In recent years, GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, have become a hot topic of controversy. Some people think they are unsafe and want to be banned, while others think they are perfectly safe and a necessary part of our food system. So who’s right? And what do we really know about GMOs? Let’s take a look at 10 common myths about GMOs and see if we can clear anything up.
GMOs are used to create monster foods
One of the most common myths about GMOs is that they are used to create so-called “Frankenfoods”. The vast majority of GMOs are used for purposes such as making crops resistant to pests or improving their health or adaptation to harsh environmental conditions. These so-called Frankenfoods are foods that have been genetically modified to behave in an “unnatural” way. Some product examples:
- Tomatoes have thicker skins to prevent damage.
- Drought tolerant corn, wheat, or sweet potatoes
- Bananas are resistant to bacterial wilt
- Rice fortified with vitamins and nutrients helps fight malnutrition
GMO foods have been developed to fight world hunger by increasing yields per acre and reducing food waste. In addition, farmers can plant crops in places where little is growing.
Related Topic: Foods High in Chemicals
GMOs kill bees
In the mid-2000s, the world was outraged by the sharp decline in the population of honey bees around the world. And rightly so, since bees play a vital role in the global food chain, but GMOs are not the reason. There are many different diseases that are associated with population decline. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Ticks Varroa destructor
- Colony collapse
- Tracheal mites
- Habitat destruction
- Changing of the climate
Bees pollinate a third of the food we eat. As pest-resistant GMOs become more popular, fewer chemicals are used, allowing the bees to do their job without additional hazards.
GMOs will destroy our environment
This myth fits well with the number 9 and comes from people who think GMOs are sterile and don’t need to be pollinated. Opposition to GMOs believes that the lack of need for pollinators will lead to a reduction in biodiversity. The truth is that, like any other plant that depends on pollinators for growth, GMOs also need to be pollinated. There is no evidence that GMOs are more harmful to the environment than other crops. GMOs don’t just help the environment feed more people.
Here are some of the ways they help the environment:
- Fewer chemicals and fuels used in the agricultural process
- Reducing excess CO2
- Prevent soil erosion and improve soil health
- Water saving
GMOs cause cancer
Experts question the credibility of the study linking GMOs and cancer. Like most myths, this one is born out of the ignorance of people who have a reflex reaction to things they don’t understand. Eating genetically modified foods will not change your own DNA or cause you cancer. There have been studies done by institutions around the world and there has been no evidence that eating GMOs causes any kind of cancer. If you are concerned about cancer, here are the top causes of preventable development:
- Too much UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds
- Drinking too much alcohol
GMOs will create “superweeds”
“Superweeds” are gradually starting to grow around the world. A superweed is an unwanted plant that is resistant to glyphosate or other herbicides. At first glance, this seems to be a natural consequence of genetically modified crops passing on genetic material. However, studies by Purdue University and other institutions found no evidence that GMOs contributed to the development of these superweeds. Instead, the true cause of superweeds is the overuse of herbicides by farmers and their production by plants as they naturally develop.
Monsanto controls the world with its GMOs
Monsanto is one of the leading companies when it comes to GMOs; they have been working on them since the early 1990s. They are also one of the most hated companies in the world. Therefore, it is not surprising that there are many myths that they are trying to control the world.
Some of the reasons why Monsanto is hated are actually valid. Here is a list of some of the company’s most unethical practices:
- Sued farmers who they said were pirating seeds
- Accused of growing defective crops and selling them
- Made a herbicide that caused neurological problems
- Creating crops that can only be treated with Monsanto herbicides.
And while all of these things (and more) are truly terrible, that makes them unethical at best. All this was done in pursuit of profit, not world domination. Luckily, Monsanto doesn’t own all of the GMO patents. They have a lot of them, but other companies also have patents for GMOs.
Can’t trust independent research on GMOs
This is a common myth propagated by anti-GMO people. They argue that because the research is not government funded, it cannot be biased. This cannot be far from the truth. There have been many independent studies of GMOs, and they all come to the same conclusion: GMOs are safe for human consumption.
GMOs are not tested for safety
Another common myth about GMOs is that they are not regulated. However, the reality is that GMOs are one of the most highly regulated crops in the world. The rules that GMOs are subject to are much stricter than the rules for conventional crops. For example, in the United States, a new GMO must go through a rigorous approval process that can take up to 10 years and cost millions of dollars. Here are a few items that are regulated by GMOs:
- The nutritional value is the same or higher than non-GMO products
- Regulation of all chemicals used to grow GMO crops
- Regulations on modifications that have GMOs
- Strict rules to protect other plants from cross-pollination
GMOs cause health problems
There have been a number of studies on GMOs and their impact on human health. The consensus of these studies is that GMOs are safe for human consumption. A study published in 2012 looked at the long-term effects of feeding GMO corn to rats. The study showed that there were no differences in the health of the rats whether they were fed GMO corn or not. Another study from 2016 looked at the effects of GMOs on gut bacteria. The study found that there were no significant changes in gut bacteria when people consumed GMOs. The bottom line is that there is no evidence that GMOs cause health problems in humans.
Organic foods are better than GMO foods
Organic foods are better than GMO foods. This claim is believed by many people to be true, but the evidence does not support this claim. A study published in 2016 looked at the nutritional value of organic and GMO foods. The study found that there were no significant differences in the nutritional value of organic and GMO foods.
Remember that GMOs are regulated in the same way as organic products. Research also shows that there is no significant difference between organic and GMO foods when it comes to nutrition or the environment. This is because, contrary to popular belief, organic farmers can use pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides. They just have to be obtained from natural sources. So if you are looking for the best option for your health or the environment, organic is not the answer.