We all know that organizations like the Non-GMO Project and the Organic Consumers Association (with their offshoot, Millions Against Monsanto) have taken a stand against genetically modified foods. You might be surprised by how many other scientific, environmental and consumer organizations worldwide have spoken out against GMOs, though.
Ten of these organizations include:
Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports:
We urge the food industry to drop its legal war against consumers’ right to know and instead begin listening to its consumers on this issue. We urge companies to offer not just the foods that are most convenient to grow or process, but the foods consumers really want, fully labeled.
Consumers Union also spoke about a recent health study of GM feed, stating:
There have been very few animal feeding studies of GE food to date, and extremely few that lasted longer than 90 days. This new study looked at pigs fed GE corn and soy under commercial production conditions over a 22.7 week period. Compared to a control group that was fed conventional corn and soy, the GE-fed pigs showed significant increases in severe stomach inflammation and thickening of the uterus. The study in online here: http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/81/8106.pdf
Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, has long been concerned about the impact of GE crops and thinks these effects are a red flag and deserve further study. We also believe this study underlines the need for labeling of GE food, since there still much to learn about their health effects. Consumers Union urges state legislatures, as well as Congress, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to require labeling of GE foods.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods have the potential to cause a variety of health problems. For example, they may produce new allergens and toxins, and spread harmful traits to non-GMO crops. In addition, at least one major environmental impact of genetic engineering has already reached critical proportions: overuse of herbicide-tolerant GE crops has spurred an increase in herbicide use and an epidemic of herbicide-resistant "superweeds," which will lead to even more herbicide use. The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment they cannot be recalled.
Even the loss of milkweed that Monarch butterflies depend on, (and other sources of nectar and pollen that wild pollinators require to survive) is an environmental side effect of intensive herbicide use associated with GE crops.
Does UCS Have a Position On GE?
Yes. We see that the technology has potential benefits, but we are critics of its commercial application and regulation to date. GE has proved valuable in some areas (as in the contained use of engineered bacteria in pharmaceutical development), and some GE applications could turn out to play a useful role in food production.
However, its applications in agriculture so far have fallen short of expectations, and in some cases have caused serious problems. Rather than supporting a more sustainable agriculture and food system with broad societal benefits, the technology has been employed in ways that reinforce problematic industrial approaches to agriculture. Policy decisions about the use of GE have too often been driven by biotech industry PR campaigns, rather than by what science tells us about the most cost-effective ways to produce abundant food and preserve the health of our farmland.
UCS offers these pages for more information:
- Risks of Genetic Engineering
- The Rise of Superweeds—and What to Do About It
- Promoting Pesticide Resistance: Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture
- Spreading Gene Contamination: Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture
- Suppressing Research: Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture
As scientists, physicians, academics, and experts from disciplines relevant to the scientific, legal, social and safety assessment aspects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we strongly reject claims by GM seed developers and some scientists, commentators, and journalists that there is a “scientific consensus” on GMO safety and that the debate on this topic is “over”.
ENSSER highlights the following concerns on their official statement about genetically engineered crops with detailed information about each of these concerns:
1. There is no consensus on GM food safety
2. There are no epidemiological studies investigating potential effects of GM food consumption on human health
3. Claims that scientific and governmental bodies endorse GMO safety are exaggerated or inaccurate
4. EU research project does not provide reliable evidence of GM food safety
5. List of several hundred studies does not show GM food safety
6. There is no consensus on the environmental risks of GM crops
7. International agreements show widespread recognition of risks posed by GM foods and crops
Reliable evidence obtained by scientist independent of the biotech industry fully corroborates real life experiences of farmers in the field from different parts of the world (hitherto dismissed by the scientific establishment as “anecdotal evidence”): GM feed and other exposures to GMOs invariably cause harm, regardless of the species of animal, the GM crop, or the genes and constructs involved. A full list is presented in our report, and it includes the most horrendous cases of excess deaths, birth defects, infertility, tumours and cancers (some of which will be presented by other scientists at this conference). The inevitable conclusion one comes to is that genetic modification is inherently hazardous, on account of the new genetics of the fluid and responsive genome.
ISIS also states:
This is a dangerous situation for the future of food and farming, one that needs to be reversed as quickly as possible, particularly as GM agriculture is failing on all counts. That can only be achieved by a ban on GMOs, an action already taken by countries and local communities around the world. We need to join forces with them, to put an end to the GM corporate empire.
The transnational companies that produce genetically engineered (GE) food crops include several of the worst polluters of the 20th century.
These "agbiotech" companies evolved from long-time chemical polluters that have reinvented themselves as "life sciences" companies. These companies see huge profits in controlling life patents, in denying consumers their right to know when food is genetically altered and in creating crops that require farmers to use the company's brand of pesticides.
Greenpeace also has an official statement against GMOs here, saying:
GMOs should not be released into the environment since there is not an adequate scientific understanding of their impact on the environment and human health.
We advocate immediate interim measures such as labelling of GE ingredients, and the segregation of genetically engineered crops and seeds from conventional ones.
We also oppose all patents on plants, animals and humans, as well as patents on their genes. Life is not an industrial commodity. When we force life forms and our world's food supply to conform to human economic models rather than their natural ones, we do so at our own peril.
Farmers, who now depend on the few firms that sell seeds and affiliated agrochemicals, face higher prices and patent infringement lawsuits if a patent is allegedly violated. Genetic contamination is a serious threat to the livelihoods of non-GE and organic farmers who bear the financial burden for these incidents.
GE crops can take a toll on agriculture and surrounding wildlife as well. The environmental effects of GE crops include intensified agrochemical use and pollution, increased weed and insect resistance to herbicides and pesticides, and gene flow between GE and non-GE crops.
Once GE products are on the market, no labeling is required. This means that U.S. consumers blindly eat and drink GE ingredients every day and are not given the knowledge or choice to do otherwise. Several studies point to the health risks of GE crops and their associated agrochemicals, but proponents of the technology promote it as an environmentally responsible, profitable way for farmers to feed a growing global population. Yet the only ones experiencing any benefits from GE crops are the few, massive corporations that are controlling the food system at every step and seeing large profit margins.
Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals. The effects on humans of consuming these new combinations of proteins produced in GMOs are unknown and have not been studied.
A number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to farmers, human health, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment. Despite these long-term and wide-ranging risks, Congress has yet to pass a single law intended to manage them responsibly. The haphazard and negligent agency regulation of biotechnology has been a disaster for consumers and the environment. Unsuspecting consumers by the tens of millions are purchasing and consuming unlabeled GE foods, despite a finding by U.S. Food & Drug Administration scientists that these foods could pose serious risks.
Center for Food Safety seeks to halt the approval, commercialization and/or release of any new genetically engineered crops until they have been thoroughly tested and found safe for human health and the environment. CFS maintains that any foods that already contain GE ingredients must be clearly labeled, and advocates for the containment and reduction of existing genetically engineered crops.
Genetically modified crops may exacerbate environmental and social problems.
The director general of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), a leading global conservation organization, issued a notice to the group’s members in December reaffirming a call for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The message from IUCN head Ibrahim Thiaw urges governments and businesses to take a precautionary approach to GMOs until the safety of the organisms can be assured “beyond reasonable doubt.” The group, of which the Worldwatch Institute is a member, is concerned about the potential negative consequences of GMO use, including biodiversity loss and the emergence of pests and weeds that are resistant to controls...
Besides potential biological problems, genetically modified crops can increase farmers’ debt and dependency. Because agricultural biotechnology companies place strict patents on their GMOs, farmers are prohibited from breeding the altered seeds, trading them, and even from saving them from one year to the next. As such, growers are forced to buy new seed from manufacturers every year. This is particularly detrimental to farmers in the developing world, who have traditionally depended on seed saving to sustain their livelihoods.
Monsanto: it's one of the greatest corporate scandals of our time. This mega-corporation has paid off our politicians, taken over our regulators, and bullied public opponents into submission while it silently monopolizes our food system with its genetically-engineered products.
and this one:
When corporations control seeds, they control life. They’re taking a renewable common resource and turning it into a non-renewable, patented commodity. It’s up to us to fight back.
and many more.
These are just a few of the world organizations that have spoken out against genetic engineering.
More and more scientists, doctors, researchers and advocacy groups are taking a stand against GMOs, along with millions of concerned citizens. It is important to keep speaking out, spreading awareness and speaking with our pocketbooks.
See 15 Ways to take a stand against Monsanto and avoid GMO foods for more ways to take a stand against GMOs.
Our future depends on it -- for our health, for our farmers and for our environment.
Want to stay in the loop? Be sure to subscribe to my column to be updated when I post articles.
You can also find me on Pinterest and on examiner.com on the topics of homeschooling, attachment parenting and my national attachment parenting column, and on Facebook at All Natural Families and A Magical Homeschool.