ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

GMO, Genetically Modified Organisms

Updated on October 13, 2016

Farming Genetically Modified Organisms

Farming is a huge and hot topic now and really for as long as I can remember it has been a way of life more many. Small farms are seemingly a thing of the past and the "industrial farms" are far more prominent. I always try to research thoroughly so I can articulate in a way that even someone who may find the topic completely foreign to them can understand.

I will shed some light on what a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) are, as well as what an organic crop is. While it is not really as cut and dry as you may think, we will dig deeper and find the answers we seek.

While opinions vary from person to person, if you read my other articles you know I take the common sense approach to everything, while doing research. Not everyone understands technical jargon so I will do my best to cover everything with the least amount of "techy" speak as possible.

Do you know what a GMO is?

See results

Eaten any of these GMO's Lately?

An example of some common GMO foods.
An example of some common GMO foods. | Source
DNA
DNA | Source

What's The Big Deal?

A GMO or Genetically Modified Organism is essentially what it sounds like. Something Genetically altered in a lab. What happens is the genes are taken from the DNA of one organism or species and artificially forced into that of another unrelated species or organism. The unrelated or foreign genes can come from many different sources. Often times genes from humans, viruses, bacteria and even insects are used.

You maybe scratching your head wondering why they are even doing this to begin with. Weed control, pest control, and production are all the reasons behind the genetic manipulation of plants and crops.

To put it in a way anyone can understand- It is like taking a tomato and filling a syringe with Round up or other weed killer and injecting it into the the tomato. Then it hits the market, you take it home and your family unknowingly enjoys a little weed killer with dinner (not the same as drinking from the bottle but still scary right?).

Now that does not sound to appetizing does it? I think not. Yet there they are on your plate, in a restaurant and at the supermarket! The absolute worst part of all this is the FDA does not require genetically modified products to be labeled! So if you do not research a particular product or brand or look for CERTIFIED NON GMO on a product label you are- well as far as I am concerned ingesting unnatural ingredients.

You may be wondering why you should be concerned about what you are ingesting and why you should continue reading. Genetically modified crops and products containing them have been linked to many health issues when studied in lab rats and livestock. These issues include, sterility, allergic and toxic reactions, sick and even the death of livestock. Studies show significant damage to all internal organs of the animals as well.

If you research you will also find that the deaths of over 1500 sheep can be linked back to ingestion of Bt cotton a plant that has been modified to produce pesticides on the inside, meaning no chemicals need be sprayed on it.

There have been no studies conducted on the long term effects of ingesting genetically modified products on humans.

If you need further convincing, as yourself why over 26 countries that have banned the use of genetically modified products completely. If you add in the number of countries that also have limits or partial bans on genetically modified crops the total is 60! I may not be a rocket scientist but I really doubt that 60 countries, all with different researchers and scientists are all wrong!

Now I sit and wonder why my good ole United States is not following countries like France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico, Australia, Austria, China, Russia and India. With many others continuing to push through parliament for bans or limitations.



Environmental Impact

The effects of growing genetically modified crops on the environment are, cross-pollination, super weeds and toxicity just to name a few. While these may all seem harmless in the written word they have a major impact on the environment and fragile ecosystems.

These genetically modified crops are engineered to have natural weed killer or repellent in their DNA, this means less work (no work) for industrial farmers. The problem is that these plants can then be cross-pollinated with any other nearby plants, farm or wild of the same species. Although soy crops are not at risk since soy by nature does not cross-pollinate.

There has also been experimentation with 'pharma-crops' as well, making the cross-pollination risk a bit scarier. Ideally the goal of the "pharma-crop" is to genetically alter the crop to produce medicine and/or ingredients for medicines.

The worst part is that if you are attempting to grow all non-genetically modified and organic crops, if another farm nearby is going the genetically modified route, odds are your crop has now become contaminated with the genetically modified DNA through cross-pollination.

Toxicity can effect any nearby streams from these pesticide producing plants and crops through natural watershed. When it rains the water hits the crop fields and leaches through the soil and inevitably some will end up in a nearby water source. Weather it be a natural spring or river maybe even just a small stream they can become contaminated possibly causing adverse effects on the marine life, the wildlife that drink from the water could be effected as well.

These genetically modified crops that were engineered to eliminated weeds and pest, have done just that. Yet, they have created new pests in the absence of the plants natural pest that they eradicated trough the modification of the crop. There is a very interesting article about boll weevile eradication and the addition of a new insect pest for cotton crops by The Delta Farm Press.

It is common sense in a way, survival of the fittest if you will - if you eradicate a plants natural pest likely the next pest in line will happily take its place and munch away despite your best efforts.

Super-weeds were created through cross-pollination, the plants that were engineered with weed resistant DNA ultimately cause weeds to build up a natural resistance to pesticides. When you think of weeds like 'Giant Hogweed' that is federally listed as a noxious plant and can cause blindness and phytophotodermatitis in humans being resistant to weed spray, is very discouraging if one would start growing near your home. I am against using pesticides in most situations, but I do believe that if I found a Giant Hogweed that may be one instance I may forgo my morals!

There really are not enough significant studies to say that genetically modified organisms are safe, for livestock, pets, wild animals, bodies of water and even humans. This is why it is so concerning that the FDA does not require labeling of GMO products at all, they happily accept and endorse the products. It is kind of like the old saying 'they say' or 'because they say so' - well who are they and why should I be letting them tell me what I am putting in my body?

Whats Cooking?

No Label Requirements

If you are like me at this point you are wondering why are these genetically modified organisms not being labeled as such? In short, it just is not profitable, so many people leaning towards eating clean and organic that the labeling of genetically modified organisms and products containing them will put a financial hurt on many corporations.

Food and biotechnology agents spend millions of dollars lobbying against the labeling of genetically modified organisms each year. By the second quarter of 2014 a staggering $15.4 million dollars was disclosed as the amount spent on lobbying efforts. More than triple the amount spent in 2013! The worst part is, think of how many starving families that money could have fed, yet it is being used as hush money to support corporate agendas. Basically paying to keep the public in the dark as to what we are ingesting.

This bill that biotech companies are lobbying for has been called D.A.R.K an acronym for "Deny Americans The Right To Know"". The DARK act would block states from being able to require the labeling of Genetically Modified or Genetically Engineered products.

Some of these biotech companies should be rather familiar at least in name. Monsanto, DOW, and Dupont just to name a few. As I research further and further I wonder if at some point someone will knock down the door and seize my laptop and if I will be detained for questioning in some dark room. I am only kidding but it is one of the "shadiest" enterprises I have ever researched! There is hope however; many states have passed laws mandating that GE (Genetically Engineered-GMO) items must be labeled.

By now, I hope you know that Non- genetically modified or heirloom seeds are best. Nothing artificially injected into your seeds that will inevitably contaminate your body. The scariest thing I found in my research is attempted bans and outright bans on heirloom seeds in some areas of the world. Why should we not be allowed to keep a seed? Its not like crystal meth or some other horrible drug it is just a seed, it is just the potential to feed our families for generations to come.

Why Are We Eating Genetically Modified Organisms?

The why behind the creation of genetically modified organisms boil down to cold hard cash. It creates less work and allows for more automation of the farm, requiring less hands on work, in turn costing less man hours to produce large quantities of product. Think of it like Farmville on Facebook, you plow, you seed, you water and harvest and you rake in the profits. In the real world, or I should say in my southern upbringing there is more to farming than sitting in a piece of equipment on your bum letting the equipment do all the work for you.

Raising or growing these genetically modified crops eliminates the need for the farmer to get down and dirty and weed crops or deal with possible insects that maybe eating away at their crops. Crops as far as the eye can see and you do not have to walk your rows checking for blight or really do much by hand at all.

We never used pesticides or GMO crops growing up, we used heirloom seeds that Grandmother had been cultivating for years. We used whatever manure was available too, and kitchen scraps for fertilizer. I have been giving away food for years because I had more than I could handle yet I never purchase fertilizer or pesticides.

I hope you find that this has sparked your interest and the idea that we need to look more towards heirlooms and non-genetically modified organisms for the sake of the environment and our bodies and of course our future.

While there has been no significant studies to show the effects of GMO on the human body, you can look at cancer statistics to the "pre-GMO" times verses today and see a significant increase.

What You Can Do

If you are not lucky enough to live in a state that requires the labeling of GE products, or a country that bans them entirely, there is still hope.

You should look for 'certified non-GMO' on food labels. Keep in mind just because something says organic it is not Non GMO. You need to look for food labeled 100% certified organic, and buy at local farms and farmers markets when you can.

If you want to take a more proactive approach you can contact the Center For Food Safety via the website or email office@centerforfoodsafety.org. If you would like more information on how to begin and where to start a labeling initiative in your city or state.

GMO's

Are you more likely to look for Non GMO products now?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 21 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Jodah, I often think the road to GMOs was paved with good intentions (at least I hope so). Somewhere along the way profits became the goal and Monsanto focused on the bottom line of finances and drifted away from the goal of combating a food shortage for the growing population.

      We have been experimented on for far to long, with no one recording any data of it! Monsanto is lobbying for the DARK act again, though here in the US I blame the FDA and USDA for blindly backing Monsanto and other biotech firms with deep roots in GMOs.

      Those organizations are supposed to be protecting the population, not poisoning it!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 21 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Wonderful hub Cynthia. We can't spread the word often or loud enough about GMO's . We have been guinea pigs for far to long. The list of offenses that Monsanto and others are guilty of are just getting longer and longer.

      Thank you for sharing this valuable information for those not aware of the dangers. I too have written a hub about this and agree with everything you say here.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Blond Logic I agree! In one of my other hubs I mention that we are in fact one big experiment! I am glad your products are labeled, here in the states they are not. Many states are attempting to lobby for labeling though. Yet these companies are lobbying to push legislation to "Deny Americans Right To Know" called DARK. This bill if passed would make it impossible for our labeling initiatives to go through - over turning the states that have managed to pass them too. I agree people seem to get excited over the newest devices, yet, never take the time to write to a congressman about anything! I have written several letters myself, but I am only one voice. Thank you so much for sharing, commenting and voting my hub up!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 2 years ago from Brazil

      Interesting article. I live in Brazil and there is so much which is GM here. Here however, packaging has a yellow triangle with a black T on it. This stands for Transgenic" (GM). All the corn which is fed to chickens, the soya which everyone buys soya oil. We even had it in the fish pellets we use to feed our tilapia.

      You are wrong about one thing. You say there haven't been trials on humans. You guys in the States and us here in Brazil are the guinea pigs. We are the experimental trials.

      I believe people, have forgotten the power they themselves hold. People need to remember that those in politics should work for your best interest.

      It bothers me that people will get excited about a new iPhone and wait in a line for hours to get one but won't spend 5 minutes to contact their congressman to change something as important as this.

      Great hub. Voted up and shared.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      GiftsByDiana thank you so much!

    • GiftsByDiana profile image

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 2 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      Thank you for helping folks to see the truth so that they can make good choices :)

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      pctechgo Thank you, yes it does seem that us southern folk have a better understanding than most. I see no end in sight as well, millions of dollars are spent on smear campaigns for non-GMO movements and labeling initiatives, it is sad. I am always researching more and will look into the baby foods more, I made my own baby food so initially it was not a concern for me. Yet I feel as a parent that is something that other parents may want to know!

    • pctechgo profile image

      pctechgo 2 years ago from US

      Hi Cynthia, Southerners with such a rich and deep history in the appreciation of home grown, home cooked foods definitely get-it. GMO products should be labeled as being what they are. Unfortunately, there'll be no rush provide labelling and in the meanwhile the growers of these crops will continue to reep intense profits from their genetically modified products and everyone, young and old will continue consuming these products unknowingly. ** I wonder if a study has been done to investigate if these GMO crops are used in baby/infant foods.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Thank you JayeWisdom I appreciate the vote. Maybe us southerners just get it :) You are absolutely correct too, GMOs have proved t be carcinogenic. I do seem to be picking up both negatives and positives. I now have a biotech company following me on twitter, not sure of the goal but it kind of shows you how corrupt the whole industry is. Silence and ignorance is what they are banking on. While Monsantos Round Up Ready patent ended in 2014 they had already obtained the Round Up Ready 2 patent. It is a sad world we live in these days, we are being polluted without our permission and in a lot of cases people do not even know it is happening. Labeling is simple, and the argument is the cost- it just would not be cost effective to push the labeling initiative- I call BS (excuse the language). Labeling costs have always and will always passed onto the consumer through the product price, so that argument is not worth the words used to print it!

      It really makes you wonder why bottles of pesticides and chemicals are labeled with warnings to not ingest, get on your face and hands. Yet our food that have been altered with these same things goes unlabeled with no warnings. It is simple if the world woke up all at once and stopped purchasing GMO it would fiscally cripple the companies.

      I found a non-GMO heirloom seed library recently- I love the idea. You pick seeds for FREE to grow and agree to send seeds back at the end of harvest season! Awesome idea for anyone wanting to grow Non-GMO!

      You should absolutely always be scrubbing those fruits and veggies, even what I grow at home gets a good washing!

      Thank you again I appreciate it!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

      The World Health Organization just announced that Roundup is carcinogenic. That's reason enough for most people to avoid GMOs, but there is independent research (not funded by Monsanto) that links GMOs to tumors and other health issues in the short-term, and there are no long-term studies.

      Excellent article, Cynthia, and voted Up++

      Jaye

      P.S. And this is for Marianne: we don't care how many GMOs you eat since you think there's nothing wrong with them. It is to be hoped, however, that you don't have children. As for those of us who want to know via labeling if a food is GMO, we have that right and will keep fighting for it in a growing grassroots movement until the bribed politicians in Congress get the message. Safety of the food supply may be a big topic for the next election. In the interim, I personally buy nothing but certified organic food. A reminder: it's just as important to thoroughly wash organic produce as to wash the "conventionally-grown" type. Let's make protecting what we eat and feed our families a top priority.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

      The World Health Organization just announced that Roundup is carcinogenic. That's reason enough for most people to avoid GMOs, but there is independent research (not funded by Monsanto) that links GMOs to tumors and other health issues in the short-term, and there are no long-term studies.

      Excellent article, Cynthia, and voted Up++

      Jaye

      P.S. And this is for Marianne: we don't care how many GMOs you eat since you think there's nothing wrong with them. It is to be hoped, however, that you don't have children. As for those of us who want to know via labeling if a food is GMO, we have that right and will keep fighting for it in a growing grassroots movement until the bribed politicians in Congress get the message. Safety of the food supply may be a big topic for the next election. In the interim, I personally buy nothing but certified organic food. A reminder: it's just as important to thoroughly wash organic produce as to wash the "conventionally-grown" type. Let's make protecting what we eat and feed our families a top priority.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      It is not so much that I am calling out saying they are wrong- yes I personally choose to raise my own non-gmo foods for myself and my family. The big problem here is the unwillingness of large companies to label these foods so that we have a choice, just because you have no problem eating GMOs, does this mean I should not be allowed to know what items are GMOs in order to not purchase them? My mother has suffered Crohns disease for over 35 years, lately research is being done with a direct correlation to improved quality of life for Crohns patients who eat a non GMO diet. While I appreciate you taking the time to comment, insinuating we are all ignorant and need to take a genetics course, I think perhaps it would be beneficial to look at the case studies before you make derogatory comment. I always put in my articles that I can not tell anyone what to do, that I am merely sharing my research and my experience. Have you taken a genetics course? "A transgene is a gene or genetic material that has been transferred naturally, or by any of a number of genetic engineering techniques from one organism to another. " here is the thing- transferred naturally- like with humans it occurs naturally in our genetic make up from the moment we are a we little cell growing in the womb. We are not forcing it- not to mention if you read the articles you would note that these GMO's use UNRELATED DNA, so this would not be a natural occurrence this is an artificial transgenic. I do appreciate your comment, although if you want to be negative towards others I suggest proving your theory through to completion when commenting.

    • profile image

      Marianne 2 years ago

      Add Your Comment..I don't see what's wrong at all with GMOs . We are all transgenic. Humans have at least 144 transspecies genes in our genome. This is just one more tool in the toolbox of evolution. I think a lot of people need to take a genetics course!

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Thanks for the hint.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      You are very welcome, I have a copy of Ball The complete guide to home preserving, it is a great book and with over 400 recipes and instructions well worth the 15 bucks I paid for it!

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      There are certain vegetables that I freeze. I think this year I will try to can some. I will have to read about it though, because I'm never sure just how long to boil the jars. Thanks again.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Rachel L Alba you are right! Growing your own foods from "Non GMO" seeds is really the only way to be sure! Items marked "organic" may still contain up to 30% GMO properties. It is best to look for "100% Organic" or "Non GMO" on labels. I will work on an article about shopping for Non GMO's too. Plus items marked "Natural" are not as good for you as you may think. I am working on an article now about Natural labeling. Thank you for voting up! Buying local and at farmer's markets are a great way to find Non GMO foods if you have any in your area! Do you preserve your food that you grow? We eat what we grow and put food up for the winter. I would love to say we are eating completely organic, yet some items are hard to find in a Non GMO variety.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      I guess unless you grow your own vegetables , you don't really know what you are eating. We do grow some but they don't last here in the north all year. I never even heard of GMO before. I do see organic vegetables in our grocery stores. I know they are more expensive so I don't buy them. Thanks for bringing GMO to light. I voted up.

      Blessings to you.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      You are very welcome WiccanSage!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      thanks for the explanation, I wasn't very clear on what it meant.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Alphadogg16 thank you for the vote! It really does seem that people do not know much about GMO. It can be hard to understand when trying to research on your own. So much technical jargon, a lot of the general public may not understand!

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 2 years ago from Texas

      This is a very informative on GMO farming Cynthia Hoover. Many people do not understand the process of genetic modification. Voted up on your hub.