With genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we risk turning our food into a patented commodity controlled by a few multinationals, thus stripping farmers and consumers of their rights. GMOs are unreliable (from a scientific point of view), inefficient (from an economic point of view), unsustainable (from an environmental point of view), little known (from a health point of view) and obsolete (from a technical point of view).
We want our land and our tables to be free from GMOs. Why?
It’s not true that they feed the world
99 percent of GMO crops are for animal feed and biofuels, not for human nutrition, and land given over to the growth of GMOs is being expanded to the detriment of food production.
It’s not true that they produce more
GMOs have not increased productivity. According to official data from the United States Department of Agriculture, there has been no recorded increase in the soya and corn yield following the introduction of GMOs to American agriculture.
They do not reduce the use of chemicals
Genetically modified plants are resis- tant to specific herbicides. For example, Monsanto sells genetically modified corn seeds and also sells Roundup Ready, an extremely potent herbicide, the only one that can be used on this corn. However, using Roundup on GM fields does not eliminate all the weeds, some of which resist the herbicide, increasingly so generation by generation. New chemicals thus have to be invented to deal with them.
They impoverish biodiversity
GMOs require larger areas of land and intensive monoculture cultivation to reduce production costs. This in turn means that farmers are displaced from their land and cultures and traditional knowledge are lost.
They allow multinationals to control food
The multinational companies that patent and produce GMOs control most of the seed market and often also produce herbicides and fertilizers.
They compromise the food sovereignty of peoples
How can organic, biodynamic and conventional farmers be sure that their crops are not contaminated? Even a limited dissemination of GMO cultivation in open fields would change our agriculture, cancelling our freedom to choose what we cultivate and eat.
They compromise freedom of choice of consumers
GMO labeling laws are lacking in unifor- mity and inadequate. In Africa and Asia no legislation exists at all. In the USA, since no difference is acknowledged between products containing GMOs and conventional products, it is not compulsory to inform consumers of the presence of GMOs. In Europe, producers are obliged to declare the presence of GMOs, if the quantity exceeds 0.9 percent.
Also in Europe, most animal feeds on the market contain genetically modified soya, but it is not compulsory to state anything at all on the labels of by-products, such as milk or meat.
This article has been published in the Slow Food Almanac. Click here to read the whole issue.