The term “genetically modified organism,” or GMO, refers to a living organism whose genes have been altered by inserting gene from an unrelated species. This type of technology is called “transgenic” technology and has been used in over 40 species of plants for food and fibers. In crops, the technology has generally been used to incorporate genes that enhance resistance to insecticides, herbicides or pesticides, enhance drought tolerance, encourage higher yields or promote the ability to plant more in a smaller area.
The most popular herbicide-tolerant GMOs are Monsanto's Roundup Ready® crops, which are engineered to be resistant to the company's own broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup (Glyphosate). This enables growers to use large quantities of Roundup on their fields, and the herbicide will kill everything except the GM crop.
Today, over 80% of US corn, soybean and cotton crops are genetically modified. GM sugar beets were introduced in 2008, and already in the first year, 90% of the sugar beets grown in the U.S. are genetically modified.
There have been many arguments justifying the incorporation of GMOs into the food supply. However, there is evidence that GM foods have an increased risk of causing allergic reactions, and uncontrollable cross-pollination depletes crop diversity which has resulted in resistant “super-weeds” and “super-pests.” It's clear that the primary benefits of GM seeds are to the seed and pesticide companies, not to growers or consumers. And many risks are as of yet unknown.
The best way to avoid GM foods is to choose organic foods.
The family farmers of Organic Valley and Organic Prairie have not and will never knowingly or willingly utilize genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in any of our products, processes or feed. We have held this position since our inception in 1988.
Organic Valley and Organic Prairie have always been actively involved in advocating for the elimination of GMOs. We support the position of many environmental, health, farmer and consumer organizations, and call for immediate mandatory labeling of all foods and food ingredients produced from GMOs.
Organic Valley is a founding supporter of the Non-GMO Project.
In partnership with Center for Food Safety, Organic Valley supported the fight against GMO Round-up Ready alfalfa seed.
We believe that questionable farming practices, such as the use of GMOs, should be prohibited until proven beyond any doubt to be safe for animals, the environment and people.
The USDA Organic Rule states that "The use of genetically engineered organisms and their products are prohibited in any form or at any stage in organic production, processing or handling." Consumers can rest assured that Certified Organic means that a rigorous process has been followed which consumers can count on to avoid food that is produced with antibiotics, synthetic hormones and pesticides and GMOs.
Because organic farmers are required to meet rigorous audit requirements, we know that our farmers have not used GMOs, and have taken all required measures to protect against contamination.
Organic farmers take every preventive measure to stop GMO contamination of their crops, but cross pollination and drift from other farms is out of their control. We are very concerned that organic farmers not be punished when they are in fact victims of GMO proliferation.
According to a recent USDA assessment report, the FDA does not have the capacity to ensure the safety of food for the nation. The report states, “FDA’s inability to keep up with scientific advances means that American lives are at risk.”
Consumer concern over the safety of GMOs and other questionable farming practices such as cloning and the use of rBGH, demonstrates the erosion of their trust in the FDA’s ability to effectively protect the food supply.
The FDA should consider benefits to consumers first, NOT agri-business.
A Union of Concerned Scientists study shows that despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields.
See the study
This guide from Institute for Responsible Technology helps you avoid foods made with GMO ingredients.
90% of consumers surveyed say they want identifying labels on GM foods, but the FDA does not require such foods to bear an identifying label.
“Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds,” Claire Hope Cummings, Beacon Press, 2008.