The Argument in Favor of GMOs

GMOs Will End World Hunger!
GMOs Will Make Food Better!
GMOs Are Safe!
GMOs Promote Agrictultural Diversity!
GMOs Help Support the Herbicide Industry!
GMOs Don’t Need Testing!
GMOs Are Backed by the FDA!
GMOs Don’t Need Labeling!

Here’s the complete story about the wonders of GMOs…

GMOs Will End World Hunger!

When GMOs (genetically modified organisms) were first promoted back in the early nineties, it sounded like the world would soon be saved from famine.

Indeed, the original intent was positive: GMOs would make food better tasting, more nutritious, and longer lasting. Scientists and leaders of third world countries hoped that genetically engineered food would help feed the hungry and the world’s growing population with wonder products like Golden Rice.

GMOs Will Make Food Better!

Biotech companies proudly announced that genetically altered crops would produce much higher yields and the hungry could finally be fed. For regions of the planet where there was little rainfall, plants could be made drought resistant. Vitamins could be introduced, making genetically modified produce more nutritious. Crops would be made resilient to pests and could grow in spite of them.

Without GM foods, warned Dr. Alan McHughen, a biotechnologist at the University of Saskatchewan who spoke at a conference on agricultural biotechnology at Cornell University, the earth would not be able to feed the ever-growing billions of people who inhabit it.

(Never mind the 2008 study done by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, in which 400 experts worked for 4.5 years to explore the most efficient, productive, and sustainable strategy for feeding the world. Their conclusion, in no uncertain terms, was that countries must move away from chemical- and fossil[-fuel]-dependent agriculture, including genetically modified crops.)

GMOs Are Safe!

And the best part of the rainbow: there would be virtually no difference between GMO crops and the conventionally grown crops that came before them, and no negative impact to our environment.

As per the biotech industry, “scientists at nonprofit institutions have been working for more than two decades to genetically engineer seeds that could benefit farmers struggling with ever-pervasive dry spells and old and novel pests – including drought-tolerant cassava, insect-resistant cowpeas, fungus-resistant bananas, virus-resistant sweet potatoes and high-yielding pearl millet, which are just a few examples of genetically engineered foods that could improve the lives of the poor around the globe.”

Yet after two decades, NONE of these crops exist. Note the words “could improve?”

GMOs Promote Agricultural Biodiversity!

The same article goes on to claim that genetic engineering will enable farming to become “productive, diverse and sustainable.” Yet Monsanto is currently developing seeds with a built-in “terminator gene” that causes the seeds to be sterile after the first generation. Perhaps the definition of “sustain” refers more to Monsanto’s profits?

Certainly the spread of a sterile plant gene through the already observed cross-polllination that occurs between GMO plants and non-GMO plants would certainly not render our planet’s crops “diverse.”

Says Senator John Tester from Montana, who has farmed land that’s been in his family for more than 100 years, “our current industrial farm programs have weakened agricultural diversity and made it harder for family farms to stay afloat. The majority of farmers have off-farm jobs “just to make ends meet.”

“The rise in GMOs and who controls seeds is particularly disturbing,” Tester says. “A hundred years ago, we had crop diversity, because it was essential to profitability. Farmers knew a diverse rotation is good for insect and pest control, to help manage plant disease, to improve plant vigor, and soil health.” But over the last 100 years, he says, “We’ve seen far less diversity in crop rotations, as well as in marketing our crops, and in the U.S. farm programs themselves.”

Tester went on to say, “if you look at the last 50 years of farm programs, you’d be hard-pressed to say they have encouraged diversity, because payments go to a select few crops. You’d also be hard-pressed to say they have saved rural America or promoted family farm agriculture. With GMOs, farmers don’t control their farms, multi-national agribusiness does.”

The full article can be read here.

GMOs Help Support the Herbicide Industry!

It’s true: over 80 percent of all genetically engineered crops in the U.S. and around the world are designed to do one thing: withstand large applications of herbicides (which are made by the same company who’s making the seeds that withstand herbicides). Yet the weeds keep becoming resistant, after which larger / stronger volumes of herbicides are required.

According to the 2010 Agricultural Chemical Use Report released in May 2011 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), use of the herbicide glyphosate (the key ingredient in Monsanto’s “RoundUp” herbicide which is directly associated with genetically engineered crops), has dramatically increased over the last several years.

Contrary to common claims from chemical manufacturers and proponents of GMO technology that the proliferation of herbicide tolerant GMO crops would lower pesticide use, the data shows that overall use of pesticides has remained relatively steady (even more toxic chemicals such as atrazine has not declined), and glyphosate (RoundUp) use has skyrocketed to more than double the amount used just five years ago.

Pity the underground aquifer where all these toxic herbicide residues eventually wind up…

According to Farm Industry News, the health of the top six crop “protection” companies (aka GMO manufacturers) “may depend on new blockbuster chemicals to handle evolving weed and insect challenges.” Which means shareholders like it when weeds become resistant to their herbicides… it’s a new product development opportunity.

GMOs Don’t Need Testing!

Human testing has only recently begun on GMOs — but only in other countries. The handful of independent safety tests conducted in the U.S. never once proved the safety of GMO food for human consumption. Meanwhile nearly every independent animal feeding study on GMO food shows adverse effects ranging from birth defects, still births, and developmental growth, t0 damaged immune systems, damaged organs, and increased cancer and death rates.

No surprise, biotechnology companies call these studies “propaganda” or “faulty reasoning.”  Science Direct magazine explains why here.

(Though that doesn’t stop them from creating their own propaganda in the form of countless websites with names like “Alliance for Abundant Food and Energy” — backed by Monsanto and DuPont to promote the use of their GMO corn as biofuel — since global awareness about the dangers of GMO is reducing worldwide demand for any other uses of their GMO corn).

GMOs Are Backed by the FDA!

So despite the overwhelming evidence, despite scientists warning the FDA over a decade ago, and demanding adequate safety testing procedures, the FDA still does not regulate or control GMOs, nor do they require GMO manufacturers to do so, because they’ve deemed the genetically engineered food to be “substantially equivalent” to naturally grown food.

In fact they’re so confident about GMOs, they’ve granted Monsanto permission to do their own environmental impact studies.

GMOs Don’t Need Labeling!

While top government officials continue to debate the issue and allow genetically modified crops to be grown for both human and animal consumption, unknowing American consumers purchase and eat GMOs, because the FDA won’t allow GMOs to be labeled.

Apparently when labeling was allowed in the European Union, GMO product sales plummeted. It seems our profit-driven corporate model doesn’t allow consumers to know the truth here in the United States.

GMOs Don’t Require Consumer Awareness!

Sadly, the average American consumer has no idea that any of this is taking place. Few consumers have knowledge about genetic engineering or its use in agriculture (source: Brown & Ping, Journal of the American Dietetic Association103, 208-214).

Surveys by the International Food Information Council have shown that Americans are sadly in the dark about what GMOs are; the latest survey records found that only 26% of Americans had any idea they were eating GMOs almost all of the time.

GMOs Fuel Employment and Cars!

In trying to come up with an argument in favor of GMOs, here are the best two I can think of:

1.) If consumers are aware of the risks of GMOs, product demand will slip even further and people employed by the top GMO companies (Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer, Dow, Syngenta and BASF) could potentially lose their jobs.

2.) GMO corn is being made into biofuel (since the rest of the world wants nothing to do with GMO corn, the supply currently outweighs demand), and could potentially reduce our dependence on oil (just be sure to ignore all the studies that have already proven this corn-based ethanol is an inefficient and highly costly option).

Additional Reading:

Although the following article is now over a decade old, it’s an interesting insight into the initial “pro and con” thinking about GMOs, and how solutions for problems already being seen were being explored. I wish the author was around today to give us an updated perspective, however she passed away in 2004 at the age of 49.

Here is a more moderated stance on the use of GMOs (comparing it to the benefits of nuclear energy, prior to the Japan meltdown of course…):

Here’s a great article that looks openly at both the pros and the cons of genetic engineering:

And another outstanding article, “Gene Altered Food – A Case Against Panic:”

©, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific links back to the original content.

9 thoughts on “The Argument in Favor of GMOs

  1. I am so glad to have found your site – I think it is very thorough and I see your passion. Monsanto worries me more than anything in our country as I see our freedoms evaporating. America is not going to be America anymore, I’m afraid. How scary for our children and g-children! Keep up the good work. I will be directing people to your site…

  2. The pesticide-ready GMOs are particularly insane. They are modified with a gene FROM THE WEED THAT’S ALREADY RESISTANT TO THE PESTICIDE!!!! So if you splice that gene into your corn, you get to spray it with the pesticide THE WEED IS ALSO RESISTANT TO. Because that’s where you got the resistant gene from. ???!!!???

    But hey, at least you get to eat pesticide-soaked corn!

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