A Quick History of GMOs

Continuing our series for non-GMO month, here’s a little GMO history. Without exaggeration, GMOs have altered global evolution in a way that can’t be taken back or undone. In my opinion, not much good has come from this alteration.

First a clarification – non-GMO month is about food. These articles are about food. GMOs, in labs, and a few other settings, have created some great things (like GM bacteria to create insulin). In food….not so much. The first GM food was a tomato that had a greater shelf life and called Flavr Savr, unleashed in 1994 not long after the FDA declares GE foods ‘not inherently dangerous’ without any actual testing or long-term trials. So why isn’t Flavr Savr still around? Cause it tasted like crap. Why? Who knows! That’s the major problem. Every genetic modification has unintended consequences.

So, they withdrew Flavr Savr quickly, but later in the decade started unleashing many more varieties, staying in commodity crops this time so unintended consequences were less obvious. Monsanto exploded on the scene with Grapeseed (Canola), Soy, Corn, and Cotton – all with extra genes to withstand Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide.

And so GM crops have taken over our food, without any requirement of labeling or testing of new varieties for food safety. 94% of conventional soybeans are GM. 0% of Organic soybeans are, BTW, but if you’re eating any non-organic soy, it’s genetically modified. 86% of canola oil and 75% of corn is GM. This has led to the application of an additional 318 million more pounds of the herbicide over the last 13 years than would have happened without the GM crops.

All of these percentages are expected to increase to total GM domination by 2015. With new varieties unleashed every year, many varieties are not commodities but fresh vegetables sold to you at the store (conventionally, again Organic doesn’t allow GM). GM sweet corn, beets, potatoes, even squash are all coming to your plate soon with no labeling. You won’t know. Ok, so everything’s being genetically engineered….so? Next up – dangers of GM foods.

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of posts celebrating non-GMO month by Greenling co-founder Mason Arnold.

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One response to “A Quick History of GMOs

  1. concerned student

    So, how much do you actually know of genetics? You realise that every single type of conventional breeding leads to “added genes” and genetic shuffling? Admittedly, Monsanto are not a sound company ethically. But as we circlejerk over organic production in the West, starvation rates are at a global high. Shouldn’t we try to feed the world before we start putting restricitons on how it’s done? Feeding the world with organic farming is not a possibility, maybe that’s something you should research before you spout anti-GM rhetoric.

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