Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) promised to deliver stronger crop yields, end world hunger and promote agriculture diversity. The GMO community has failed on all three fronts and people are beginning to take notice. Yet GMOs aren’t just inefficient; they’re dangerous.
Here are five reasons GMOs do more harm than good:
1. Genetic engineered food is cancerous: It turns out GM crops aren’t just cancerous because they are clothed in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Herbicide. GM foods are cancerous by their very nature. In a case study, rats were fed genetically modified potatoes engineered to produce their own insecticide. The rats developed precancerous cell growth in their digestive tract, which inhibited the development of their brains, livers and testicles. The cause was not insecticide but most likely the process of genetic engineering. Most GMOs on the market have not been subjected to the extensive testing protocol.
2. GM plants are inherently toxic and less nutritious than non-GM plants: The process of genetic engineering consists of taking a trait in one organism and inserting it into another organism that do not naturally interbreed. In order for the transgene to function, scientists must insert the desired trait into an active region of the host’s DNA. The transgene location might cause “the food derived from the plant to have higher levels of toxins than normal, or lower levels of a significant nutrient.”
3. Genetic engineering breeds deadly viruses: Virus resistant GM crops are designed to bolster a plants immune system against a single virus. While the plant maybe able to keep one virus at bay, the presence of viral transgenes and proteins in the GM crop actually increases the likelihood for other viruses infecting the plant. By recombining with the trans gene, the new virus may have an evolutionary advantage. Whenever these plants are consumed be people, they can cause ill health and sometimes death.
4. Pregnant mothers who consume GM crops may endanger offspring: Embryo development can be adversely affected by changes in a mother’s diet. A pregnant mother’s diet can alter gene expression in children, which is then passed down the generations. GM crops contain substances that impact normal fetus development, which don’t just effect the baby, but future generations.(1)
5. Children are more susceptible to GM related health problems than adults: Children can reactor much more violently to toxins than adults. This is because their organs and immune system have yet to fully develop. In fact, children are three to four time more prone to allergies than adults, and are at the highest risk of death from food allergy. According to the UK Royal Society, “genetic modification could lead to unpredicted harmful changes in the nutritional state of foods” and recommended that potential health effects of GM foods be rigorously researched before being fed to pregnant or breast-feeding women and babies. Epidemiologist Eric Brunner said that “small changes to the nutritional content might have effects on infant bowel function.”(1)
GMOs gamble with both our health and environment. Rather than provide a solution to a small set of problems, GMOs create more problems than they solve. Don’t swallow the GMO myth.
(1) Smith, Jeffery, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods. Fairfield: Yes!Books, 2007. Print.