Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Because foods containing GMOs don't need to be labeled as such here in the US, choosing organic products is one of the only ways to ensure that you and your family aren't eating foods produced with the use of GMOs.
What's the danger?
Although the biotech industry would like us all to believe that genetically modified (also called "genetically-engineered (GE)") crops are safe to eat, the jury is still out. This is why in Australia, Japan and all the countries of the European Union, there are restrictions and bans on the production of GMOs. These countries' governments don't consider the safety of GMOs to be proven.
Several experimental genetically engineered crops have been shown to cause allergic reactions, raising concerns that the introduction of new DNA that happens in genetic engineering may be causing increased allergenicity.
One recent study even found that pesticides engineered into corn plants can survive the digestive process and show up in the umbilical cord blood of pregnant women, raising questions about the toxicity of this GMO to fetuses. Not only are there potential health risks from eating GMOs, there are environmental impacts and health risks from the production of GMOs. The biggest impact comes from herbicide use, which increased 383 million pounds in the first 13 years of widespread GMO cultivation.
These pesticides impact both the environment and human health. As weeds and insect pests adapt and evolve and learn to evolutionarily outsmart the pesticides used with or in GE crops, farmers are using more toxic pesticides to combat these pests.
The threat to organic.
GE crops also create risk for organic producers, because pollen drift can contaminate organic fields with DNA from GE crops. Right now there is no system in place to prevent this contamination or compensate organic farmers for the losses they face when their crops are contaminated.
GMO foods should be labeled.
According to the USDA, 93% of soybeans and 86% of corn planted in the US in 2010 were GE. This means the majority of non-organic processed foods on the grocery store shelf that contain either corn or soy products contain GMOs.
We think all GMO foods that are already in our markets should at least be labeled as such, so that shoppers like you can make informed choices about eating these foods.
Right now a major battle for the future of our food and our democracy is playing out in California as everyday Californians are fighting to pass Prop 37 to label genetically engineered foods. In the past 18 months, a powerful grassroots movement of mothers, grandmothers, farmers, activists and small companies have stood up to the most powerful pesticide and biotech companies on the planet.
It hasn't been easy. It's taken a lot of hard work and some significant resources. Already the Califronia Right to Know campaign has raised more than $5 million dollars! This is a drop in the bucket compared to the chemical and junk food companies who have raised over $36 million dollars, but we wanted to take a moment to thank those small businesses and organizations who are leading the fight for GMO labeling in California.
Website information: Thanks to Stoneyfield Farms and California Prop 37. For more information go to www.stonyfield.com/why-organic/genetically-modified-organisms-gmos.