Ten reasons people don't need GM foods

Issue 

1. GM FOODS WON’T SOLVE THE FOOD CRISIS

A 2008 World Bank report concluded that increased biofuel production is the major cause of the rise in food prices. GM giant Monsanto has been at the heart of the lobbying for biofuels (crops grown for fuel rather than food) — while profiting enormously from the resulting food crisis and using it as a public relations opportunity to promote GM foods.

2. GM CROPS DO NOT INCREASE YIELD POTENTIAL

Despite the promises, GM has not increased the yield potential of any commercialised crops. In fact, studies show that the most widely grown GM crop, GM soya, has suffered reduced yields.

3. GM CROPS INCREASE PESTICIDE USE

US government data shows that in the US, GM crops have produced an overall increase, not decrease, in pesticide use compared with conventional crops.

4. THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO FEED THE WORLD

A major UN/World Bank-sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that GM crops have little to offer global agriculture and the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change, because better alternatives are available.

5. OTHER FARM TECHNOLOGIES ARE MORE SUCCESSFUL

Integrated Pest Management and other innovative low-input or organic methods of controlling pests and boosting yields have proven highly effective, particularly in the developing world. Other plant breeding technologies, such as Marker Assisted Selection (non-GM genetic mapping), are widely expected to boost global agricultural productivity more effectively and safely than GM.

6. GM FOODS HAVE NOT BEEN SHOWN TO BE SAFE TO EAT

Genetic modification is a crude and imprecise way of incorporating foreign genetic material (eg, from viruses, bacteria) into crops, with unpredictable consequences. The resulting GM foods have undergone little rigorous and no long-term safety testing, but animal feeding tests have shown worrying health effects.

Very few such studies have been published on the direct effects on humans of eating GM food. One found unexpected effects on gut bacteria, but was never followed up.

It is claimed that Americans have eaten GM foods for years with no ill effects. But these foods are unlabelled in the US and no one has monitored the consequences. With other novel foods like trans fats, it has taken decades to realise that they have caused millions of premature deaths.

7. STEALTH GMO IN ANIMAL FEED — WITHOUT CONSUMERS’ CONSENT

Meat, eggs and dairy products from animals raised on the millions of tons of GM feed imported into Europe do not have to be labelled. Some studies show, contrary to GM and food industry claims, animals raised on GM feed are different from those raised on non-GM feed. Other studies show that if GM crops are fed to animals, GM material can appear in the resulting products and that the animals' health can be affected. So eating "stealth GMOs" may affect the health of consumers.

8. GM CROPS ARE A LONG-TERM ECONOMIC DISASTER FOR FARMERS

A 2009 report showed that GM seed prices in the US have increased dramatically, compared with non-GM and organic seeds, cutting average farm incomes for US farmers growing GM crops. The report concluded, "At the present time there is a massive disconnect between the sometimes lofty rhetoric from those championing biotechnology as the proven path toward global food security and what is actually happening on farms in the US that have grown dependent on GM seeds and are now dealing with the consequences."

9. GM AND NON-GMO CANNOT CO-EXIST

GM contamination of conventional and organic food is increasing. An unapproved GM rice that was grown for only one year in field trials was found to have extensively contaminated the US rice supply and seed stocks. In Canada, the organic oilseed rape industry has been destroyed by contamination from GM rape. In Spain, a study found that GM maize "has caused a drastic reduction in organic cultivations of this grain and is making their coexistence practically impossible".

The time has come to choose a GM-based or a non-GM-based world food supply.

10. WE CAN’T TRUST GM COMPANIES

The big biotech firms pushing their GM foods have a terrible history of toxic contamination and public deception. GM is attractive to them because it gives them patents that allow monopoly control over the world's food supply. They have taken to harassing and intimidating farmers for the "crime" of saving patented seed or "stealing" patented genes – even if those genes got into the farmer's fields through accidental contamination by wind or insects.