Slow Food is against the commercial planting of genetically modified (GMO) crops and works to promote GM-free food and animal feed.
And this is why…
Biodiversity at risk – Where they are grown, GM crops tend to occupy large areas and are linked to intensive monoculture systems that wipe out other crops and ecosystems.
Toxic crops, toxic land – Most GM crops fall into one of two categories: They are either engineered to resist chemical herbicides, or engineered to produce insecticides themselves. When herbicides are used on resistant crops, over time the weeds develop resistance, leading to the use of even more chemicals. Crops engineered to produce insecticides on the other hand produce toxins that are not only harmful to pests but other insects such as butterflies, moths and insect pollinators.
Corporate control on the rise – GM crops are patented, which allows large multinational companies, such as Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer and Dow, to control the entire GM food chain. The multinational companies that patent and produce GM seeds control the majority of the seed market and often also produce herbicides and fertilizers. Patenting genetic material has shifted the balance of economic power from farmers towards big business in their aggressive pursuit of profit.
Small-scale farmers under threat – GM crops denature the role of farmers, who have always improved and selected their own seeds. GM seeds are owned by multinationals to which the farmer must turn every new season; second-generation GMOs do not give good results. It is also forbidden for farmers to try to improve the variety without paying expensive royalties.
Furthermore, farmers risk being sued by big corporations if their crops are accidentally contaminated with patented GM crops. Pollen from crops such as oilseed rape is easily spread via wind and insects to neighboring fields. There have been hundreds of such cases in the US, where Monsanto, Syngenta, BASF and DuPont have sued small farmers.
No space for food culture – GM products do not have any historical or cultural links to places or people.
Poor facts on health and safety – Little is understood about the health effects of GMOs, but recent studies have shown that animals fed with GMO-containing feed can develop health problems. In many parts of the world including the EU, studies on GM crops are carried out by the same companies that produce them, casting doubt on the quality and objectivity of data.
The myth of feeding the world – Multinationals claim that GMOs will solve the problem of world hunger, however since they began to be marketed two decades ago, the number of starving people in the world has in fact grown, just like the profits of the companies that produce the seeds. In countries like Argentina and Brazil, GM soy has swept away food crops such potatoes, corn, wheat and millet (essential to local daily diets) in order to provide alternatives crops for profit. The majority of GM crops do not provide human food, but rather animal feed and biofuels. GMOs have also not increased productivity: data from the Department of Agriculture in the US shows that there has been no recorded increase in soya and corn yields since the introduction of GMOs.
In a nutshell, continued industry promises about the ability of GM crops to tackle the world’s growing social problems are a myth: They have reduced biodiversity, polluted landscapes, threatened the future of small-scale farming, reduced the food security of the world’s poorest people and called into question our food sovereignty.
They have not fed the world, but rather concentrated profits and power into the hands of a few ruthless companies. They put at risk our right to choose what to cultivate and how.
It’s time to stop the big scam.