GMOs Globally

By • April 20, 2018

Sustainability is a major food trend this year – it continues to enter our conversations, whether we’re talking about reducing food waste and plastic use or producing food in more earth conscious ways. People are asking more questions than ever before about the origins of food and its impact – not only on themselves but also on the world around them. 

Yet, the environmental benefits of GMOs and how they check many boxes for sustainability has largely been missing from these conversations. Contrary to misconceptions, GMOs DO help protect the environment in more ways than most think.

To help spread the word about the environmental benefits of GMOs and encourage people to #RethinkEarthConscious foods, we compiled a few big (well, billboard size) shareable suggestions based on common environmental questions asked on our site.

1. How are GMOs impacting the environment?

Despite widespread misconception, GMOs positively impact the environment. In fact, they are one of the best tools farmers have to protect our water, air, land and even limit the impact of climate change. GMOs are one of several plant-breeding technologies that allow farmers to grow more food using fewer resources, like pesticides and land. In the last 20 years, GMOs have reduced pesticide applications by more than 8% and increased crop yields by 22%.

GMOs also have other environmental benefits, such as reducing food waste, improving our soil, air and water quality.

2. What’s the deal with food waste and needing GMOs to help feed the world?

Producing enough food to meet the needs of a growing global population, while limiting our impact on the environment, is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges of our time.

Globally, around one-third of food produced is lost or wasted (approximately 2.9 trillion pounds per year), according to the United Nations. Food losses affects the environment, food security, food quality and safety, and economic development.

GMOs help farmers minimize these losses.

In developing countries, where resources to effectively control weeds and insects are often limited, GM traits, such as insect resistance and herbicide tolerance, have increased yield substantially.  GM traits can also help farmers produce crops that are more resistant to extreme weather conditions.

3. Do GMOs contaminate the soil?

Genetically modified crops break down exactly the same way as non-GMO crops and actually improve soil health. Again, over the last 20 years GMOs have reduced pesticides applications by 8% and herbicide-tolerant GMO crops enable farmers to till — or turn over and break up the soil — less often. This has increased nutrient-rich organic matter up to 1,800 pounds per acre, per year. Less tilling also means increased soil moisture, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and soil erosion.

4. What is the most beneficial impact of GMOs?

Put simply, GMOs have given farmers the ability to do more with less. They are also helping us solve major food challenges like citrus-greening disease, which is threatening an estimated 80% Florida’s citrus groves, and banana wilt virus in East Africa. Solving these issues on the farms where they start means local farmers can continue to make a living and provide enough orange juice and bananas to fill breakfast tables across the world.

So, the next time you’re engaging in conversations about sustainable foods – remember that GMOs are one tool in the modern farmer’s tool box that can benefit us all and the environment in many ways.

QAfter the Flavr-Savr debacle in the US, will there ever be a GMO tomato, even if it is CRISPR-based and non-regulated by USDA's BRS?

After the Flavr-Savr debacle in the US, will there ever be a GMO tomato, even if it is CRISPR-based and non-regulated by USDA's BRS?

QAfter the Flavr-Savr debacle in the US, will there ever be a GMO tomato, even if it is CRISPR-based and non-regulated by USDA's BRS?

After the Flavr-Savr debacle in the US, will there ever be a GMO tomato, even if it is CRISPR-based and non-regulated by USDA's BRS?

By • April 13, 2018

The following is an excerpt of an article at the Genetic Literacy Project that explains how many of the foods we eat have been modified and changed. 

Opponents of GMOs have been unceasing in their campaign to vilify genetically modified foods by describing them as “Frankenfoods,” thus implying they are not natural and are potentially harmful.

“The practice of introducing new DNA and chemicals to seeds or animals (Aqua Advantage has developed a GMO fish) is similar to how Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein created his monster–—through piecing together lots of different organisms,” wrote the Organic Authority on its website—a common allusion in the anti-GMO world. “We all know what happened when the monster turned on Frankenstein, and many critics of genetic engineering have likened the inevitable backlash of GMO technology to the destruction and murderous rampage of Frankenstein’s monster.”

Many anti-GMO articles that warn of the dangers GM crops are often accompanied by an image of a [tomato]  fruit or vegetable with syringes sticking out of them. Very often it is a fruit or vegetable for which there is no current GM equivalent such as a tomato. This depiction is used to reinforce the notion that GM foods are created in laboratories and not by nature and therefore are dangerous to consume.

With the constant barrage of scare-based imagery, it is not surprising that there is widespread public suspicion that GMOs are dangerous to human health. But there is little controversy surrounding GMOs within the scientific community with 88 percent of the members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science believing GMOs are “generally safe.” The safety of GMOs were once again reinforced by the May 2016 report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which concluded, there was “reasonable evidence that animals were not harmed by eating food derived from genetically engineered crops”, and epidemiological data indicated there was no increase in cancer or other health related problems associated with these crops entering our food supply.

To read the rest of this article, please visit the Genetic Literacy Project website

By • April 13, 2018

The following is a video from the Cornell Alliance for Science featuring researcher Dr. Ochieng of the University of Nairobi (Kenya) explaining what a GMO is, and what it isn't. 

 

By • April 12, 2018

The following is an excerpt of an article in California Ag Today discussing way in which GMOs can help to prevent hunger and starvation in developing countries. 

Needed GMO technology to help citizens in Third World countries is being thwarted by activist groups in First World countries who are anti-GMO, said Alison Van Eenennaam, a UCANR Cooperative Extension Specialist focused on Animal Genomics at UC Davis.

“If the African people choose to use this to develop better bananas, they should have the right to use that and not be dictated to by activist groups in the First World promoting fear around this technology," she said.

GMO technology could greatly benefit those in the developing world, especially those who struggle with starvation on a daily basis.

To read the entire article, please visit the California Ag Today website

By • April 05, 2018

The following is an excerpt of an opinion piece from CropLife Australia's Matthew Cossey in the Weekly Times about barriers to acceptance of GMOs. 

Humanity has been benefiting from plant science innovations since the Egyptians first bred edible corn more than 2000 years ago.

Genetically modified crops are simply the next natural step in plant breeding. Unfortunately, it is non-scientific regulations, in conjunction with some very successful and fear campaigns by activist groups, that have impeded the full benefits of these innovations being delivered to farmers and the community.

In the early 1990s, the impending introduction of GM crops prompted countries to create corresponding regulatory systems. Governments believed that strong independent and scientifically robust regulatory frameworks would ensure community confidence in the safety of GM products.

This would have been the case if the world was rational and evidence-based, and where misleading fearmongering didn’t prevail.

To read the entire piece, please visit the Weekly Times

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PRESENTATION: Get to Know GMOs

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