The following article summarizes the recent publication, GMO Myths and Facts, by Claire Robinson.
For the past several decades, the public has been fed the rhetoric that genetically modified (GM) crops and foods are needed to feed the world’s growing population and to meet the challenges that farmers face, including climate change as well as pests and diseases. However, scientific research and real-world farming experience show that GM crops and foods have not delivered on their promises of increased yields or reduced toxic chemical inputs.
Instead, GM crops have presented farmers with new challenges of controlling herbicide-resistant superweeds and Bt-resistant superpests. In addition, GM crops have not been shown to be safe to eat, and existing research shows that some GM crops – and the pesticides that go hand in hand with them – pose worrying health risks.
These are the conclusions made in GMO Myths and Facts: What they don’t want to tell you about genetically modified crops and foods, a meticulously referenced, reader-friendly, 28-page booklet written by Claire Robinson, editor of GMWatch.org, and produced by the Sheepdrove Trust to educate and inform the public. Download your free copy of the booklet.
- Yield: Conventionally bred plants outperform GM crops in terms of:
- Disease resistance
- Enhanced nutritional value
- Tolerance to extreme weather conditions and poor soils.
- Pesticide use: Most GM crops are tolerant to herbicides, enabling farmers to spray the field liberally with that herbicide, killing all plant life except the crop. The spraying of crops with herbicide such as glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer, has led to the development and spread of superweeds—weeds that adapt to and withstand the herbicide, resulting in yet more herbicide spraying.
- Massive rise in the use of glyphosate: Globally, the use of glyphosate, an herbicide that has been identified as a potential cause of cancer and is linked to other diseases including liver and kidney disease, has increased 15-fold since the introduction of GM glyphosate-tolerant crops.
- GM Bt crops: GM Bt crops have been genetically engineered to produce insect-killing Bacillus thuringienisis (Bt) toxins in their cells so that pests that eat the plants will die. The use of GM Bt crops has led to the development of “super insects” that have become resistant to Bt’s insect-killing effects.