2012 Seven Things to tell your friends about GMO (Fact Sheet)

May 9, 2015

In the 1990s, GMOs took off in the US without public debate and today they’re in most processed foods — making Americans the world’s GMO guinea pigs. Now, peer-reviewed and other authoritative studies reveal that: 1. GMOs HAVE NEVER UNDERGONE STANDARD TESTING OR REGULATION FOR HUMAN SAFETY. And now that they’re in 70 percent of processed foods it’s extremely difficult for scientists to isolate their health risks. 2. BUT WE KNOW THAT GMOs HAVE PROVEN HARMFUL IN ANIMAL STUDIES. A 2009 review of 19 studies found mammals fed GM corn or soy developed “liver and kidney problems” that could mark the “onset of chronic diseases.” In a new 2-year study, rats fed GM corn developed 2-3 times more tumors and they appeared much earlier than those fed non-GM corn. Among scientists, both defenders and critics underscore that we need more long-term studies. 3. AND THE MOST WIDELY USED GMOs ARE PAIRED WITH AN HERBICIDE LINKED TO SERIOUS REPRODUCTIVE PROBLEMS AND DISEASE. GM crops – Roundup Ready soy & corn – are treated with the herbicide glyphosate. A physicians’ study found people exposed to glyphosate had increased risk of miscarriages, birth defects, cancer, and neurological problems in children. Neurologists report that herbicides, especially glyphosate, “have been recognized as the main environmental factor associated with ... Parkinson’s disease.” 4. THE CONSEQUENCES OF GMO TECHNOLOGY ARE UNPREDICTABLE. Inserting a single gene can result in multiple, unintended DNA changes and mutations. “Unintended effects are common in all cases where GE [genetic engineering] techniques are used,” warn scientists. One such environmental consequence—genetic contamination of other plants—is already documented. Note that unlike food, once released into the environment, seeds can’t be “recalled”! 5. GMO MAKERS INTIMIDATE AND SILENCE FARMERS AND SCIENTISTS. GMO corporations use patents and intellectual property rights to sue farmers, block research, and threaten investigators. “For a decade,” protested Scientific American editors in 2009, GMO companies “have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research” so “it is impossible to verify that genetically modified crops perform as advertised.” 6. GMOs UNDERMINE OUR FOOD SECURITY. Because three GMO companies – Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta – control 70% of the global seed market, GMOs reinforce monopoly power over our food. GMO seeds are costly and must be purchased every year, so they worsen farmers’ indebtedness, dependency, and vulnerability to hunger. 7. GMOs AREN’T NEEDED IN THE FIRST PLACE, SO WHY WOULD WE TAKE ON THESE RISKS AND HARMS? Studies show that safe, sustainable farming practices applied worldwide could increase our food supply as much as 50 percent. And keep in mind that the world’s already producing 2,800 calories for every person on earth every day — more than enough. And that’s just with what’s left over: Half the world’s grain goes not to people but to feed, fuel and other purposes. Plus, one-third of all food. So the urgent question isn’t about “more” anyway. It is, How can all of the world’s people gain the power to secure healthy food? And a good start is knowing what’s in our food.


1. Source for GMOs in 70% processed foods: California Department of Food and Agriculture, “A Food Foresight Analysis of Agricultural Biotechnology: A Report to the Legislature,” Jan. 1, 2003. www.cdfa.ca.gov/files/pdf/ag_biotech_report_03.pdf. Source for safety testing: Freese, W. & Schubert, D., “Safety testing and regulation of genetically engineered foods,” Biotechnol Genet Eng Rev, 2004: 299-324. www.saveourseeds.org/downloads/schubert_safety_reg_us_11_2004.pdf. 2. Source for GM corn study: Séralini, G.-E., et al., “Long term toxicity of Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,” Food and Chemical Toxicity, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005. Source 19 GM corn and soy studies: Séralini G.-E. et al., “Genetically modified crops safety assessments: Present limits and possible improvements,” Environmental Sciences Europe, 2011; 23(10). www.enveurope.com/content/23/1/10 3. Sources for miscarriages, birth defects, cancer: Report from the 1st NATIONAL MEETING OF PHYSICIANS IN THE CROP-SPRAYED TOWNS, Faculty of Medical Sciences, National U. of Cordoba. Aug 2010, University Campus, Cordoba Coordinators: Dr. Medardo Ávila Vazquez, Prof. Dr. Carlos Nota. www.permaculturenews.org/files/INGLES-Report-from-the-1st-National-Meeti.... Source for link to Parkinson’s Disease: Gui, Y. et al., “Glyphosate induced cell death through apoptotic and autophagic mechanisms,” Neurotoxicol Teratol. March 27, 2012; 34: 344-349. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0892036212000438 4. Source for unpredictability: Wilson, A.K. et al., “Transformation-induced mutations in transgenic plants: Analysis and biosafety implications,” Biotechnol Genet Eng Rev, 2006; 23: 209–238. www.somloquesembrem.org/img_editor/file/Wilson%2006%20BGER.pdf. Source for 1st quote: Freese, W. & Schubert, D., “Safety Testing and Regulation of Genetically Engineered Foods,” Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews, Nov 2004; Vol. 21. www.intercept.co.uk/gb/not.asp?id=RS6HS3O6S6ROTD&rec=oui&pos=0&referer=%.... Source for genetic contamination: Quist, D. & Chapela, I., “Transgenic DNA introgressed into traditional maize landraces in Oaxaca, Mexico,” Nature, Nov 29, 2001; 414: 541-543. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v414/n6863/full/414541a.html. Source for 2nd quote: Cummings, C. H., “Trespass: Genetic Engineering as the Final Conquest,” WorldWatch Institute, World Watch Magazine, Jan/Feb 2005: 18(1), http://www.worldwatch.org/node/568 5. Waltz, E. “Under wraps – Are the crop industry’s strong-arm tactics and close-fisted attitude to sharing seeds holding back independent research and undermining public acceptance of transgenic crops?” Nat Biotechnol, Oct 2009; 27(10): 880–882. www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v27/n10/abs/nbt1009-880.html. See also: Center for Food Safety. “Monsanto vs. US farmers: Nov. 2007 Update.” Washington, DC & San Francisco, CA. Nov. 2007. www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/Monsanto%20November%202007%20update.pdf. For Scientific American editors: The Editors, “Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research?” Scientific American, Aug 13, 2009. www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=do-seed-companies-control-gm-c.... 6. Source for Monsanto 90% statistic: Marie-Monique Robin, “The World According to Monsanto: pollution, corruption and the control of our food supply,” The New Press, 2010, http://thenewpress.com/index.php?option=com_title&task=view_title&metapr.... And: Center for Food Safety, “Monsanto vs. US Farmers,” 2005: www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/CFSMOnsantovsFarmerReport1.13.05.pdf Source for GMO monopoly statistic: GRAIN, “Global agribusiness: two decades of plunder,” July 13, 2010. www.grain.org/article/entries/4055-global-agribusiness-two-decades-of-pl.... Source for GMO impacts on farmers: FAO, “Weighing the GMO arguments: against,” FAO Newsroom, 2003. www.fao.org/english/newsroom/focus/2003/gmo8.htm. 7. Source for producing plenty: Badgley, C. et al., “Organic Agriculture and the Global Food Supply,” Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 22 (2007): 86-108. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid.... Source for calories: FAOSTAT, Food Balance Sheets, Commodity Balances, 2009, faostat.fao.org/site/368/DesktopDefault.aspx?PageID=368#ancor Grain statistic calculated from: FAO, “Crop Prospects and Food Situation,” Oct. 2007, No. 5, Table 2 ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/ah873e/ah873e00.pdf Source for food wasted: FAO, “Global Food Losses and Food Waste,” Rome: 2011, http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/mb060e/mb060e00.pdf [verified 4/17/14]

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