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Why do some people say or think GMOs are bad?

Because for some people and groups, misinformation pays.

Did you know that a large portion of the negative information about GMOs that’s stated as fact and spread widely on social media is paid for by groups who stand to directly benefit from positioning their own goods as the “healthy,” or “earth friendly,” better, alternative choice to GMOs? Just as they want you to believe that GMO foods or crops are less healthy, less beneficial for the earth and have related, undisclosed costs both literally and figuratively, we think it’s important that people are provided with accurate information about the contribution GMOs make and the benefits of the technology behind GMOs.

So what are the GMO facts?


It is important to remember that genetically modified crops are nutritionally equivalent to non-genetically modified foods, unless the nutritional content has been intentionally changed, like in high oleic soybeans. If a crop has been nutritionally enhanced, that specific characteristic will be highlighted on the product label. And the health and safety consensus of GMOs is firmly established by scientific authorities around the world.

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Wide usage and a better alternative:

Between 80 to 90 percent of cheese in the U.S. is made using chymosin that is generated by genetically engineered bacteria. Chymosin is a key enzyme in rennet, the substance that causes milk to coagulate and turn into hard cheese.

Until the 1990’s rennet was primarily harvested from the fourth stomach of young ruminant animals, often calves slaughtered for veal. As demand for cheese increased over time, supply could not keep up with demand to meet the need with traditional animal-produced rennet. Scientists were able to fill the void by transferring the chymosin gene into bacteria that could generate large quantities of chymosin, which is a purer, more consistent product than that derived from animal sources, not to mention more environmentally- and animal-friendly.

During the process of creating the chymosin enzyme, called fermentation-produced chymosin, the genetically engineered bacteria is killed as the enzyme is isolated. Therefore, although genetically engineered bacteria are used as a processing aid to produce chymosin, there are no GMOs in your cheese.

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About “Non-GMOs:”

Labeling something non-GMO does not necessarily mean that there is or ever was a GMO variant of that food or product.

  • There are no GMOs in milk, so there’s no such thing as non-GMO yogurt or any other dairy product
  • There are no GMO nuts on the market and to claim otherwise is, well, nuts
  • There is no GMO popcorn and none available to even grow for use as popcorn
  • There is no GMO wheat on the market so it’s impossible for there to be GMO bread, pasta, vodka, or any other product made or derived from wheat

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Our Global Environment:

Did you know that genetically modified crops can actually reduce the environmental impact of farming? And that GMOs can have other environmental benefits as well, such as helping to reduce food waste and improve air quality?

By making targeted improvements to crops through genetic engineering, farmers can raise more food for a growing world population while reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment.

Whether it is less time spent on a tractor tilling soil, which helps to reduce carbon emissions, or applying fewer insecticides, GMOs help farmers to reduce their environmental footprint in many ways. Additionally, genetically modified crops enable farmers to grow more crops using less land, while applying fewer chemicals, conserving water and energy allowing farmers to be more productive and efficient.

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Crops and field

Feeding at risk populations:

Hunger and undernourishment are an unfortunate reality for approximately 795 million people around the world. Researchers can help to meet these nutritional needs by producing genetically engineered staple crops with increased amounts of essential vitamins and minerals.

Alleviating Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a leading cause of acquired blindness in the developing world. Each year up to 500,000 children become blind because of VAD, and approximately half of those children will die within one year of going blind.

Rice is a staple food for more than half of the world’s population and accounts for between 30-72% of the energy intake across Asia alone.  Genetically modified “Golden Rice,” under development at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), is a nutritionally enhanced crop that could help to alleviate VAD.  Golden Rice is genetically engineered to provide an increased amount of beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.  One serving of Golden Rice could provide half the required daily intake of pro-vitamin A for a one to three year old child.

Addressing Micronutrient Deficiencies

Iron and zinc deficiencies are prevalent throughout developing nations, significantly impairing individual’s physical health and community economic well-being. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) iron deficiency affects more people globally than any other condition.  Iron deficiency can negatively affect an individual’s physical and cognitive development, as well as reduce economic progress in an impacted community through decreased work output.

Another key mineral, zinc, is required for cellular development, protein synthesis and a healthy immune system.  A lack of zinc can result in impaired growth and severely weakened immune defense.  The WHO estimates that about one-third of the global population is affected by zinc deficiency.

Sorghum is an important staple food, like rice, that can be nutritionally improved to address iron, zinc and Vitamin A deficiencies.  Sorghum, which originated in Africa, is a principal food for 300 million people on the continent, and approximately 70 percent of all sorghum globally is grown in Africa.

Through the Africa Biofortified Sorghum Project (ABS), an international public-private partnership, researchers have demonstrated that biotechnology can be used to enhance the bioavailability of iron and zinc, increase the amount and stability of pro vitamin A (such as beta- Carotene), and improve the protein digestibility of sorghum.

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Keeping food costs down:

Typically, GM crops are the more efficient crops, and that means their price and costs as ingredients are less than non-GMOs.

Genetically modified crops have helped to increase the supply of key commodity crops, so the rise in food prices is lower than the case if genetically modified crops did not exist.

In general terms, it is additionally important to recognize that the real price of food and feed products has fallen consistently during the last 50 years. This is the result, in part, of the enormous improvements in productivity by farmers. These productivity improvements have risen from the adoption of new technologies and techniques, like GMOs.


Some GMOs are even saving lives. Since the 1980’s genetic engineering has been used to develop human insulin. Currently, about five million Americans use genetically modified insulin, and without GMOs, the demand for insulin would not be met.

Researchers are also studying the use of monoclonal antibodies produced in GMO tobacco plants as a potential drug treatment to combat Ebola. In fact, vaccines derived from GMO techniques are already preventing a range of diseases including hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio. Other GMO vaccines are under development for which non-GMO methods have been ineffective including vaccines to fight cholera, malaria and other diseases.

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Myths vs Facts

There is so much more to know, so before you believe the non-GMO label and take their claims at face value, get to know GMOs and decide for yourself. Learn more at