GMO Foods and their Footprints

Does eating organic food affect our ecological footprint?

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What is GMO?

GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. While GMO can be found in many everyday foods, it is generally unhealthy. None of Chipotle's food has GMO. GMOs are often used to enhance the quality or extend expiration time for common food.

Aritificial Selection and Transgenic Organisms

The above picture is a little misleading. While genetically modifying an organism sounds like it could be done in a lab, most of the time it isn't. The classic form of genetic modification is simply breeding an organism with another to get a desirable trait. However, the modern "GMOs" are scientifically referred to as "Transgenic Organisms." Transgenic organisms are genetically engineered by fusing a trait from one species to a completely different one.

Effects of GMO Consumption

According to WebMD, GMOs could possibly lead to cancer, cause new allergies, and hurt the effects of antibiotics. However, no scientific studies confirm this.
Why are GMOs Bad?

John Green Video Summary

  • GMO food may help solve food challenges the world currently faces like hunger.
  • Modified organisms can help human deficiencies (some GMOS improve blind people's vision with vitamin A)
  • Transgenic organisms are the most common GMO (see info above)
  • First genetically engineered food licensed for human consumption: The Flavr Savr Tomato
  • The Gene Gun Tool is used to inject DNA into plant cells
  • Back Cross Breeding: crossing the new transgenic plant with breeding stock, over and over until you have a new transgenic crop
  • There are no proven negatives to human health. Yet.
  • Still concerns over plant health

The GMO Quagmire

Pros
  1. Better Nutrition: some types of enhanced foods can help fight vitamin deficiency.
  2. Environmental Benefits: Less time, chemicals, machinery, and land are needed for GMO crops, which can help reduce environmental pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil erosion.
  3. Higher Crop Success Rate: GMOs reduce risks of crop failure by improving resistance to insects.
  4. Enhance Immunity: some GMO foods have built-in antibiotic qualities that enhance the immune system.

Cons

  1. Causation with correlation?: some researchers say there could be a link between GMO foods and cancer. They also may cause food allergies. No studies confirm either of these claims.
  2. GMOs are unhealthy: According to responsibletechnology.org, doctors are urged to prescribe all-organic diets to their patients because GMOs can cause a number of health problems.
  3. Product Safety is a Red Flag: biotech companies use the same logic and strategies as tobacco companies to claim product safety.

Go Organic for the Earth

The benefits of eating and farming non-GMO, completely organic foods are staggering in regards to ecological footprint. According to fao.org, well managed organic systems greatly reduce the risk of groundwater pollution. In some areas where pollution is a real problem, conversion to organic agriculture is highly encouraged as a restorative measure.

GMOs are Toxic to non-target Organisms

According to onegreenplanet.org, GMOs that repel herbicides and pesticides, which some animals need to survive. Organisms like bees, birds, and butterflies are becoming endangered at the hands of modern farming techniques and GMOs.


Bees are used to pollinate foods that people eat, but the bees are now becoming endangered from the GMO’s. The bees are at risk from the pesticides from GMOs and if they start disappearing crops like potatoes, broccoli, and cotton will not grow anymore.

Why don't people buy more organic foods?

Most Americans recognize the benefits of eating organic foods. According to a recent poll by gallup.com, 45% of Americans actively seek organic groceries. But the prices of organic foods is what's probably turning people off.

In North America, over 80% of our food contains GMOs

The Cost of Organic Food

On average it costs three times as much to buy organic eggs or organic chicken than their genetically modified counterparts. A carton of conventional milk costs $2.28, while an organic carton costs approximately $4.43.

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/translating-uncle-sam/stories/is-organic-food-worth-the-cost-0