If you do a Google search of the term “genetically modified,” your screen will soon explode with links to articles outlining the evils of GMO crops, the companies that provide them, and the farmers that use them. GMO food-labeling laws have been considered in more than 2 dozen states this year alone. Are you prepared to enter the discussion with your friends and neighbors?
First off, it’s important to understand that the people that are most passionately against GMOs have done A LOT of research on the topic. Their chosen information sources may be questionable, but not the amount of time and energy they’ve put into their crusade. If you choose to have a discussion on this topic, BE PREPARED. There are volumes of poorly constructed, non-scientific, encyclopedia style information bytes out there that feed into the anti-GMO culture.
What research have you done? Here’s a GMO fact sheet for more extensive information.
Here are some key information points to get you started about biotechnology (the term we like to use) or GMOs (the term the anti-folks like to use.)
- In the United States, more than 165 million acres of biotech crops were planted in 2010.
- In the United States, the majority of all the corn (88 percent), soybeans (94 percent) and cotton (90 percent) are grown using biotechnology. Other biotech crops grown in the United States are canola, squash, papaya, alfalfa, and sugarbeets.
- A record 15.4 million farmers in 29 countries are using agricultural biotechnology for a total biotech crop acreage of 366 million acres. Ninety percent (14.4 million) of these are resource-poor farmers in developing countries.
- The world’s top scientific authorities – such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, the National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences, the American Medical Association and the American Dietetic Association and the regulatory authorities for each of the products have concluded that foods with biotech-derived ingredients pose no more risk to people than any other food.
- Biotech crops have been cultivated for more than 15 years, and foods derived from agricultural biotechnology have been eaten by billions of people without any significant health problems.