You’ve probably heard news reports claiming GMO food is safe to eat, but the fact is, genetically engineering our food supply carries risks to farmers, workers, the environment, and people living near the fields that are heavily sprayed with the herbicide Roundup, which the World Health Organization calls a probable human carcinogen. Furthermore, the government approves GMO products for the food supply based on data submitted by the very companies that want to sell them.
Meanwhile, most GMOs are engineered to withstand exposure to powerful weedkillers or produce their own pesticides. Many of these crops are used in animal feed, which fuels factory farms, yet the industry goes to great lengths to “greenwash” GMO crops.
That doesn’t sound “safe” to us. Help us fight for transparency in the food system by donating today.
What are GMOs?
Companies like Monsanto create genetically engineered foods, often called “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs), by using biotechnology techniques to alter seeds’ or livestock’s genetic material. Instead of using the breeding methods that farmers have used for centuries to select for desirable traits, GMO crops and GMO animals may be radically altered to repel pests, withstand herbicides, or grow faster. These changes are patented and help corporations increase their control over the seed supply, but rarely have the best interests of people or the environment in mind.
There is No Consensus on GMO Safety
The same media reports touting the safety of GMOs ignore a growing portion of the scientific community that says GMOs are far from safe and criticize the weak regulatory system that is designed to approve GMO crops without finding safety problems. The truth is that there is no consensus regarding the safety of GMOs—in fact, the evidence shows a serious potential for harm, especially to our environment.
Many Countries have GMO Labeling. Why Doesn't the U.S.?
People in over 60 countries across the world have the ability to choose whether or not they buy GMO foods, because labeling is required. But here in the U.S., where powerful interests lobby to keep us in the dark about what we're eatnig, we can't tell if our food contains GMOs.
In July 2016, powerful corporations used their influence to pass a bill that we refer to as Monsanto’s Dream Bill or the DARK (Denying Americans the Right to Know) Act. The new law prohibits states from requiring mandatory genetically engineered food (GMO) labeling. This blocks the GMO labeling law in Vermont that went into effect on July 1, 2016 and blocks any other states from requiring GMO labeling. Industry support pushed the bill through Congress despite widespread public opposition.
The DARK Act is a setback for transparency in our food, but we’re not done fighting. Food & Water Watch and our allies are still working to require real, clear GMO labeling.
Promoting GMOs Abroad
The U.S. government also works on behalf of the industry to promote GMOs around the world, often over the opposition of the public and even governments. Agricultural development is essential for the developing world to foster sustainable economies, enhance food security to combat global hunger and increase resiliency to climate change but that’s not what biotechnology companies are promoting. These corporations are putting their own profits ahead of the interests of people at home and abroad.
The GMO controversy doesn’t end with GMO crops: GMO animals could soon follow. Genetically engineered (GMO) salmon has been approved by the FDA—but the fish could present serious risks to consumer health, animal welfare, wild fish populations, fishing economies and the environment. That's all on top of potentially diminishing the nutrition and taste of salmon, one of the most popular and important fish in the American diet.
Meanwhile, a British company wants to cash in on GMO mosquitos, marketing them as a means of controlling dengue fever. But GMO insects are inherently risky and cannot be truly regulated — not to mention there is a lack of public support and an inability to prove that this science experiment would actually prevent disease transmission.
For all these reasons, GMOs are bad for people and the environment. Labeling them is a first step toward protecting ourselves. Donate to support a transparent food system that works for people, not corporations.