Hybrid plants can occur naturally or intentionally by cross-breeding plants to get the desired characteristics.This is done by transferring the male (pollen) of one plant to the female organ of another. Cross breeding is limited to exchanges between the same or very closely related, characteristics of species. It can also take a long time to achieve desired results and frequently interest do not exist in any related species.
GMO's or Genetically Modified Foods take genes from very different organisms and combine them. This way omega-3 can be added to seeds like soybeans or seeds can be engineered to survive herbicide and pesticide use. Most of the fear stemming from GMO crops come from these concerns: not knowing the long term effects, fear of allergic reaction, hurting small farmers, harming the environment, and poor oversight and regulation.
The regulation for genetically modified foods falls under three jurisdictions: The FDA, EPA, and USDA. This overlap creates a flawed regulation that allows companies to do their own testing on their products giving them As consumers we should demand that the FDA should be the one determining that our food is safe. We should not be relying on biotech companies like Monsanto to tell us if their food is safe. CSPI thinks that there should be a mandatory, premarket approval process by the FDA before biotech foods go on the market.
So why all the fuss about GMO food and labeling laws?
The USA does not require companies to label foods containing GMO's. Most people don't realize that Genetically Modified Foods are used in major food brands throughout the grocery store aisles. The most common GMO crops are corn, soybeans and canola oil. Examples of foods using these ingredients are: cereals, snack foods, cake and muffin mixes, soda and some baby foods. Since packaged foods already have labels and most companies are happy to change labeling when it is a perceived benefit; think low fat and heart healthy it doesn't make sense when companies say your food will cost more if GMO labels are added. According to the website, Just Label It there 64 countries around the world that use labels for GMO foods. Most European and Asian countries are included on the list along with some from Africa and South America.
What corporations are opposed to state GMO labeling laws?
Even if you are for GMO labeling your money may be helping defeat the measure. If you purchase any of the healthy and/or organic products owned by one of the companies below you are helping to defeat GMO labeling.
You should also be aware of any packaging changes from organic to natural. They do not mean the same thing.
This is a partial list of companies donating to defeat GMO labeling:
Cascadian Farms and Muir Glenn)
and of course Monsanto
For a full list of the 34 companies donating to the Grocery Manufacturers Association in opposition to GMO labeling click here.
For more information regarding GMO studies and food safety click here.
For an interesting website asking if we should grow GMO crops click here.