Environmentalists beware, reading this may cause bouts of rational thinking.
Read this column at your own risk. It contains scientifically-proven answers about genetically-engineered crops. If you continue to read, there is a strong probability that you may become rational about GMOs.
As you’ve probably heard, a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. House is considering a bill that would essentially put a halt to the patchwork of state-sponsored initiatives for mandatory labeling of products made from GMOs.
As this debate undoubtedly heats up, people may ask you about the safety of GMOs. The following list of busted GMO myths was developed with information gleaned from the Council for Biotechnology Information.
GMOs are unproven and could cause long-term health effects. The U.S. National Academies of Science, the American Medical Association and dozens of regulatory agencies around the world have determined that food derived from genetically-engineered ingredients is as safe and nutritious as food derived from other production methods, such as conventional or organic.
GMOs are bad for the environment. Herbicide-tolerant crops have helped farmers practice no-till farming which has led to improved soil health and water retention and reduced runoff and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Insect-resistant crops have reduced the amount of insecticide applied to insect-protected crops by about 600 million pounds. Plants modified to use nitrogen and other nutrients more efficiently saves farmers money and reduces fertilizer losses to the environment. Plants modified to tolerate drought enable crops to retain yields, while consuming less water.
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GMOs are responsible for the development of superweeds.
While some have branded the weeds resistant to glyphosate as “superweeds,” weed scientists point out that these same species are resistant to other herbicides too, therefore highlighting the issue relative to only glyphosate is a misrepresentation of the facts. Public and private weed scientists continue to work to reduce the risk and impact of resistance to all herbicide sources.
Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food, therefore we need mandatory labeling of GMO products.
Agriculture supports mandatory labeling of food when a food presents a safety risk to a sensitive population. However, no credible evidence exists linking a food safety or health risk to the consumption of GMO foods. Putting a label on food solely because it is derived from GM would convey to consumers that such food is somehow less safe, healthy or nutritious than its non-GMO counterpart.
GMOs help farmers, not the consumer.
Scientists have demonstrated that genetic modification can be used to increase levels of pro-vitamin A, iron and zinc and improve protein digestibility. A serving of vitamin A-enhanced golden rice could provide half the required daily intake of this vitamin for a 1- to 3-year old child.
Feel free to spread the facts.