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What are GMOs?
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, insects, plants, fish, and mammals. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food. The term GMO is very close to the technical legal term, ‘living modified organism’ defined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which regulates international trade in living GMOs (specifically, “any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology”).
This article focuses on what organisms have been genetically engineered, and for what purposes. The article on genetic engineering focuses on the history and methods of genetic engineering, and on applications of genetic engineering and of GMOs. Both articles cover much of the same ground but with different organizations (sorted by organism in this article; sorted by application in the other). There are separate articles on genetically modified crops, genetically modified food, regulation of the release of genetic modified organisms, and controversies. Learn more.
GET Involved Locally!
There is an Asheville/WNC group working to educate the public about GMOs and the efforts to label all foods containing genetically modified ingredients! And there’s a whole lot of info being shared HERE
The Fight to Label GMOs
With the growing evidence that GMOs are negatively impacting our food security and safety the efforts from a wide variety of citizen activist groups are growing to label all foods containing GMO ingredients. Here is a partial list of these groups, networks, and information on the actions and outcomes of GMO labeling:
Just Label It!
We have a right to know about food we eat and feed our families, but under current regulations, we don’t have that ability when it comes to genetically engineered (GE) foods. – Learn more.
Center for Food Safety
In 2011, Center for Food Safety submitted a formal legal petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on behalf of over 650 companies and organizations demanding that FDA require the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Since it was filed, 55 members of Congress and over 1.4 million people have submitted comments in support of the petition; yet, FDA has failed to take action to require the labeling of GE foods. Learn more.
Right To Know – GMO
Click here to explore what is happening in your state! Clicking on each state will provide you state specific information involving GMO labeling efforts.
FOOD DEMOCRACY NOW! Labeling GMOs: America’s Right to Know
For the past 20 years, Americans have been denied the right to know what’s in their food. Help make this the Change We Can Believe In: Label GMOs! Learn More…. Get Involved
Watch: The World According to Monsanto
There’s nothing they are leaving untouched: the mustard, the okra, the bringe oil, the rice, the cauliflower. Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as their property, royalties can be collected. We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it — it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world. The story starts in the White House, where Monsanto often got its way by exerting disproportionate influence over policymakers via the “revolving door”. One example is Michael Taylor, who worked for Monsanto as an attorney before being appointed as deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991. While at the FDA, the authority that deals with all US food approvals, Taylor made crucial decisions that led to the approval of GE foods and crops. Then he returned to Monsanto, becoming the company’s vice president for public policy.
Thanks to these intimate links between Monsanto and government agencies, the US adopted GE foods and crops without proper testing, without consumer labeling and in spite of serious questions hanging over their safety. Not coincidentally, Monsanto supplies 90 percent of the GE seeds used by the US market. Monsanto’s long arm stretched so far that, in the early nineties, the US Food and Drugs Agency even ignored warnings of their own scientists, who were cautioning that GE crops could cause negative health effects. Other tactics the company uses to stifle concerns about their products include misleading advertising, bribery and concealing scientific evidence.
Organic foods are produced using methods of organic farming. Currently, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic within their borders. In the context of these regulations, organic food is food produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by national governments and international organizations. Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, distinct from private gardening.
While the “organic” standard is defined differently in different jurisdictions, in general organic farming responds to site-specific farming and crop conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not allowed, although certain organically approved pesticides may be used under limited conditions. In general, organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.[
10 Things YOU can do to SAVE the BEES!
1 Stop using insecticides
2 Plant Bee-friendly plants
3 Create natural habitat gardens
4 Find out more about bees
5 Support your local beekeepers
6 Make you own ‘Wild bee’ house
7 Become a beekeeper
8 Lobby your local MP or MEP
9 Sign petitions banning pesticides
10 Encourage your local authority to do more to help bees
GREENPEACE: Bees in Decline
Insecticides in particular pose the most direct risk to pollinators
As their name indicates, these are chemicals designed to kill insects, and they are widely applied in the environment, mostly around cropland areas.