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How to Win a GMO Debate: 10 Facts Why GM Food is Bad

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2. GMOs contaminate―forever.
GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

3. GMOs increase herbicide use.
Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―they defy deadly weed killer. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide.

Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

4. Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.
By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Environment, Lawns & Gardens, Nature, Nature & Wildlife

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

165 comments

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6:22PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

I knew they were bad but not to what extent. It's not surprising, although everyone knowing the facts must surely be screaming, "stop creating them!" Why are they doing this? I thank the stars every day I live in a country where everything is correctly labelled and there are very few gmo's. Judging by some of the comments here, some people believe exactly what Monsanto et al want them to. There are none so blind as those who cannot see. Thank you for the informative article, Melissa.

5:36PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

This article was simply terrible. I wanted to learn what cogent, well-informed arguments might be made against GMO foods, and I was open to any evidence that might be offered. Instead, I found a list of unsupported, poorly stated complaints against GMOs based on nothing but the author's fear of technology. There was not a single citation, nor any specifics as to what is supposed to be dangerous, or why. If these are the best "facts" you can produce to "win a GMO debate" then you really, really deserve to lose that debate.

5:36PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

This article was simply terrible. I wanted to learn what cogent, well-informed arguments might be made against GMO foods, and I was open to any evidence that might be offered. Instead, I found a list of unsupported, poorly stated complaints against GMOs based on nothing but the author's fear of technology. There was not a single citation, nor any specifics as to what is supposed to be dangerous, or why. If these are the best "facts" you can produce to "win a GMO debate" then you really, really deserve to lose that debate.

2:07PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

There is still not reproduced science showing GMO is bad to eat. There are some issues that apply to monoculture, factory farming and herbicides, but not specific to GMO. Yes there was Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini and colleagues new study about GMO corn, lets see if it can be reproduced independently. Otherwise, there is just a lot of fear mongering here in addition to demonstrable incorrect and over generalized statements. Let's also mention some of those "facts" are not directly related to GMO's. There's also this Popular-Science article published yesterday: http://www.popsci.com/article/science/core-truths-10-common-gmo-claims-debunked

4:34AM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

Um, you forgot to include the science in this article...

4:00AM PDT on Jun 27, 2014

If you think these ten half-truths based on no citations and junk science is going to help you win a debate, guess again. Every single one of these claims can be refuted by peer-reviewed science. There are limited exceptions. GM has increased herbicide use slightly (when you measure kg/acre) but it is with an herbicide with extremely low environmental impact and toxicity, so this is a step forward from previous formulations. This is the kind of spin used in this article to fool the reader. Evoking the "tobacco" issue is just a rhetorical tactic.

If you read the science, understand the issues and learn the facts, you see that this is technology that has strengths and limitations and many more benefits than risks.

Also, the author of this piece gets paid well for public appearances and sells books and documentaries on the dangers of GM, so he gets rich off of keeping people scared of good food. Think about that.

11:09AM PDT on May 30, 2014

Wish I had seen this article 3 years ago to CORRECT the many half-truths, and outright deceptions it contains..

7:25AM PDT on Apr 18, 2014

I wish the GMO lobby would be more honest!

11:02AM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

May be just one thing. Let's make this world better place for us and for our children to stop spoilling and poisonning this only soil, that we still get by gmo and attached pesticides and herbicides as Roundup Ready is:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/All_executives_bodies_of_all_countries_These_are_mainly_goverments_Complete_ban_of_all_production_of_all_genetical_modif/

11:01AM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

May be just one thing. Let's make this world better place for us and for our children to stop spoilling and poisonning this only soil, that we still get by gmo and attached pesticides and herbicides as Roundup Ready is:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/All_executives_bodies_of_all_countries_These_are_mainly_goverments_Complete_ban_of_all_production_of_all_genetical_modif/

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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