Click here to get an update on the GMO labeling WIN in Vermont!
Basic Overview of GMO’s
The GMO in ‘GMO food’ stands for genetically modified organism. GMO’s are sometimes called GE for genetically engineered.
Which foods are GMO?
For a detailed explanation of GMO crops to watch out for visit the Non-GMO Project website
There are currently 9 genetically engineered crops available in the US according to the Non-GMO Project. They are:
- Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
- Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
- Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
- Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
- Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)
ALSO high-risk: Animal products (milk, meat, eggs, honey, etc.) because of contamination in feed.
Common Ingredients Derived from GMO Risk Crops Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Ethanol, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.
Currently there is no required labeling of GMOs in the U.S. Even food that is called ‘all natural’ may contain GMOs. Find out more from the links below.
Advocacy Groups, Consumer Resources, and Scientific Organizations
- Vermont Right To Know GMO’s: A collaborative partnership of NOFA-VT (Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont), Rural Vermont, VPIRG (Vermont Public Research Interest Group), and Cedar Circle Farm.
- Union of Concerned Scientists: Excellent resources on Impact of Genetic Engineering, including Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops.
- The Center for Food Safety is a national non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization.
- The Organic Consumers Association is a national non-profit, grassroots and online public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability.
- The Organic Center. Excellent resources, including ‘Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years.’
- Non GMO Project: Many GE resources, including ‘GM Crops Just the Science: Research documenting the limitations, risks and alternatives’.
- The Organic & Non-GMO Report is a news magazine that provides information you need to respond to the challenges of genetically modified (GM) foods.
Reports, Articles, and Webinars
On Health and Safety Impacts
- A literature review on the safety assessment of genetically modified plants. Environment International Volume 37, Issue 4, May 2011
- Sources and Mechanisms of Health Risks from Genetically Modified Crops and Foods, Biosafety Briefing, Sept 2013
- A long-term toxicology study on pigs fed a combined genetically modified (GM) soy and GM maize diet, 2013 scientific review, (pdf)
- Study on BT Hematotoxicity in Swiss Albino Mice by the Department of Genetics and Morphology, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Brazil. 2013 scientific study (pdf)
- First peer reviewed lifetime feeding trial finds “safe” levels of GM maize and roundup can cause tumors and multiple organ damage. William Malaurie Le Nouvel Observateur, September 19 2012
- European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER).No scientific consensus on GMO safety, 10/21/13
- The Food Industry’s Choice, article by by Robyn O’Brien, Nov 12 2013
On Environmental Impacts
- Recent studies show that Monsanto’s herbicide Round Up is destroying the habitat for Monarch butterflies, causing their alarming decline. One study showed that Iowa has lost almost 60 percent of its milkweed, and another found 90 percent was gone.
- Adverse impacts of transgenic crops/foods. Compilation of scientific papers published by the Coalition for a GM-Free India. Summary with links to studies and reports, 2013
- Transgene escape: Global atlas of uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered plants impact of the 10 years of the legalization of transgenic crops in Brazil, November 2013 -http://aspta.org.br/campanha/nov2013/ Transgene escape. Test Biotech, November 2013 (pdf)
- GM corn loses its edge against pests. New Scientist - September, 13 2012
- Organic Trade Association’s GMO White Paper(2011): a comprehensive discussion of GMO issues and organic food and agriculture.
- Doug Gurian-Sherman, senior scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, challenges the assertion that GMOs are needed in order to feed the world. November 25, 2013
- GMOs: Fooling – er, “feeding” – the world for 20 years?, article, GRAIN | 15 May 2013
- Non-GMO Food Market to Hit $800 Billion by 2017. article, Environmental Leader, November 2013
- France to maintain ban on GMO crops. article, Reuters - September 15, 2012
- G.M.O.’s: Let’s Label ‘Em By Mark Bittman. editorial, New York Times Opinionator
- The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes: A Global Citizens Report on the State of GMOs, 2011 report coordinated by Navdanya International, International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture, with the participation of The Center for Food Safety.
Videos, Clips and Films
- Dr. Michael Hansen, senior scientist for Consumers Union, remarks on why Consumers Union is supporting Washington’s GMO labeling ballot initiative (I-522 in 2013) and that I-522 will not raise food prices.
- One Mom’s Story: Robyn O’Brien, mother and founder of the AllergyKids Foundation shares her story on why she wants the FDA to label genetically engineered foods.Why Labels Matter to Moms
- Without labels on genetically engineered food, you have no way of knowing what you’re eating for dinner. Dining in the Dark GMO Trilogy: Unnatural Selections
- A one-hour 2011 webinar presented by Dr. Chuck Benbrook, Chief Scientist, The Organic Center.GMOs and Your Health
- The Gene Revolution, July 2013 GMO`s Explained: Dr. Thierry Vrain, former gmo scientist from Canada.
- Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) - Myths and Truths Based on the report “GMO Myths and Truths” by EarthOpenSource.org.
- GMWatch: Wide selection of videos, resources, news and alerts.
- The Video Monsanto Does NOT Want You to See! Brought to you by Nutiva and Elevate. September 2012. video
Get Involved to label GMOs
A Little History on VT Right To Know
The coalition was formed in 2012. After 3 years of grassroots and legislative organizing the nations’ first ‘no strings attached’ GMO labeling law was signed by the Governor on May 8, 2014. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2016. Read the final bill, H.112 as it passed the full legislative body in April 2014. Click here to read an update on the win. Learn more about labeling GMOs on the VT Right To Know Coalition’s website and facebook page.
photos: CCF staff