What Are GMOs and Why They Aren’t So Great

By John Hoff / October 31, 2016

what-are-gmosGMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism and is the process in a laboratory where the DNA from one species, such as fish, are merged into the genes of some other plant or animal.

This usually involves transferring viruses and/or bacteria from one species to another.

If that seemed confusing, watch this very insightful video:

So Why Did They Invent GMOs?

There are a few reasons as far as I can find as to why GMOs were invented and are being administered. These reasons include:

  • to enhance growth and/or efficiency of food conversion
  • to enhance commercially significant flesh characteristics
  • to control reproductive activity and/or sexual phenotype
  • to increase resistance of species to pathogens/parasites
  • to increase tolerance to/of environmental variables such as temperature
  • to modify behavior, e.g. aggression
  • to control fertility and/or viability

In some ways these things all make sense. Here’s a couple reasons why…

1. According to The North American Meat Institute (NAMI), the U.S. exported 1.7 billion metric tons of beef and beef variety meat in 2014.

That’s a heck of a lot of meat.

2. Check out some stats on meat consumption.

meat-consumption

The Wall Street Journal quoted the U.S. Department of Agriculture about how in 2012, the average American consumed 71.2 pounds of red meat (beef, veal, pork, and lamb) and 54.1 pounds of poultry (chicken and turkey).

Okay so can you see that we need LOTS of meat to be produced and hey, if you can modify animals to produce more milk, bigger eggs, meat, etc. then our economy can thrive and we can all be well fed with those tasty ribs at night.

But the “benefits” of the invention of GMOs doesn’t stop there…

Plants have also been the recipients of genetically modified organisms for a number of reasons, such as:

  • to survive cold weather
  • not die when sprayed with insecticides
  • grow bigger fruit, vegetables, corn, potatoes, etc.
  • contain a pesticide trait already in the plant to make bugs not like it

crop-dustingProbably the most notable reason for GMOs in our foods we grow are to make them resistant to herbicides. This makes it so farmers can spray poison over the crops and the plants won’t die.

Listen, the ideal benefits are totally awesome.

Why?

Well, as humans we have a huge problem on our hands. Watch this video to see what I mean.

World Population from Population Education on Vimeo.

If you watched the video, doesn’t this remind you of the old question you were asked back when you were a teenager in regards to would you rather have a penny a day for 30 days or $1 million dollars?

You remember the answer, right? If not, watch this:

Our population works just like compound interest.

When you have 1 million people on the Earth procreate, it’s not such a big deal and doesn’t make a huge dent in the resources which our planet can provide.

But when you have 5 billion people procreate, well that is a little different. And don’t just think it doubles in size, many people have many kids, not just one (I have 4).

The Downside To GMOs

I’m all for technology helping our race thrive and survive; in fact, I think given our population and planetary consumption growth, technology isn’t just something nice to have, it will be a necessity to survive.

Have they invented those Star Trek food replicators yet? Wait… I think we are onto something.

But what we have right now are GMOs and here’s some problems with them.

Remember above how I mentioned that one of the reasons for genetically modifying our crops is so that they are resistant to herbicides?

Well the problem here is that they’ve found some of the poison which is sprayed on the plants remain on the plants and then are consumed by… YOU.

According to EWG.org, a group who empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.

The widespread adoption of genetically engineered (or “GMO”) crops over the past two decades has led to an explosion in the use of toxic weed killers.

Nearly all corn and soybeans in the U.S. – totaling more than 150 million acres – are genetically engineered to withstand glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. But overreliance on glyphosate has led to the growth of “super weeds” that are resistant to the weed killer. Today, more than 60 million acres of U.S. farmland are infested with weeds resistant to glyphosate.

Because of this super weed problem, farmers are turning to a chemical cocktail of glyphosate and 2,4-D, a possibly cancer-causing herbicide linked to Parkinson’s disease and thyroid problems. The leading cancer researchers at the World Health Organization recently classified glyphosate alone as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a M.I.T. researcher, has researched extensively regarding the dangers of glyphosate.

Posted in the Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry, her and Dr. Anthony Samsel mention that Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the pervasive herbicide, Roundup, and its usage, particularly in the United States, has increased dramatically in the last two decades, in step with the widespread adoption of Roundup®-Ready core crops. (source Dr. David Perlmutter).

Isn’t that the nature of life?

You invent something, like GMOs or Penicillin, but the radical overuse of them spawns new “super” problems and other adverse problems arise.

The Problem With GMOs in Animals

I’m not pretending to be an expert here, but I’ve read (or read about) some very insightful studies…

And I should know a little about this stuff since we sell products we advertise as NON-GMO.

The Culinary Collection of Seeds

I know many of you are vegetarians and vegans… and that’s awesome. Me though, I love to barbeque and I love my brisket, ribs, chicken, steak, etc.

Red Meat and Cancer?

You’ve probably heard about how eating red meat can cause cancer. Well, this is true in some regards and not necessarily others. You have to look at what’s really going on here.

Is it simply red meat that causes cancer? Is it the way you cook it? Is it what the animal was fed?

The latter is where I’m going to focus here as it relates to GMOs in animals.

According to Dr. Dale Woerner, assistant professor with the Center for Meat Safety & Quality at Colorado State University, 97% of the beef produced in the U.S. is grain-fed feedlot beef, while the other 3% is grass-fed (source).

Being that 97% of our cattle (i.e. red meat) are fed inflammatory grains (grains are an inflammatory), the cattle’s meat are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats, often laced with antibiotics, and keep in mind that the grain used to fatten these animals is typically a genetically modified product (GMO).

This is the meat that generates these statistics related to breast cancer.

Crazy, isn’t it?

Organic vs. Grass-Fed Meat vs. GMO

For me, GMO-Free is more important than Organic, but I typically look for both.

Organic beef comes from cattle who are raised with:

  • no antibiotics
  • no growth hormones
  • are fed an organic vegetarian diet (i.e. the food is organically grown)

This diet may or may not include GMO laced, inflammatory grains.

Grass-fed beef comes from cattle who only eats grass, hay and forage; however, the grass and hay may not be organic. If the hay and grass in a grass-fed cow’s diet is organic, then the beef is both organic and grass-fed.

It’s a tough struggle on which is better or worse for you (GMOs or Non Organic) because antibiotics get in the way. When animals are given antibiotics, some of that passes along to you when you eat the meat.

This in turns causes problems for your gut bacteria.

Conclusion

While GMOs are rooted in doing good for the survival of mankind and helping farmers with weed, pests, and weather problems…

The implications of using the GMO technology are quite severe in the health of the human species (and animals which are also modified).

It’s pretty darn hard to remove all GMOs from your diet and if you do manage to do it, I bet it’s pretty darn expensive.

About the author

John Hoff

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