A picture above is worth a 1000 words. So much for reduced herbicides since the introduction of GMOs about 25 years ago.
When weeds become resistant to herbicides, new GMOs must be formulated to be resistant to additional toxic chemicals. More R&D costs equal higher seed prices. Farmers who habitually use GMO seeds become addicted to purchasing the newly reformulated seeds and their corresponding reformulated herbicides in a never ending vicious cycle.
3. GMOs make more Nutritious Food: FALSE
The first attempt to increase the nutritional value of the food we consume by genetic modification was the Golden Rice project. Promoted as a way to prevent childhood blindness caused by a deficiency in Vitamin A, a gene from corn and (animal) bacterium was embedded in a rice variety that helps produce beta carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A in the human body.
Field trials of the rice never never reached the affordability and yields required to make it commercially viable. In addition, the original premise that a Vitamin A deficiency alone caused blindness was flawed as it was later proven that a combination of dehydration and malnutrition in children prevented the absorption of Vitamin A causing the blindness. Golden Rice was fighting a symptom, not the cause.
No comprehensive studies have been done to check the phytochemical dilution in vegetables as they get genetically modified. Without external fortification it is today virtually impossible to genetically create desirable phytochemicals, micronutrients and alkaloids within a vegetable and have them bio-available to humans. No, GMOs have not enhanced human nutrition.
The Next Emerging non-tariff trade barrier- GMO Foods
While the GMO/Non-GMO battle continues, health conscious consumers around the world are increasingly purchasing natural and organic foods. Acreage certified as organic is at an alltime high, and many of the high profile food producers are entering the organic market. (By definition, organic foods are certified non-GMO)
American consumers are becoming more wary of what ingredients are in their food and are calling for mandatory GMO labeling by food manufacturers. While several food and agrochemical companies are fighting this, it seems almost inevitable that more descriptive labeling is on the way and with that, the debate will almost certainly escalate.
Supermarkets are already demanding non GMO labels. Regulators are scrambling to keep pace. The foundation for a ban on GMO imports into the US and other developed markets (or at any rate increased trade barriers) is an all too realistic scenario.
It appears that the next green wave of food production is at a crossroads in the US, but the manufacturers of GMOs are not waiting to see which direction the American consumer takes. They are aggressively marketing to European and Asian countries, using the same promises they made to American farmers. They question is - will history repeat.
The march of science is unstoppable and genetics is no exception. Science allows us to dream big. But the pursuit of a big dream demands careful callibration and the study of unintended consequences. Our future prosperity lies in our intelligent application of science and not in the mindless pursuit of what can be done as opposed to what ought to be done.
It is true that dozens of countries (28 as of today) have allowed the growth of genetically modified crops in their farms. But it is sobering and heartening to know more countries have banned it than adopted it. Among them Russia, China and the European Union. India is on the fence but veering towards permitting GMOs. It will do well to pause. India has the potential to be the breadbasket to the world. Many things can go wrong in the pursuit of that vision. Adopting GMOs is certainly one of them