7 Things You Need to Know about GMOs The new GMO OMG documentary aims to disclose what labels try to hide.
By Leah Zerbe
Eating GMO corn, soy, and canola is like being involved in a scientific experiment.
The average person may not know what the term GMO means but is
certainly eating GMOs, and probably at every meal. Genetically modified
organisms (GMOs) are created when scientists take DNA from one species
and insert it into another in a way that would never occur naturally.
It’s a complicated process, but award-winning filmmaker Jeremy Seibert
aims to explain how chemical companies have quietly overtaken our food
system, flooding it with unlabeled GMO ingredients, in the new GMO OMG
documentary. It debuts this week at the Yale Environmental Film Festival.
Here are 7 takeaway messages from the film:#1. GMOs are everywhere.
Almost all of the corn, soy, cotton, canola, and sugar beets grown in
this country are genetically engineered to either produce a pesticide
within the plant or survive being drenched in weed-killing chemicals.
(Usually the weed killers would kill the plant, but by tinkering with
the plant’s natural DNA and inserting foreign genes, plants can
withstand chemicals like Roundup.)
About 165 million American acres have been planted with GMO crops
that likely wind up in everything from 80 percent of the processed food
on store shelves to the sweetener you add to your morning coffee. You
wouldn’t know it, though, because in America GMOs aren’t labeled. (The
only certain exception is organic foods; organic standards ban the use
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GMO OMG Trailer from Compeller Pictures on Vimeo.#2. America’s keeping secrets.
China, Russia, and about 60 other countries require labeling if a food
contains GMO ingredients. Despite efforts on state and federal levels to
require labeling in the U.S., at present GMOs do not have to be labeled
here. And that leaves most U.S. consumers in the dark.
During the 2012 election, the megacorporations that produce both the
GMO seeds and the chemicals used on GMO crops spent $45 million to
defeat a labeling law in California. If GMOs are so safe, as the
corporations say they are, then what’s there to hide?#3. GMOs have never been properly tested for long-term health impacts.
If GMO products are allowed on store shelves, they must be safe, right? Not the case.
The studies used for government approval of GMO crops are conducted
by the very same corporations that create the seeds. Can you say
conflict of interest? These studies generally are short-term and aren’t
reviewed by other scientists. The raw data used for approval generally
isn’t shared with the public. There are no independent, long-term
studies investigating how this new genetic experiment affects human
health, although some emerging research suggests the genetically altered
foods could cause organ damage and food allergies.#4. Chemical companies control what’s on your plate.
Three corporationsMonsanto, Dupont, and Syngentacontrol 53 percent of
the proprietary seed market. They also create the chemicals used on the
seeds, a huge moneymaker. Since their biotech seeds are used to grow
food for most of the cows, chickens, and pigs in the U.S., these
corporations control most of the food Americans eat.#5. GMO technology can’t outsmart nature.
Using billions of gallons of pesticides a year has created “superbugs”
and “superweeds,” pests and plants that have outsmarted GMO technology.
(The same type of thing happens when we overuse antibiotics;
hard-to-kill superbug infections occur.) In short, a technology that
promised to help farmers is now causing never-before-seen pest problems,
and ones that call for even greater chemical use. There are now more
than 500 species of bugs resistant to pesticides, and global pesticide
use has increased from 200 million pounds in 1945 to 5.1 billion pounds
today.#6. GMOs aren’t necessary to feed the world.
While biotech companies are making a fortune selling the GMO
seed-chemical package, they’re focused on greenwashing the technology as
the only possible means to feed the world. That theory’s been debunked
by numerous studies and reports, including ones from the United Nations.
The Rodale Institute’s 30-year farming systems trial found that while
GMO crops may produce increased yields during the first few years under
perfect conditions, organic methods produce similar yields over the long
haul. In fact, during years of drought, organic outperformed chemical
In actuality, GMOs threaten food security. As more farmers turn to
the same variety of seed to grow, other traditional (also called
“heirloom” or “heritage”) seeds are going extinct. These seeds hold the
genetic diversity that could offer traits to ward off diseases and
better adapt to climate change in the future.#7. Haiti would rather burn GMOs than plant them.
Did you know Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, chose
to burn tons of GMO seeds donated by Monsanto after the earthquake
rather than plant them for food? To the Haitians, the GMO seeds were a
threat to their very existence as farmers. GMO seeds are patented, so
farmers aren’t allowed to save seed from their harvest to replant the
next year, something that’s been the cornerstone of farming for
centuries. Once you buy into the GMO way of farming, you’re bound to buy
the chemicals and the seeds every year. In the GMO OMG
documentary, farmers called it a “capitalistic enterprise,” adding that
Monsanto doesn’t protect the environment, improve the quality of food,
or protect life.
Eating organic is the best way to avoid GMOs because the
certification makes it illegal to use GMO seeds or chemical pesticides.
For more ways to keep GMOs off the menu at your house, read How to Avoid GMOs.
Thanks to: http://2012spiritinaction.wordpress.com