GMOs - Good and Bad

, 8 August 2015

If there were absolutely no positive benefit to Genetically Modified Organisms, it is extremely doubtful that they would be so common. Notagmo doesn't necessarily take the stance that GMOs are 100% bad. We recognize that they have many benefits. Let's take some time to explore some of the positive and negative sides of the story and then express why we are committed to Non-GMO Project Verified products.

Some of the Positive:

  • GMO plants can be resistant to weeds, pest and diseases. This allows for greater crop yields which has the opportunity to create food for the greatest amount of people. I think it is fair to say that eliminating starvation is in everyone's interest.
  • Foods can be made to have better texture and flavor. Although this is not a necessity of the human race, it definitely is a luxury that many would argue is important.
  • Crops can have a better shelf life. This means transporting crops to where food is needed most becomes more viable. Once again this could help regions of the world where the food supply is scarce.
  • It allows for crops to grow in areas that would not otherwise be able to be used for agriculture. In one case a gene from grey mangrove was implanted into the tobacco plant making it able to grow in soil that is very salty. Not that growing more tobacco plants really is a health benefit.
  • There are potential medical applications. One example is that a potato plant has been engineered to deliver a pharmaceutical immunization. Although this is interesting and convenient, because there are other ways to provide immunization it doesn't necessarily seem like a necessary advancement.

Some of the Negative:

  • Flavr Savr tomatoes gained the advantage of flavor, but were less resistant to pests and disease which made them more costly and reduced crop yields.
  • Due to pollen spreads genes from pharmaceutical plants have made it into the food supply and now being consumed by humans.
  • Some of the modification to protect that plants have caused allergies in humans.
  • Pollen from plants can spread and infect other plants having effects on the ecosystem such as creating "superweeds".
  • The insects that the genetic modification is meant to fight can become resistant to the plant genes, thus making the modification ineffective.
  • GM crops have cost the United States an estimated $12 billion in farm subsidies, lost sales and product recalls due to transgenic contamination.
  • Genetic Engineering is a new field and long term results are unclear.

We are not sure if the positive will outweigh the negative. In many cases we may never know, or it may be a matter of opinion. A very similar parallel is nuclear power. The same technology was used to create the atom bomb as well as create the nuclear power plant. The awesome power that the human race had created contained both powerful destruction and creation.

One of the differences we see between the case of the splitting of the atom and the beginning of genetic engineering is that the common populace did not get to vote on the splitting of the atom. We can vote with our dollars if we support Non-GMO crops or not. If you support the Non-GMO movement and believe that the negatives will outweigh the positives you should by products that contain the Non-GMO Project Verification seal. Not only are you using a Non-GMO Project Verified Product, but your money is also going to help create further education about GMOs. It is estimated that up to 70% of prepackaged food in a normal grocery story are genetically modified. One way to make sure you aren't consuming these is to buy products that are verified.

Notagmo is offering a choice of a Non-GMO Project verified product for those who support aromatherapy and Non-GMO.

Please note that all positive and negative examples were taken from the following websites:
https://classes.soe.ucsc.edu/cmpe080e/Spring05/projects/gmo/benefits.htm
https://classes.soe.ucsc.edu/cmpe080e/Spring05/projects/gmo/negative.htm

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