Nothing is to be feared. It is only to be understood. – Marie Curie
My grandfather worked at a hydro-electric dam near Tremonton, Utah. People didn’t understand how it worked. Farmers accused the power company of taking electricity out of the water and thereby damaging the crops. It was hysteria born of ignorance. When my dad told me that story I thought of the biotech crops and the GMO (genetically modified foods, also known as GM) hysteria.
It is with our passions as it is with fire and water; they are good servants, but bad masters. -Roger L’ Estrange
You can find an “expert” or a “study” to prove anything. I am sure in my grandfather’s day there was an “expert” and a “study” that proved the crops were being adversely affected by the water leaving hydro-electric plants. When I was a debater in high school I found that many of my favorite pieces of evidence could be used whether I was arguing pro or con on the topic, depending on the way I would spin it. So it is with the GMO debate. You can prove either side with some impressive sounding information. BUT if there are 1783 studies* with consensus supporting a point of view, as it does with GMO’s, it gets tougher to prove the opposite is true. I may yet be compelled to change my view but for now here are six reasons I support GMO’s:
# 1 The evidence overwhelmingly supports the safety of GMO’s
I used to say that there was just not enough evidence to support the case of GMO’s being a health risk. I was wrong! Did you know GMO’s have been studied for 30 years? Every major international science body in the world has reviewed multiple independent studies—in some cases numbering in the hundreds—in coming to the consensus that GMO crops are as safe or safer than conventional or organic foods. Until now, the magnitude of the research on crop biotechnology has never been cataloged. In response to what they believed was an information gap, a team of Italian scientists summarized 1783 studies about the safety and environmental impacts of GMO foods—a staggering number. The researchers couldn’t find a single credible example demonstrating that GMO foods pose any harm to humans or animals. “The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops,” the scientists concluded.
It is easy enough to hold an opinion but hard work to actually know what one is talking about. -Paul F. Ford
# 2 GMO’s may be the answer to feeding the world
It is easy to sit in our nice suburban homes with our supermarkets overflowing with options and complain about how it is produced. How about a little support for those who produce it and some concern for those who don’t have enough. If we make it too difficult on those who produce our food it may be a child in Africa that pays the price. GMO’s may feed the world – especially as the climate continues to change. Many third world countries are currently having great success with bio engineered foods.
Are big companies in it for the profit before altruistic purposes? Almost certainly. That is free enterprise. But one does not preclude the other. Your food would be much more expensive and less attractive if it were not for Monsanto.
# 3 We know pesticides are a problem and GMO’s may be the answer to pesticide free food
A lot of plants have defenses against certain pests and we eat that plant. When you take that one gene out of 10,000 and put it in another plant it becomes resistant to that pest and there is no need to use a pesticide for that particular insect. That doesn’t sound very dangerous to me. Roundup works by deactivating a plant enzyme called EPSPS. In RR (Roundup Ready) crops they express a different version of EPSPS that is not deactivated by glyphosate. It has allowed farmers to use a relatively non-toxic herbicide.
#4 We have been eating them for years
You are already eating genetically modified food everyday. Over 90% of corn and soy are GMO. Corn and soy, and their processed derivatives, are in nearly every packaged food product. If you are seriously going to avoid GMO’s you are going to have to give up most packaged food and probably your ice cream! People tend to be less zealous when it comes to giving up their own “little darlings”.
# 5 We have bigger food problems than GMO’s
If you want outrage look at soda, sugar, sugar syrups, chemicals and processed food. Look around you at the obesity and the disease. Are you not appalled?? Is Monsanto more evil than Coca Cola, Kraft, McDonald’s? I am a capitalist and I am not opposed to big business but some corporations deliberately make “food” that addicts. What are we doing about that? If you haven’t given up Twinkies and Pepsi, Crispy Creams and cheese cake then there is plenty to do closer to home. For some people it is easier to villainize GMO’s that to give these things up.
He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn’t reserve a plot for weeds. -Dag Hammerskjold
# 6 The increased costs of buying fruits and vegetables
For me this is the biggest one. I spend my days trying to convince people to eat real food, food that comes from the ground or has a parent, instead of the packaged things that pass as food. It already costs more to eat real food than it does the processed stuff that is killing us. You can buy a box of mac and cheese for a quarter! How can fruits and vegetables compete with that? Add a dose of fear to the equation and some people aren’t even going to try.
I know there is still the issue of intellectual property rights and someday I may see some evidence so overwhelming that I change my mind but I don’t think so. I think one day people will look back on the debate about engineered foods and roll their eyes over our ignorance. For now I am too busy dealing with the real problems caused by our modern diet than to worry about GMO’s.
*Note: These 1783 studies are expected to be merged into the public database known as GENERA (Genetic Engineering Risk Atlas) being built by Biofortified , an independent non-profit website. Officially launched in 2012, GENERA includes peer-reviewed journal articles from different aspects of GMO research, including basic genetics, feeding studies, environmental impact and nutritional impact. GENERA has more than 650 studies listed so far, many of which also show up in the new database. When merged, there should be well over 2000 GMO related studies, a sizable percentage—as many as 1000—that have been independently executed by independent scientists.
By Sherry Stirling Fernandez
For more info:
Why We Will Need Genetically Modified Foods http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/522596/why-we-will-need-genetically-modified-foods/
2000+ Reasons Why GMO’s Are Safe http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2013/10/14/2000-reasons-why-gmos-are-safe-to-eat-and-environmentally-sustainable/
Natural Toxins in Fruits and Vegetables https://www.uoguelph.ca/foodsafetynetwork/natural-toxins-fruits-and-vegetables
The Top 5 Lies About BioTech Crops http://reason.com/archives/2013/02/22/the-top-five-lies-about-biotech-crops/
Leading Activist Apologizes for Leading Anti-GMO Movementhttp://www.hawaiireporter.com/leading-activist-apologizes-for-starting-anti-gmo-movement/123
The Irrational Fear of GM Food http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303680404579141741399966328