The term “genetically modified organism,” or GMO, refers to a living organism whose genes have been altered by inserting a gene or genes 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 may enhance resistance to insects, 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 at least 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 increase the risk of allergic reactions, and uncontrollable cross-pollination depletes crop diversity. Current widespread GMO use has resulted in resistant “super-weeds” and “super-pests,” which has led to more spraying of ever more toxic pesticides and herbicides. It's clear that the primary benefits of GM seeds are to the seed and pesticide companies, not to growers or consumers. Precaution is clearly not part of the “plan.”
The best way to avoid GM foods is to choose organic foods.
The family farmers of Organic Valley and Organic Prairie produce organic foods without using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in any of our products, processes or feed. In fact, since our inception in 1988, we have fought a long battle against the use of GMOs in agriculture.
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 2007-2013 federal legal battle 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 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 the health risks to consumers first, BEFORE it considers the benefits to agri-business.
92% of consumers surveyed say they want identifying labels on GM foods, but the FDA does not require such foods to bear an identifying label.
Tip #1: Buy Organic
Certified organic products are not allowed to contain any GMOs. Therefore, when you purchase products labeled "100% organic," "organic," or "made with organic ingredients," all ingredients in these products are not allowed to be produced from GE ingredients.