What are GMOs?
You have likely heard of them before, but just as a refresher, Genetically Modified Organisms are any organism (usually produce) that has had its genes artificially altered in a laboratory. Usually, the gene of one species is injected into the gene of another. This method creates organisms that would not occur in nature or through the traditional practice of cross-breeding. The most common modifications equip plants with their own pesticides or make them herbicide resident, saving farmers money and time. Scientists are also working on creating GMOs with added nutrients, the capability to resist drought, and increased yields. Nearly 80% of all produce processed in the US contains ingredients that use GMOS.
Sounds great right? Well, unfortunately, our growing understanding of GMO’s impact on human, environmental and social health is making them seem like more a danger than a benefit.
Most of the health effects of GMOs are unknown, as very few studies have been conducted on humans. However, the limited tests we do have link GMOs to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals.
Additionally, GMOs that are herbicide resistant allow farmers to spray herbicide chemicals directly on to plants, leaving potentially toxic residue on or absorbed into the produce. Roundup, a common herbicide used, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.
The production of herbicide resistant plants has led to the overuse of herbicides, allowing for the survival of “super pests” that become resistant to chemicals. This leads to the use of even more herbicides, causing unparalleled chemical pollution to the surrounding environment.
Studies have shown that pesticide-producing crops contaminate nearby streams, possibly affecting aquatic life because the chemicals produced by these GMOs are far stronger than any found in nature.
GMOs may also harm beneficial insects, and can make previously insignificant insects which are not targeted by the GM varieties develop into pests. Then pesticide spraying resumes.
However, the largest environmental danger of GMOs is their unknown consequences. Many of these organisms have the potential to contaminate their surrounding environment both through cross pollination or invasion. Once such impacts go into effect, the crops cannot be recalled and their devastation will be total.
GMOs are designed, funded, and sold by mega-corporations that have an abiding interest in industrial agriculture. They develop patents for their crops, giving them the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields.
These negative consequences have led most of the developed world to reject GMOs – in fact in Europe they are completely banned from being produced or sold. Most Americans (90%) want produce using GMOs to at least be labeled, yet it is not a requirement of the FDA. So how do you know if your food is GMO-free? Some non-profit organizations, such as the Non-GMO project, have created independent labeling initiatives. Also, certified organic food does not contain GMOs. Green to Grounds, which sources sustainable and local food, makes sure all produce delivered to you does not use GMOs. We at Green to Grounds are committed to bodily and environmental health by consuming non-GMO foods and want you to do the same!