A genetically modified organism (GMO), also known as a transgenic organism, is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food. – from Wikepedia
Thinking about the movie Bought that we are showing here at the office TONIGHT (Wednesday) and I was curious as to what would come up when I Googled “GMO.” The first thing that popped up was the excerpt above. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the second hit was for the Non-GMO Project (http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/). This is the organization that has the labels (picture above) on certain foods ensuring there are no GMO’s within. This site is great for digging in to get some great information. I was really expecting more “pro-GMO” sites such as gmoanswers.com and factsaboutgmos.org to be at the top but they were lower down the page. A Mercola link also came up in the mix. Its encouraging to see that there is pretty equal representation of both sides of the debate in my Google search.
So the big question, are GMO’s safe?
From the non-GMO project website:
Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.
From Dr. Mercola:
According to Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, genetic modification interferes fundamentally with the natural genetic modifications that organisms undergo in order to survive. Under natural circumstances, this is done in real time as “an exquisitely precise molecular dance of life.”
Genetic engineering, which assumes that one protein determines one particular trait, such as herbicide tolerance or insect resistance, and can easily be swapped out with another, with no other effects, is dangerously simplistic or, as Dr. Mae-Wan Ho says, “an illusion.”
An organism’s genome is not static but fluid, and its biological functions are interconnected with its environment and vice versa, such that trying to control genetic changes via artificial modification is a dangerous game.
One of the arguments in favor of GMO’s is that people have been modifying our food for centuries. However natural genetic modification is very different from artificial modification.
Similar to the way artificial immunity acquired by vaccination is assumed to be the same thing as natural immunity acquired by contracting and recovering from an illness, genetic modification is often thought to be the same, whether it’s done in a lab or by nature. But as we’ve seen with immunity, there are actually very important differences, and these, too, are highlighted by Dr. Ho. Compared with natural genetic modification, artificial genetic modification is inherently hazardous because it lacks the precision of the natural process, while enabling genes to be transferred between species that would never have been exchanged otherwise.
Another aspect of GMO’s besides their safety is whether or not they should be labelled. Currently, the only assurance you have that some is free of GMO’s is the label at the top if the page, or if its organic. Foods containing GMO’s are not labelled stating they are present.
From non-GMO projects website:
Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.
For more information on GMO’s come to see Bought Tonight! If you bring a friend you will be entered to win a free massage!