If you've been paying attention to the world around you over the last few years, you've probably heard quite a bit about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). There's a huge push to try to ban GMOs in our food and/or require the use of GMO labels on all food products. Unfortunately this push is filled with a ton of anti-science. I'm bringing this up on this blog because one of my goals is to clear up science related misconceptions and it's important that our kids aren't filled with misinformation at a young age.
We often hear GMOs associated with Monsanto. Monsanto is a very large agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology industry that specializes in GMO seeds. Too often people look at the questionable practices of Monsanto and immediately say that GMOs are bad because of Monsanto. This is simply wrong! I'm not a fan of Monsanto. There is too little regulation in the United States regarding a business such as Monsanto. Monsanto genetically engineers seeds to be Roundup ready and we are now seeing weeds that are resistant to Roundup. This requires the development of new pesticides that could be more harmful if they infiltrate water supplies. This is a huge concern. However, this is a completely different issue than the safety of eating GMOs.
Just because one may disagree with Monsanto does not immediately make GMOs bad. Humans have genetically modified crops for thousands of years!!! GMOs are NOT new to our society. Nearly every crop we eat has been modified in some way over the last few thousand years. Today the process of creating a GMO is a bit different but by no means harmful to the food we eat. Since 1994 there have been over 1,700 peer reviewed studies on GMOs and not one has found any harmful effects to humans. There was recently a study in 2012 that concluded that mice eating GMOs were more likely to develop tumors, but that was debunked once it was realized that the mice themselves were already pre-disposed to developing tumors regardless of what they ate.
Here are a few websites that debunk the misconceptions of GMOs. All are trustworthy and backed up by science.
Core Truths: 10 Common GMO Claims Debunked
10 Misconceptions About GMOs
The Truth about Genetically Modified Food
The fact of the matter is that there is NOTHING harmful to eating a GMO. One can question the develop of new pesticides developed by Monsanto, and this is a legitimate worry. However, the eating of GMOs themselves is NOT a concern. In fact, GMOs are likely needed to tackle the world hunger issue that will continue to grow as climate change affects more and more regions. There are several independent-of-Monsanto research groups working on drought resistant seeds, but are facing a huge backlash due to the public's misconception of GMOs.
My final advice on GMOs is to get over it. Eat them. They won't kill or harm you in any way. In my opinion it's a waste of time searching for products that say "NO GMOs" on them. I bought a bag of chips recently with a "No GMOs" label. Yeah right. First of all, there's no regulation on this. Companies can print anything they want to entice consumers to buy. Some even charge more for non-GMO products. This is a waste of money.
Okay, the rant in that last paragraph is over. I encourage all parents to educate yourselves on the topic of GMOs. Check the sites above and look at other reputable sites. Readers of this blog have probably guessed that I'm a liberal democrat. This is the biggest issue that I completely disagree on with most other liberals because of all the anti-science. Educate yourselves and don't spread anti-science.