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GMOs 101

The term “genetically modified organism” (GMO) occurs when genetic material has been changed in a way that does not occur naturally. It can also can be referred to as genetically engineered (GE) or transgenic.

The genetically engineered seeds that are destined to be in our food, have their DNA artifically altered in the laboratory using genes from bacteria or viruses to create plant breeds that do not occur in Nature. Most of the GMO seeds are genetically manipulated to either produce their own pesticides inside the cells of the plant (systemic) or it is engineered to withstand heavy doses of chemical pesticides in order to survive in the field. As a result, GMOs are implicated in ecological and environmental issues the collapse of biodiversity and the disappearance of pollinators.

Roundup, the chemical sprayed on most GMOs, has been linked to cancer, DNA damage, premature births, ADHD and the permutation of the endocrine pathways which can lead to obesity, heart problems, circulation issues and diabetes. Yet, the U.S. EPA has raised the allowable levels of glphyosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, in our food.

GMO ingredients have never been adequately tested for long-term impacts on public health despite hitting the market in 1996.

The transgenic food industry  has led to one of the most persistent debates about mandatory labelling. How can consumers make a conscious choice if they can’t understand the components that are in the food they are about to purchase or how these mysterious ingredients may affect your health or the health of your family.

A strong movement of opposition to genetic engineering in agriculture has developed throughout the world. The movement has led to a moratorium in the EU toward imported genetically modified (GM) products, as well as to acts of open opposition. In the United States opposition to transgenic crops and mandatory labeling is also mounting.

Unlike most other developed countries—such as the 15 nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and China—the U.S. and Canada has no laws requiring labeling of GE foods. Yet polls have repeatedly shown that the overwhelming majority of citizens in these two countries believe GE foods should be labeled. Health Canada, which shares responsibility with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for food labelling policies, does allow food makers to voluntarily mention whether their foods contain GM ingredients but these 'standards' are not effective.

The agrochemical industry is valued at over $42 billion and operates with impunity while over 355,000 people die from pesticide poisoning every year, and hundreds of thousands more are made ill. In addition, pesticide corporations have put livelihoods and jobs in jeopardy, including, farmers, beekeepers and fishermen.