Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) stir emotions. Internet searches reveal dire warnings as well as assurances of their safety. I am sure I cannot settle disagreements and end debates, but I found information worth considering. Genes can be modified for different traits. My concern is with the herbicide tolerant GMOs. Herbicide tolerant crops tolerate the weed killer glyphosate and most soybeans, corn, canola, and cotton grown in North America today are herbicide tolerant GMO.
EPA tests have shown that glyphosate is not highly toxic to humans. But glyphosate is toxic to bacteria as well as plants. We depend on bacteria in our gut for digestion. Consuming glyphosate which kills bacteria that we need for optimum health is not a good idea. How much is too much? How much are we getting in common foods we eat? What are long term effects? We don’t know.
We do know that glyphosate is a systemic herbicide. The GMO crops take it in and glyphosate moves to the roots leaves and seeds of plants. The seeds of herbicide tolerant GMO crops (especially soybeans) are little capsules that test positive for glyphosate. The amount of glyphosate in seeds increases as allowable levels of glyphosate increase to deal with weeds that become herbicide tolerant.
We also know that chickens on factory farms today typically depend on GMO soybeans as their main source of protein. Factory farm chickens lay lots of eggs while eating GMO beans. And their life expectancy is very short. So we don’t get meaningful information about long term exposure from factory farm animals. Avoiding exposure to glyphosate that can kill bacteria that we depend on seems reasonable.