Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Facts about GMO’s

In just about every business sector, technology is a positive thing. Advances in technology have
made us more efficient and enhanced our quality of life. When it comes to agriculture, technology
is seen as a negative by some consumers. I believe technology is a positive thing for farmers,
consumers and our planet.

A technology that has received lots of attention lately is GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) seeds/
plants. The term sounds a little scary and has people wondering how GMO’s impact food quality
and safety. On our farm, we prefer using hybrid seeds with special traits such as resistance to some
pests and resistance to drought. We use Roundup Ready corn which means we can apply Roundup herbicide to control weeds while allowing the plant to thrive. The goal of hybrid and GMO seeds is to select desirable traits that will produce a better quality product.

Me in our field of Sudan Grass
I’m not an expert when it comes to GMO’s, so I turned to farmers and other professionals who are.
The following blogs and websites provide factual information about GMO’s. Just in case you don’t
have time to read them all, I’ve included a quote from each article.

Best Food Facts website
Frequently Asked Questions – GMO’s
“Biotech products are far safer than other methods that are used to introduce traits and value
into crop products. We have been modifying crops for about 10,000 years. And a lot of the older
technology is not subject to regulatory review because it is “generally regarded as safe”, or GRAS.
An example of this is RoundUp Ready soybeans (ones that can tolerate pesticides and herbicides).
Before being made available to the public, they were subject to 1,800 tests.”

What Effect do GMOs have on Human Health?
“Foods that have been genetically modified undergo testing for safety, health and nutrient value. The
nutritional value of GMO foods is tested and compared against non-GMO foods. Numerous studies
have shown no nutritional differences between commercially available GMO and non-GMO foods. In
fact, genetic modification can actually improve the nutritional content of some foods”

9 GM Crops Grown Commercially in the United States
You may find it surprising to know there are only nine GM crops commercially available in the United States.

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers website
It’s Been Said: GMOs are bad for human health
“Farmers’ yields continue to increase while the amount of land used continues to be the same or
even decrease. Many of our farmers plant biotech seeds for reasons such as protecting their crops
from adverse weather and pest and disease pressures. Additionally, with the use of biotech seeds,
pesticide use has been reduced, which is better for the environment.”

Common Sense Agriculture’s Blog
Labeling, GMOs, GMEs, and COOL
“All biological organisms, plants, animals, bacteria, etc., have been modified, or changed, since
the beginning of time. In some cases it has been through natural processes, outside of the direct
influence of man. In other instances, man has directly modified through selection. For example,
keeping wheat that had more grains per head, grass that could tolerate drought, cattle that gain
weight quicker or more efficiently are all manners in which man has modified organisms.”

Terry Etherton Blog on Biotechnology
Why Genetically Modified Crops?
“GM is a method to introduce new genes that can improve crop performance. In the last 14 years,
both GM HT (herbicide tolerance) and insect resistance have been enthusiastically adopted by
farmers in the USA, Argentina, Brazil, India and China. The outcomes have broadly been positive;
easier weed control, better insect control with reduced insecticide applications, increased carbon
sequestration by low till agriculture, and increased farm incomes.”

Common Ground – Conversations about Farming and Food website
GMO Foods
Quote: “Every plant improved through the use of food biotechnology is examined by the FDA
and EPA for potential health risks. Tests are done on plants before entering the food and animal
feed supply. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that current foods containing biotech
ingredients have passed human health risk assessments. In addition, the WHO says no effects on
human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of biotech foods.”

Weighing in on the Safety of GMO Foods
Quote: “Seeds that have been altered genetically to be pest-resistant or drought-resistant or
otherwise more resilient help us to grow better crops with less water and less chemicals. It’s also
important to note that the process of genetically altering seeds is not very different from plant
breeding that has been going on for centuries.”

I feel very comfortable consuming products produced from GMO seeds and don’t hesitate to feed
these products to my family. I’m grateful for scientists who have worked hard to create this valuable
technology that allows farmers to be more efficient, consumers to benefit from quality foods they
desire and the environment to thrive because it takes fewer natural resources to produce the same
crop.

7 comments:

  1. Hi Brenda! Thanks for featuring Best Food Facts - we work with over 100 University-based food experts from around the country to get the facts on today's food and food system. Should you ever have a question, please let us know and we'll get an expert to respond!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Roxi. I love the Best Food Facts website and refer to it often. Thank you for providing a valuable resource with factual information from experts!

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  2. I'm not here to pose as a dissident as I have seen both sides of the coin, but I will present what bothers me. First is that we are talking monsanto and numerous allegations of lawsuits against hardworking farmers and seed growers who were sued based on the fact their plants pollinated with monsantos and therefore are monsanto's property. The fact they have a PATENT on a seed, and how some GMO was in fact injected with ecoli and other virii as seen here and quoted troubles me deeply.

    "Practically all genetically engineered crops contain genetic material from viruses. Research has shown that these virus genes may combine with genes from infecting viruses. The serious thing is that experimental evidence indicates the new viruses created in this way may be more infectious, may cause more serious diseases, and may have a tendency to cross species borders.

    There is not enough knowledge to assess the risk for the emergence of new virus diseases from genetically engineered crops."

    http://www.saynotogmos.org/virus_hazard.htm

    It was also presented by my biology teacher who is logical and yet is very worried about the biotech industry.

    Do I think it's possible to avoid GMO in the states? Honestly no as it's spread too far and wide, but I feel developing a "if you can't beat them join them" philosophy or only looking at the bright side without weighing the potential cons is also not the solution.

    I realize the cost benefit ratio, I just wish you would also look at the unknowns as well. That said I am all for non organic dairy practicing cleaner and more humane practices. If you are not apologetic about GMOs it means you believe in them.

    Due to the ethics involved with GMO (it's not just about the hardiness of one's crops after all) I will agree to disagree, and if your SCC counts are well below 200,000 like my favorite non organic Producers Dairy then more power to you.

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    Replies
    1. This technology is highly tested and regulated. The fear created around GMO’s is speculative, not science-based proof. GMO’s are safe. This technology is a positive for society and I’m not afraid of it. The fact is the U.S. has an outstanding record of producing safe and quality food.

      It’s proven that GMO’s and hybrid allows farmers to use less land, fewer pesticides and herbicides, and less water to produce the same amount of food. If not for this technology improving agriculture production practices, we would need more land, more chemicals and more resources to produce food. How do you suggest we feed a growing population and produce biofuel to meet the needs of consumers today and in the future?

      Please explain your statement, “I am all for non organic dairy practicing cleaner and more humane practices”. What specific practices are you referring to?

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  3. I tend to think with your answers that this blog site is run by Monsanto, as it's far too full of lies and half-truths. The truth is stated quite clearly by Dr. Huber. Dr. Huber is an expert pathologist who has been studying the dangerous effects of Glyphosate that's in Roundup for 20 years.

    Roundup Ready GMO crops do NOT take less water, the fact is, it takes twice as much water to grow soybeans than NON-gmo soy.

    Glyphosate has been studied in many lab tests in Australia, France, Scotland, and in the U.S. by Dr. Huber. It kills ALL beneficial organisms in the soil and it stays in the soil for years, it is also systemic in the plants, meaning it can't be washed off. The animals eat it and humans eat it. It causes sterilization in animals and is causing cattle to have miscarriages by the thousands. Rats who are fed GMO plants develop huge tumors and by the 2nd generation they are completely sterile and cannot procreate.

    Last year 187,000,000 lbs of Roundup was poured all over our soil. Is this really what we want for our children? In the studies the rats all developed irradicate, restlessness, the same symptoms that children with autism have. Why do you think that autism and ADHD has grown so prevalent??? It's because of Roundup and GMO foods that are poisoning our children and all of our health. Do some research - and maybe you should think about quitting your work for Monsanto.

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  4. You said GMO foods go through testing. That isn't true at all. They have not been tested by anyone at Monsanto or our FDA. Those scientists who have the courage to test are not allowed to publish the true results and are terribly persecuted for speaking the truth. They lose their jobs and are black-balled.

    If Monsanto is so proud of their product, they should want it to be labeled. But they don't, because the truth is getting out there and more and more people are doing research on it and finding out what's really happening.

    It was just announced in the news that tens of thousands of farm workers in south america are dying of kidney failure. I wouldn't be surprised if those plantations use Roundup and use Glyphosate, because it's proven to cause internal damage.

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  5. Stacey, My husband and I have a dairy farm, we don’t work for Monsanto. I write this blog based on my experiences on our farm. We grow Roundup Ready corn to feed our dairy cows and have not experienced any of the negative impacts you describe.

    Regarding water usage, this year we planted some Roundup Ready corn with traits and some non-traited corn. With the drought conditions we experienced this season, the traited Roundup Ready corn grew taller and developed much better than the non-traited corn. The bottom line is the hybrid Roundup Ready seeds produced better with less water.

    You make claims linking Roundup and GMO foods to autism, ADHD, kidney failure and a host of other human and animal health issues. I realize these theories exist, but there is not widely accepted, peer-reviewed, science-based evidence linking Roundup and GMO foods to any of these problems.

    Crops with biotechnology traits are safe for human and animal consumption. Countless studies have proven the value of biotech seeds. Crops with biotech traits go through an extensive research process with heavy review by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before a seed company can begin sale of a product with a new biotechnology trait.

    Technology is not evil. Improvements made in modern agriculture allow farmers to use fewer resources, less water and fewer chemicals today. I encourage you to continue examining hybrid and GMO seeds to learn of their benefits.

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Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment! I’m opening the doors of our farm to share with you and enjoy engaging in discussion. Please be respectful in your comments. I reserve the right to remove posts that include name calling, slander, and vulgar language or contain links to websites that assault animal agriculture.

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