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New York Times Takes Critical Look at False Promise of GMOs

Thursday, November 10, 2016 - Striking a blow to the argument that genetically modified (GMO) crops will help “feed the world,” a New York Times report concluded that, compared to Western Europe, the United States and Canada have "no discernible advantage" in yields after embracing GMOs.

Investigative reporter Danny Hakim's piece argues that in the last two decades GMO crops have been a mainstay in conventional agriculture and the technology has not led to larger yields nor reduced pesticide use, despite the biotech industry's promises of both.

Here are some nuggets of information from the NYT article:

  • "The United States and Canada have gained no discernible advantage in yields—food per acre—when measured against Western Europe, a region with comparably modernized agricultural producers like France and Germany," he wrote.
  • The National Academy of Sciences reported that GMO crops have not, to date, increased actual yields and should not be exclusively relied upon to meet long-term food security needs.
  • The widespread adoption of GMOs has also increased the use of herbicides, even though top GMO seed supplier/Roundup maker Monsanto claims its products would "decrease the overall use of herbicides.”
  • Since genetically modified crops were introduced in the United States two decades ago for crops like corn, cotton, and soybeans, the use of toxins that kill insects and fungi has fallen by a third, but the spraying of herbicides, which are used in much higher volumes, has risen by 21 percent. In France, use of insecticides and fungicides has fallen by a far greater percentage—65 percent—and herbicide use has decreased as well, by 36 percent.”
  • The tragic cycle of using ever-stronger herbicides to combat herbicide-resistant superweeds has resulted in devastating crop damage after farmers illegally sprayed their GMO soybeans and cotton with drift-prone dicamba in order to beat back weeds that have evolved against Monsanto's flagship product, Roundup.

The article concluded that, ”GMOs are designed to increase the sales of the proprietary toxic pesticides and patented seeds of Monsanto and the other gene giants, and offer nothing in the way of increased nutrition, yield, adaptation to climate change, nor reduction of pesticide and chemical inputs."

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