10 Things You May Not Know About GMOs

You may have heard about genetically  modified organisms, dubbed “frankenfoods,” but do you really know the story behind them? Do you know why there has been such an uprising in the natural food world and why people are so passionate about getting GMOs out of the food supply?

The following 10 things you may not know about GMOs come straight out of my new ebook, Unraveling GMOs, to give you a bit of a sneak peak into what you can learn (or what you may not know about already).

1. Monsanto has a patent on their genetically modified seeds.

This means, without Monsanto’s consent, no one is allowed to conduct any type of independent testing regarding the safety to the environment, to our health and to confirm if there really is more of a benefit to using the genetically modified seeds. (source)

 

2. Since the mid-90’s, over 700 small farms have been sued

but have settled out-of-court rather than face Monsanto’s belligerent, and well-financed, contentious actions. Why have they been sued? Most cases it’s because Monsanto claims these farmers are infringing on patent rights because GM seed showed up in their fields of non-GM seed. Mind you, this can naturally happen by cross-pollination, wind and animal droppings.

 

3. One of the biggest PR claims for the use of GMOs is the scare tactic of needing to feed the world.

Did you know that the world’s third most used GM seed is cotton? Now, how can that feed the world? Besides, in the United States alone it’s estimated we waste 40 billion pounds of food each year. (source) I don’t think the shortage of food is the problem. I think it’s more that people cannot afford to buy the food. Why not work on a local level to build local economies so the people can have money to spend on food? Just a thought.

 

4. If you still think there are no such thing as revolving doors for the biotech industry and our government,

let me let you in on a few facts. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, from 1998-2002 the biotech industry spent $143 million  on lobbying alone. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is also included in that number which lobbies and advertises on behalf of the whole industry. Under this organization, it has a total budget of $30 million, employs 70 and represents 1000 companies. (source) Um, can you say they are everywhere? This would certainly make it easy to give a few people here and there a nice, hefty bonus for making things run smoothly for the industry. Don’t you think?

 

5. Contrary to what most people believe, the FDA has not adopted a mandatory safety assessment of GM foods

and has never approved a GM food as safe. The FDA does not hold itself responsible to ever conducting a safety assessment of a new GM food to approve. Instead, they depend on a voluntary program for the pre-market of GM foods.

All approved GM foods have gone through this voluntary review but there is no law stating it is necessary. This basically means a company can put any GM food on the market they want and have been notified in a letter by the FDA that they are held liable if something goes wrong with the GM food. (source)

 

6. One study tested the blood samples of 69 pregnant and non-pregnant women who were eating a standard Canadian diet.

The results were shocking!

Researchers found Cry1Ab, a specific strain of BT toxin, in 93% of maternal blood samples, 80% in fetal cord samples and 69% of non-pregnant women blood samples.  This means that not only is the BT toxin surviving in our gut, it’s transferring into our bloodstream and into the bloodstream of our unborn children! (source)

 

7. Did you know that not only do you have to look for common names like corn, soy, and canola to avoid GMOs in food,

but you also have to look for their derivatives?Yup. There is a whole slew of ingredients that are derived from GM corn, soy, and canola like dextrose, diacetyl, Inversol, milk powder, tocopherols (vitamin e), whey powder and much, much more.

 

8. Did you know that about 90 million metric tons of GM corn grains are produced worldwide?

Of that 90 million metric tons, at least 65 million metric tons of GM corn are used in livestock feed annually – that’s about 70% of the total grain production! (source) Wait… I thought we were supposed to be feeding the world with these crops?

 

9. Did you know that all living organisms have a natural barrier to protect their genes from any harm?

This means when a biologist proceeds to change the DNA of another organism, the genetic engineer must force the DNA into the genetic makeup. (source)

 

10. Genetic modification is very different from hybridization and other natural breeding techniques,

in that genetic modification can produce something completely unnatural. For example, with genetic modification, you can take the genes of an arctic flounder and put them into the genes of a tomato to make the tomato frost resistant (this by the way has been done before). With hybridization, farmers essentially steer the process so they can receive the desired outcome. A good example is peppermint which is a hybrid of spearmint and water mint.

 

Learn More About GMOs!

Whether or not you believe GMOs should be banned or if you think they should be allowed, making an informed decision based on your own research is what is most important.

In my new eBook, Unraveling GMOs, not only will you have a better understanding of the history behind GMOs but you’ll also learn how to avoid them by reading real life label examples and what sort of ways you can help to spread the word.

It’s an easy-to-read, enticing and comprehensive guide on the ins and outs of GMOs. Each page will leave you wanting to learn more and at the end of the ebook, you will be left feeling inspired and empowered.

You can buy Unraveling GMOs by clicking here or you can click HERE to learn more.

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13 Comments

  1. I don’t mean to be argumentative, but my wife is an environmental science graduate. We’ve spent lots of time discussing GMO’s with researchers and professors. In addition, I think you are a very principled woman who tries to do the right thing; however, I feel some of your points about GMO’s are completely wrong. As such, these wrong arguments display a high level of ignorance. Consider the following examples:

    1) Yes. They do have a patent on their seed. As a business, Monsanto needs to make a profit to survive. However, they provide pricing information at https://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/pages/seed-prices.aspx
    People all over the world buy these seeds. Thus, the pricing must not be too crazy. The patent can’t even cause a monopoly because farmers won’t buy the seed unless it’s worth it. The patent only serves to protect their proprietary product. It’s a general business necessity. Unfortunately, this does mean they can’t release the seed for public testing. Otherwise, competitors would know what they do to be successful.

    2) I’m sure you won’t find a single case that does not meet the statement issued by Monsanto at https://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/pages/why-does-monsanto-sue-farmers-who-save-seeds.aspx

    3 & 8) GMO’s do allow us to feed the world. Even if they use the GMO’s to feed livestock, more abundant feed provides cheaper feed. Cheaper feed offers cheaper livestock. GMO’s lower the cost of food around the world. Cheaper food leaves the population with more disposable income. More disposable income creates a more robust economy.

    6) Yes. A Canadian study did find levels of Bt toxin in women. However, this toxin is present for the same reason that sharks have large levels of Mercury. As predators, sharks accumulate the toxins from everything they eat. So do humans. Consequently, if we eat products with Bt toxin, we will have Bt toxin in our bodies. Yet, Bt toxin has not proven harmful to humans.

    1. Feeding the world is the most incredulous reason for accepting GMO’s in our food. I suggest you read an excellent book called “The Soul of Money” and then report how Monsanto undermines the farmers in 3rd world nations, uproots their fragile economies and also creates unhealthy foods for the entire world. We are at the mercy of corporations and men (Bill Gates) whose soul interest in money first….people, much lower on the list. Please….stop supporting “science” in such a distorted way.

      The noted book is not about GMO’s but begins addressing the issue that GMO’s create. The entire book is valuable but I offer this reading simply to support the need to truly educate people about the reality of the concept of “feeding the world”. It is a misnomer generated and perpetuated by those who want power and money. People who are hungry will be easily bought but we can teach instead of “purchase” their needs and alter their worlds unmercilessly. Bill Gates has unlimited money but as the largest financier of Monsanto….he is one of the people I find the most heart-less.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5xlJg9WxJg

    2. Yet, Bt toxin has not proven harmful to humans. NOT YET….But it will in the end be proven….and Monstanto, your wife and you know it! We are all NOT stupid….

      1. Yes, that is the point I was trying to make. Nothing has been proven, YET, but I have a feeling it will be.

  2. 5: Actually, GM crops are tested for safety by the FDA and this includes food for human consumption as well as for animal feed. This is clearly stated and explained on the FDA website: https://www.fda.gov/food/foodscienceresearch/biotechnology/ucm346030.htm

    7: Dextrose is D-glucose, which is the common form of glucose or sugar that we eat. Tocopherols are produced by many plants for protection. Reading an ingredient list that doesn’t specify the source (ie, “GM corn dextrose”) means there is no way of knowing what to avoid and what not to avoid. My real point is that dextrose is dextrose. Once the plant has made the dextrose, there is no way to differentiate it from a non-GM plant derived dextrose. If you are suggesting avoiding anything with any trace of GMO derived ingredients for the purpose of boycotting Monsanto, you should probably explain that, otherwise there is not much of a point in avoiding these ingredients.

    9: I don’t understand why this is a criticism. You are opposed to “forcing” something upon a poor innocent corn grain? I understand that you are trying to offer some insight, but your lack of basic science understanding makes this statement sound especially obtuse. I would recommend reading a bit about creating transgenic plants. Contrary to what your statement would suggest, this is a common technique used for experimental practices (not for the purpose of consumption) and the transgenic organisms can still grow and function normally while expressing a transgene. I have also “forced” genes into E. coli and yeast for experimental purposes, and they can still grow normally!

    10: Yes, genetic modification can produce something completely unnatural. However, there is actually lots of overlap in genes across species and even across kingdoms. Humans share some genes with tomatoes. Did you know that animals are more closely related to fungi than plants are? If a gene from a fish confers frost resistance, and the tomato plant is amenable to transformation with this specific gene rather than a cold tolerance gene from another plant, you could easily argue that the tomato “prefers” the more unnatural transgene because it has other genes that function together with the transgene to yield the correct gene product. Often, genes are preferentially expressed in one cell type, or one tissue type. If the gene for cold resistance is expressed in the roots or leaves of a tomato and isn’t found at all in the flower or fruit tissue, are you still opposed to eating it?

    For the record, I’m a plant molecular biologist and no, I’m not even remotely interested in working for a agricultural biotech company. I don’t agree with Monsanto’s monopolization of GM crops to the point of ruining some farmer’s lives. I am however getting irritated by how people polarize issues and read up about one side while completely ignoring any sane, plausible arguments from the other side because they choose to only acknowledge what they already believe in. I know a lot about plants and the way people talk about GM crops is bothersome at times. The best way to educate yourself is to read all available information in an unbiased fashion, and then formulate your opinion rather than the other way around.

  3. I believe you’re wrong about 3. Just because we waste food in this country doesn’t mean people can afford to waste it in others. The US is the wealthiest country in the world (except maybe for the UAE, but they don’t have the resources, just petroleum and sand), people in this country feel entitled to many things. Have you lived outside of this huge bubble? Some people outside of the US cannot grow their own food even if they tried. I don’t know much about Monsanto or GMO’s, so this post was enlightening and I thank you for it, but research has to be done or shown to prove some of your points. 🙂

  4. Hi Loriel,

    This is a really good article. I had no idea that corn, soy, etc. had derivitives that you have to watch out for. Supposedly there is a GMO iphone app where you can scan any bar code and it will tell you if the food has GMOs in it. Do you know if it also checks for these derivitives? There definitely is a revolving door between the government and Biotech and people need to know about this. I will be sharing this will my readers, thanks.

    Susanne

    1. Hi Susanne,
      Thank you! Well that is great, I am so happy you learned something new and can now share with the people around you. I’m not sure if it does, but I would imagine that it would check for derivatives. Do you have the iPhone app?

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