What is a genetically modified organism (GMO)? It is an organism that arises from the genetic material (DNA) of a host animal, plant or bacteria that has been altered by the insertion of a gene from another species. This process is referred to as “genetic engineering” (GE) or “genetic modification” (GM).
The biotech industry spin is that this process is safe and predictable and uses terms like “engineering” and “splicing” to create the impression of a highly controlled, precise process. It is not. It is unpredictable, imprecise, invasive and violates the host’s DNA and produces products that are unstable. This is due in part to the fact that genetic material is not static but fluid and dynamic.
Unlike biotech industry claims, GE is radically different from hybridization, cross-breeding, selective breeding or cross-fertilization which are all sexual processes which occur in nature all the time. They clearly know their claims are false, as does the FDA. The major biotech firms are Monsanto, Dupont, Dow Chemical, Bayer Cropscience and Syngenta
The two major GE technologies are 1) insect resistance (Bt) due to a gene from a soil bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis) and 2) herbicide tolerance to Roundup (glyphosate).
Only five GM crops are widely grown: Soybeans (94%), Canola (90%), Cotton (90%), Corn (88%) and sugar beets. About 50% of papaya is GM, all from Hawaii and small amounts of yellow summer squash, zucchini and alfalfa. About 70% of all processed foods contain GE ingredients.
In 1999, 671 scientists from 76 countries signed an open letter to all governments, which declared as follows. “We call for the immediate suspension of all environmental releases of genetically modified crops and products, both commercially and in open field trials for at least five years; for patents on living processes, organisms, seeds, cell lines and genes to be revoked and banned; and for a comprehensive public inquiry into the future of agriculture and food security for all.
Internal documents of the FDA, (not available to the public until a lawsuit forced their release), revealed that their scientists warned that GM foods might produce toxins, allergies, nutritional problems and new diseases.