This is a controversial issue, and we do not have definitive answers. However, we are aware of pros and cons of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) that we wish to offer.
Genetic modification is a new technology. It is barely 20 years old. It refers to plants and animals which have had their internal genetic code modified artificially, by injecting genetic material from a different organism. This is not the same as the selective breeding practiced by Luther Burbank.
The largest share of the GMO crops planted globally are from seed created by the United States firm Monsanto, predominately crops which are resistant to Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide. Monsanto states that glyphosate is safe, but there are no peer-reviewed studies to confirm this. Conceptually, “Roundup-Ready” crops allow chemical weed control without themselves being damaged. But questions exist about the toxicity of Roundup, the dangers of mono-crop production, and the adaptive emergence of Roundup-resistent “super weeds.”
Here is information from Dr. Joseph Mercola that summarizes studies indicating that there are problems with GMO crops — that they pose a risk to our food security and safety. And there are questions regarding the long-term economic benefits to farmers from GMO’s.
And here is a February, 2014, article by the Associated Press, describing the voluntary labeling approach that the food industry would prefer.
We urge our fellow citizens to become informed about the pros and cons of GMO’s, in anticipation of an initiative measure that will likely appear on the November, 2014, election ballot in Oregon, calling for labeling of food made from GMO crops. If passed, it would echo a Vermont law passed in April, 2014, making Vermont the first state to pass such legislation. More states are likely to follow.
In the meantime, we can mention that food labeled “organic” cannot contain GMO organisms or pesticide/herbicide residue.
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