Many people have been deceived into believing that Monsanto is a savior to mankind and that products like GMOs are necessary to feed a growing world. The following information was written and researched by Chris Kirckof and highlights four of the biggest myths about GMOs and their requisite, carcinogenic herbicides.
Myth 1: GMOs Are Just an Extension of Natural Breeding Techniques
Many GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is just an extension of natural breeding methods, and just as safe. Nothing could be further from the truth…on both counts. Genetic engineering is radically different from conventional breeding techniques used to improve a crop. For starters, it’s a laboratory-based technique allowing scientists to create a food that could never be created by nature.
There have been many occasions where the GE crop has been unexpectedly toxic or allergenic when the non-GE crop had no such issues. The reality is that scientists really don’t know what they’re doing in terms of what side effects are produced by DNA tampering. The effects are very unpredictable. Genetic engineers are just now starting to admit this. Ironically, many of the drawbacks of genetic engineering, including the fact that it’s imprecise, were not openly admitted until they came out with a new technique, called genome editing and using, for example, CRISPR technology, which is said to be far more precise than earlier methods.
Genetic engineering is also a very wasteful process. You create an enormous number of plants that are deformed, infertile, or otherwise not viable, so there’s a lot of waste. When it comes to the creation of GE animals there’s also the moral aspect of creating so many non-viable life forms.
Myth 2: GMO’s are safe
GMOs are proven “safe” is the oft-repeated refrain. But where is the actual evidence for this? And what’s the strength of that evidence? While few in number, longer-term animal feeding studies have been published over the past several years showing there’s definite cause for concern.
Liver and kidney toxicity and immune reactions tend to be the most prevalent. Digestive system, inflammation and fertility problems have also been seen. A major part of the problem is that safety studies conducted for regulatory purposes to gain market approval for a GE product are too short to show the damage that could occur from life-long consumption of the GE food. Some independent studies looking at lifetime consumption of GMOs have found rather dramatic health effects, whereas the safety studies used to promote GE foods as safe have all been short-term.
Making matters worse, carefully calculated barriers have been erected by the GE industry to prevent independent researchers from ever doing those kinds of studies in the first place. Anyone purchasing GE seeds must sign a contract that forbids them from supplying them to researchers who do research, and in most cases the companies refuse to provide seeds to independent researchers.
Myth 3: Hundreds of Millions of GMO Meals Served With No Adverse Effects
Another completely unscientific and dishonest claim used to justify the use of GMOs is that Americans have eaten hundreds of millions of GMO meals with no ill effects. But who’s actually checking? No one is assessing and keeping tabs of potential side effects. You can’t even make that connection since GE foods are not labeled.
Despite that lack of traceability, health statistics clearly show Americans have been getting increasingly sicker over the past few decades. Chronic diseases are definitely increasing, and children are increasingly coming down with diseases that in the past did not arise until much later in life. No one can say for sure that there’s a link to GMO consumption since they’re not labeled and therefore cannot be tracked, but you certainly cannot ignore the possibility of a link either.
Myth 4: Without GE Crops We Cannot Feed the World
Another common claim is that we need GMOs because without them we don’t stand a chance to feed our growing population. This is nothing but a flawed fantasy, and there are at least half a dozen truths that dispel it.
Part of the myth is that GE crops provide greater yield, but they don’t. There is no gene for high yield. The GMO genes inserted are for creating herbicide tolerance or to produce internal insecticide. There is no way of genetically engineering high yield into a crop as it is dependent on complex multi-gene interactions, which GE cannot deliver. However, conventional breeding methods are helpful for increasing yield as they can introduce the required multi-gene families into the crop. So a high-yielding GE crop is simply a crop that has been conventionally bred to produce high yields. Then the genetic engineers inserted an herbicide-tolerant gene or an insect-resistant gene into that plant.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) even admits that yield is dependent on the background genetics of the crop; it is not dependent on the genetic engineering. In some cases the GE crop ends up yielding less than its non-GE equivalent. GE plants courtesy of the herbicides used also destroy the microbial health of the soil. Ultimately, you need the microbes in the soil to nourish the plant, and it’s this symbiotic relationship that provides good yields.