GMO – A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. It sounds harmless enough, but this term has sparked some heated discussion in the agriculture community as well as the general public. It is Halloween and I am interested in how you folks see GMO’s, are they “Ghastly Ghouls” or a “Gracious Godsend”?
Organic Authority, cites 8 reasons that GMO’s are ”Ghaslty Ghouls” and are bad for you. Included in the reasons is information about the yields of GMO’s versus Non-GMO’s, references to how safe or unsafe consuming GMO’s may be and even that GMO’s are not labeled in the United States so the we don’t even know when we are consuming them. Is this what we want? Are GMO’s an unproven product that is shown to yield less per acre for grain crops, doesn’t decrease the amounts of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides needed or may pose a health risk?
However, PolicyMic, depicts GMO’s as “Gracious Godsends” noting that GMO’s are no different that foods that we eat already. We don’t live in a sterile environment and therefore we are subjected to bacterium, viruses and other living organisms and their DNA. Agricultural Scientist Steve Savage, says this shouldn’t concern us. “Even though we are eating microbes, their genes, and their gene products on a grand scale, it is almost never a problem. In fact, some of these microbes go on to become part of our own bank of bacteria etc. that live within our digestive system — often to our benefit.” Further, genetic engineering has allowed scientists to develop crops that consume less water, grow in harsh environments and produce less carbon dioxide enabling production of cheaper food in greater quantites. Is this the Godsend that will enable us (humankind) to feed ourselves as we move into the future?
As noted there is much debate on the issue and many differing viewpoints along with the real and the “junk” science from both perspectives. Even among the VALOR fellows there are differing opinions about GMO’s. As with many issues the answer may be very elusive and will undoubtedly be slow to reveal itself.
The questions is, where do you stand? Ghoul or Godsend?