In recent years, evidence regarding the dangers of GMOs has been circulating. The release of chemicals and radiation into an environment can alter not only the targeted plants, but surrounding biodiversity as well. This is a serious danger to the environment these crops reside in. It is a well known fact that most crops are treated with pesticides to keep insects away. It was discovered long ago that pesticides are not good for humans. One of the ideas behind the creation of GMOs was eliminating pesticides while still finding a way to keep insects away. If a crop could somehow be undesirable to insects and still have the same nutritional value, the crop would be better suited for its environment as this is an advantageous trait. The problem with this is that mutating DNA is very risky business.
The Dangers of Inbreeding
Tom Mckay, a writer for MIC Network thinks GMOs have a bigger effect on the environment than most realize. GMO food has the ability to encourage the evolution of pesticide- resistant insects. In retrospect, this makes sense. If these crops are potentially harmful to insects, than only the stronger insects will be able to survive after eating them. The less suited insects will die out, leaving a population of stronger, resistant bugs. This has already been seen with pesticide usage. As time goes on, bugs have become more and more unaffected by pesticides, which is why they have to keep getting stronger. There is no way to avoid this process. Humans can genetically engineer the strongest plants possible, but there is no stopping natural selection.
It is believed that GMOs pose a threat to human safety as well as the environment they are cultivated in. Dr. Thierry Vrain, a former research scientist of agriculture refutes the claims that GMOs are safe for human consumption. If the threats concerning GMOs are true, they would affect a huge population of people. To put things in perspective, 79% of the world’s soybean crop is genetically modified. 70% of cotton, 32% of corn, and 24% of rapeseed crop has also been modified according to Gmo Compass. The food and other goods developed from these resources are shared not only amongst humans, but with a huge amount of livestock as well.
Dr. Vrain believes soybean and corn crops are especially dangerous. He claims,
“There are no long-term feeding studies performed in these countries to demonstrate the claims that engineered corn and soya are safe.”
Vrain goes on further to say that scientific studies have shown that rats fed GMOs died prematurely. Yet, with all of this information in mind, the federal departments have not taken steps to confirm nor deny these statements. In fact, soybeans and corn plants have not been regulated or had proteins tested in order to ensure their safety. It seems as if the government cares more about crop production rate and viability of crops than the possibility of people dying prematurely.
If it isn't shocking enough, it should be known that America has placed significantly less limits regarding GMOs than any other first world country. A research assignment conducted by Sustainable Pulse found that thirty eight countries have total or partial bans on GMO usage. Another sixty countries has imposed tight restrictions on them. Sustainable Pulse also found that only twenty eight countries had technology to grow GMOs and didn’t mind the possible environmental effects of them.
Perhaps the scariest part of GMOs is America’s lack of honesty surrounding them. The Center for Food Safety discovered 64 countries require foods containing GMOs to be labeled. America was not on this list. France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium are just a few big names that were included. But, it’s not just first world countries that are admitting to problems regarding GMOs. Ethiopia, El Salvador. and Kenya also have labeling requirements in place. As Tom Mckay points out,
“While the U.S. does not require GMO food labeling, it is the largest commercial grower of genetically modified crops in the entire world.”
To be precise, 95% of U.S. sugar beets are genetically engineered along with 94% of U.S. cotton, 93% of soybeans, 88% of U.S. corn. Perhaps most shockingly, anywhere between 60-75% of processed foods in the U.S. contain GMO ingredients.
Although it seems as if America has no protection against the threat genetically modified organisms pose, there are some companies that are trying to make a difference. Strictly non-GMO, Dole Plantation chooses to avoid GMOs in hopes of spreading awareness of the danger. Dole isn’t the only corporation whose chosen a cleaner route. Chipotle, Annie’s, and other companies have decided that no GMO is the best way to go.