“The FDA has placed the interest of a handful of biotechnology companies ahead of their responsibility to protect public health. By failing to require testing and labelling of genetically engineered foods, the agency has made consumers unknowing guinea pigs for potentially harmful, unregulated food substances.” ~ Andrew Kimbrell, Founder & Executive Director, Center for Food Safety
You might be asking yourself, what on earth is a GMO. Don’t worry you’re not alone! In fact, many people have never even heard of GMOs, despite the fact that they’re probably consuming them every single day. And unless you live in one of the 60-plus countries around the world, (including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union) which have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs, you’re probably eating them too! Yes, YOU.
GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organism,” and the phrase refers to plants or animals that have been genetically engineered to produce a specific set of characteristics. This is much different from traditional breeding practices, where different breeds of the same species are combined to produce favorable traits. With modern GMO’s, DNA is taken from a completely different species (like a fish or virus) and inserted into a crop (like a tomato) to transfer genetic traits. These experimental combinations of genes cannot and do not occur naturally.
Most commercial GMOs are engineered specifically to be more tolerant to large applications of herbicides and pesticides, like Roundup Ready, a chemical fertilizer created by the corporate giant Monsanto, which controls 80% of the GM corn market and 93% of the GM soy market. Our partners at GMO Inside have the scoop on Monsanto here. Roundup’s main ingredient is glyphosate, which was found by the World Health Organization to be a “probable human carcinogen” in May 2015.
Contrary to popular belief, GMOs have actually caused the use of pesticides and herbicides to skyrocket, leaving more chemical residue on crops for consumers to ingest. While much of the research around GMOs is conflicting, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health issues, environmental damage, and violations of farmers’ and consumers’ rights. To make matters worse, the long-term health effects of GMOs on both people and the planet are virtually unknown, and almost all studies that “prove” the safety of GMO’s are funded by the very biotechnology corporations that profit from GMO sales. Sounds like the plot of a scary scifi movie, right?
Most millennials were born into a GMO world. Today, an estimated 80% of food on supermarket shelves contain GMOs, something not stated on ingredient labels. This past summer, a controversial law was passed in the United States that preempts the mandatory labeling initiatives already passed in several states and makes it deliberately difficult for consumers to know whether their food is genetically modified or not. EcoWatch called this law a Failure of Democracy.
Fortunately, a growing number of people are becoming informed and demanding corporate food giants to keep it real and label GMOs. In the absence of meaningful mandatory labeling in the United States, our partners at the NonGMO Project are working hard to protect non-GMO food in a different way, by creating a voluntary labeling system by which food companies could meet the consumer demand for non-GMO choices, thereby changing the supply chain and preserving safe, healthy food for future generations.
The rest of the world is already ahead of the United States – 64 other countries have responsible mandatory GMO labeling laws! In fact, grassroots organizations around the world are having success in resisting GMO’s and pressure from Monsanto. A group of activists who occupied the base of a construction site for Monsanto in Argentina for three years succeeded in getting Monsanto to retreat from their city! And this week, US seed developer Monsanto is facing charges related to “ecocide” in a mock trial being staged by anti-GM food activists in The Hague. Check it out here and also here.
As consumers, we have the power to find and choose non-GMO products to support a safe and health food supply. When in doubt, choose USDA Certified Organic products, which by definition cannot contain GMO ingredients, and to look for the butterfly – the Non-GMO Project’s seal – North America’s only independent verification for products made according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance.
This past summer, a controversial law was passed in the United States that makes it deliberately difficult for consumers to know whether their food is genetically modified or not. EcoWatch called this law a Failure of Democracy. Check out this video made by Turning Green student leaders addressed to President Obama’s daughters, urging them to ask their father to veto the DARK Act. Even though the law did pass, individuals and organizations are still working hard towards policy reform.
Upload a PFD Document with your responses and links.
Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
The list of common ingredients that are now almost entirely made from GMO crops is astounding. And, food companies are not required to test these GMO ingredients for pesticides or other harmful effects, and they don’t have to tell you when they put GMOs in your favorite foods. The passage of The Dark Act (S. 764) this year preempts allmandatory labeling laws already passed at the state level and puts the burden on the consumer to discover if a product contains GMOs or not.
Select three packaged food items you consume on a regular basis.
Upload a PDF Document with the names and brands of your selected foods, the GMO information for each, and responses to the other questions. Include photos of your products and the non-GMO alternatives with your captions.
Please include your name (or team name), username, email address and school.
Up to 125 Points. Awarded at the Discretion of the PGC Team.
Due October 30, 2016 at 6 am PT
It just so happens that some of the most popular snack foods (i.e. processed, packaged foods) often contain GMOs. In this challenge, we are inviting you to share what you’ve learned about GMOs with friends and family.
Host a non-GMO study break.
Send us a PDF Document with a full write up of your study break, complete with photos, links to any video, quotes, etc. Upload your video footage to YouTube and send us the link(s). Include a screenshot of your social media post.
Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school name.