Are you wondering if GMOs are bad for you? Maybe you don’t even know whether or not you’re eating genetically modified organisms. If so, you’re not alone, at least in the U.S.
Despite the many petitions and appeals for state or federal regulations on labeling foods that contain GMOs, none have passed. And that means companies still don’t have to disclose whether or not a product includes genetically modified organisms.
More than 60 countries require GMO labeling, or ban GMOs altogether, for a number of reasons. Here are some of the most common concerns.
1. Unknown impact: Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, and Dow will all tell you their GMO products have met safety requirements, but the truth is, long term studies haven’t been done on their impact to the human body. USDA approval requires several processes that prove safety, but GMOs have only been in our diet since the mid-’90s, so it’s difficult to know what the long-term health impacts truly are.
2. Known health risks: What we do know is that when genetic modification happens, genes are forced to express certain traits. To do this, the scientists “turn on” all the gene’s components, which can mean releasing allergens that would normally not be expressed in a non-GMO variety. Experts like Jeffrey Smith suggest this is directly related to a rise in certain health issues.
3. Heavy use of toxic pesticides and herbicides: By design, genetically modified seeds require pesticides and herbicides. While some manufacturers have claimed the pesticide use would decrease over time, it’s only increased, according to a peer-reviewed 2012 study. One prevalent genetic modification gives GMO crops resistance to Roundup, allowing more of the glyphosate-based herbicide to be used.
4. Pesticides and digestive health: The main function of herbicides and pesticides is to kill unwanted plants and insects. glyphosate—the most common herbicide used on GMO crops—has been shown to hurt the gut bacteria of humans. Jeffrey Smith’s recent film Genetic Roulette highlights the parallel of GMOs in our diet and the rise in digestive health issues and food allergies.
5. Environmental impact: GMO crops and their companion pesticides and herbicides wreak havoc on the environment including polluting air, water, and soil. Monsanto’s Roundup is basically an antibiotic. It can destroy soil quality and thus impair the plant’s nutritional value as well. Cross-pollination between GMO and non-GMO crops is common as well and can contaminate natural plant varieties in the wild.
6. Superbugs and superweeds: Despite the claims that pesticides and GMO crops can relieve farmers of crop-destroying insects and plants, the opposite is also true. Farmers in the Midwest are now battling superbugs and superweeds resistant to pesticides. These hardened invaders are damaging crops and farm equipment and costing the farmers more money due to heavier doses of expensive and toxic pesticides.
7. Corporate protection: A few years ago, the U.S. government passed a bill nicknamed the “Monsanto Protection Act.” In essence, it grants biotech companies immunity from regulators immediately banning their crops should those crops be found to be harmful. Critics say the bill effectively deregulates currently grown GMO crops.
8. Prolific presence: Whether or not GMOs are safe has yet to be determined, yet every day, millions of Americans eat them unknowingly due to the lack of labeling requirements. Are you a lab rat? Don’t you at least have the right to know what you’re eating?
Andrea Donsky, B. COMM is an international TV Health Expert, Best Selling Author, Nutritionist Podcast Host, and Founder of NaturallySavvy.com—a recipient of Healthline’s Best Healthy Living Blogs for 2019.