October 05, 2021 Updated on October 19, 2021 3 min read
Eighty percent of all GMO crops are engineered to be herbicide tolerant. Perhaps the most well-known example of this is Roundup. Genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready crops are genetically designed to withstand the application of Roundup herbicide. Farmers are able, therefore, to spray an entire field of crops 1-3 times or more after the crop has emerged, keeping their desired monoculture unharmed while controlling the pesky weeds around it. Read on to learn more about the connection between GMO's and herbicides.
The most common genetically engineered foods include alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, potato, soy, sugar beet and zucchini.
The answer to this question is complex and widely debated. On one end of the debate, GMO’s may offer solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Scientists, for example, are working to create GMOs that are resistant to drought. This technology may offer a solution to food insecurity in drought-stricken areas. On the other end of the debate is the reality that most GMOs are not grown for human consumption, but rather, are grown to make animal feed or fuel. When GMO’s do show up in human food, they tend to show up as fast food or non-nutritional additives such as oils, sugars, and preservatives. Unless labeled Organic or Non-GMO, processed foods are great hiding places for genetically modified (GM) foods. Here’s a helpful list of where to find these hidden GM ingredients. Genetically engineered herbicide tolerant crops are likely neither good nor bad, but the abuse of their application and farming methods come with many social, health and environmental risks.
More than ever, shoppers are becoming aware of the controversy around GMOs and the herbicides that support their growth. More shoppers are opting for Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA Organic foods. This bottom-up pressure continues to sway food brands and retailers to adopt GMO-free policies and supports Non-GMO and Organic farming practices. Your purchasing power directly informs a larger movement towards a more sustainable food system.