Market company not enforcing the GMO labeling but we need the help of everyone.

    • Doug says:

      Miss Suburbia,

      Good for you for eating organic! Probably if our national diet is to get better, and if government is to make decisions in favor of healthier food, the place it all starts is the consumer. After all, Whole Foods has the sway it has because people buy their products. Whole Foods’ decision to sell mostly non-organic food shows the consumer’s power to shape even Whole Foods’ selling decisions, and without people interested in buying organic products Whole Foods couldn’t stock as many as they do. But you know all this.

      What I find most frustrating is that organic choices continue to be much more expensive in many cases than conventional foods, and this is a sign that we still have a long way to go in terms of recruiting customers to organic food. It’s still under 4% of the U.S. food market. I am optimistic though that this will continue to change rapidly, as we’re starting to build evidence and spread knowledge that the health and environmental consequences of the way we’ve been producing and processing food will need to be reckoned with.

      Hope you continue to read and write on the topic, sometimes I feel that we’re preaching to the converted but it’s encouraging how much all of this is starting to become part of the broader culture.

  2. Pingback: Another Genetically Modified Organism Slides Past the USDA | Organaholic! Organic Food Blog

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