You’re likely familiar with GMOs-genetically modified organisms that dominate the U.S. food supply. Labeling laws have been in the news lately and without any labeling, we the consumers are left to wonder what it is we’re eating and whether or not it’s safe.
The biotech industry will tell you GMOs are safe-but what about all the pesticides and herbicides? And what really happens to a gene that’s been manipulated in a lab? Here are some things you may not know about GMOs.
1. According to the Non-GMO Project “more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.”
2. More than 80 percent of all GMOs are designed for herbicide tolerance. This means their existence and survival relies on the use of chemicals known to damage human and environmental health. Roundup, Monsanto’s toxic glyphosate-based herbicide has increased 15 times since GMOs were first introduced in the 1990s.
3. While data is unclear due to the lack of labeling laws, experts estimate that 70-80 percent of all processed foods sold in the U.S. contain genetically modified ingredients.
4. GMOs are now found pollinating wild crops, which means that even if we restrict or outright ban the cultivation of GMOs, they may continue to proliferate and contaminate our food supply.
5. According to author and GMO expert Jeffrey Smith, independent research and reporting on GMOs is attacked and suppressed. “Scientists who discover problems with GMOs have been attacked, gagged, fired, threatened, and denied funding,” he says. “The journal Nature acknowledged that a ‘large block of scientists . . . denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way that is not helpful in advancing knowledge.’ “
6. GMOs aren’t just in your food. They’re in the personal care products you use, the supplements you take, the cotton sheets and towels you use, the clothes you wear and the diapers you use on your children.