GMO Basics [infographic]

This post is part of Important Media’s Blog Action Day 2011 coverage. This year’s theme is FOOD! You can check out some more of today’s food-related posts from across the network on our official Blog Action Day 2011 page.

October is National Non-GMO Month, but the truth is, most people don’t know what a GMO is, much less why we wouldn’t want to consume them. The folks at Nature’s Path created an infographic for Non-GMO Month to explain a bit about what GMOs are and some of the major issues surrounding genetically modified organisms in our food system.

GMO Infographic


4 thoughts on “GMO Basics [infographic]”

  1. Wow, that infographic doesn’t even define GMOs right! GMOs don’t need to have DNA from other organisms, good examples of this are the Flavr Savr tomato and the Arctic apples. Neither of them have DNA from other species, just their own DNA in the antisense position. And of course there’s cisgenic GMOs like the potatoes at the University of Ghent, although it is hard to tell if the infographic mean that GMOs get DNA from other plant species or just another plant, but if the meant the former they’re wrong twice, and if they meant the latter, then what do they think conventional breeding is? Jeepers, how much do they know about GMOs? Not much apparently.

    Then there’s a picture of grapes being injected right below. There are no GE grapes on the market, and that isn’t even close to how genetic engineering is done. Why would they put an image like that there? Seriously, why would they put that there? It doesn’t happen that way, and it isn’t true. Why would they include it if informing people is their goal? Unless information is not their actual goal, it makes no sense.

    Then it neglects to mention the third trait in use, virus resistance. Perhaps that is because the most prominent example of a GE crop with this trait is the Rainbow papaya which was developed by the University of Hawaii. Do they not want to mention this for some reason? Then they neglect tom mention just one of the GE crops in development on awaiting approval. Of the promising anti-fungal GE trails, or the low GI wheat in Australia, or Golden Rice’s increased nutrient content, or the drought tolerant corn Monsanto plans to start selling in a few years, they make no mention of those or any other GE crops out there, instead acting as if what is here now is all that matters. It is a lot easier to make a position black & white when you have clearly defined sides, isn’t it? They also neglect to mention that herbicide tolerance is not exclusively the domain of genetic engineering and that there are conventionally bred varieties that are designed to resist herbicides, and that increasing the pesticide content of crops is one way they breed insect resistance in conventionally bred crops. Strictly speaking that part isn’t inaccurate but it sure is selective and seems designed to act as if GE crops (and only GE crops) are all about herbicides and pesticides and this is simply false.

    Then they seem to imply that there are GMOs in vitamin C and aspartame, which doesn’t even make sense. Then it neglects to mention the complex role politics plays in the banning fo GE crops, for example, European countries can’t simply block cheaper American and Canadian corn with protectionist policies imports due to WTO laws, but they can conveniently declare the GE crops used to be illegal and then subsidize the heck out of their domestic producers, which conveniently has the same effect as protectionism. Also missing is the African nations get a good chunk of change exporting food to Europe, and have banned GMOs simply because they would be foolish to lose that market. Think about what affects this has for those in the poorest parts of those countries for a little bit.

    Finally, it claims that GE crops have not been proven safe, which is as wrong as saying global warming isn’t happening. Sure, lets throw out the overwhelming majority of the data in favor for an oft cited handful of shoddy debunked studies and a conspiracy theory about how ex-VP Al Go….er, I mean, how Monsanto pulling all the strings to make loads of ill gotten cash. Yeah, right, it doesn’t sound any less wrong when you guys do it.

    Seems for something that’s supposed to inform about GMOs, whoever wrote that needs some informing themselves. Or does anyone deny that antisense GMOs exist and that they are also genetically engineered crops? For crying out load, whoever wrote this failed in the first sentence! No wonder there are so many people afraid of and against genetic genetic engineering when this is was passes for information on the topic. This thing is rubbish. I ought to make my own iconographic one of these days. Since infographics made by vested interests are okay (look at the oval on the bottom of the thing…who made it?) maybe Monsanto will help me with mine, hm:) That was a joke by the way.

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