Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been discussing what GMOs are, where they are in our food supply, and the pros of using these in agriculture. If you haven’t read those posts, I recommend you read them before embarking on this one.
Today, I will be discussing the cons of GMOs in food. I will try to touch respond to any pros if there is another side to the story as well as bring in any unique ideas.
-Improved yields aren’t helping feed a growing population. Many countries, including China and some in Africa, will not import GMO products from the United States. So while improved yields could help us feed the millions of people who are starving worldwide, they aren’t helping if we can’t get that food to the people.
-Improved yields through self-fertilization and drought resistance are ideas that have been promised by companies, but few to no GMO crops are actually available that have these characteristics.
-With herbicide tolerant crops, chemical herbicide use actually increased rather than decreased. Since the crops themselves are not sensitive to the herbicides, farmers can spray more herbicide without worrying about harming their crops. (However, some would say that the herbicides used may be more environmentally friendly.)
-Weeds have now become resistant to the more common herbicides available to farmers. Several different weeds now have resistance to Round-up, the most common herbicide used.
-We aren’t sure about safety. While there are studies that would suggest consuming GMO based foods are safe, many of these studies are from older generations of GMO crops. Also, since these are relatively new, we don’t have long-term data on safety yet.
Next week, I’ll bring it all together and share my thoughts on using GMO crops in food. Happy eating!
Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!