Thursday, September 20, 2012

GMOs and the Right to Know



In a recent study released this week, French scientists studied the effects of both genetically modified corn and also the pesticide in the popular and widely used product RoundUp. This subject has been covered extensively by the media, but we wanted to touch on some key points briefly.

The researchers studied a strain of Monsanto’s GM (genetically modified) corn. The modification to this corn specifically makes it resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, the main ingredient in another Monsanto product, RoundUp. These two products, the corn and herbicide, are meant to be used together; the RoundUp kills all the other plants except for the GM corn, which is able to grow.

In previous studies, some serious health concerns have been raised about each of these products individually. But since the GM corn and RoundUp are used in combination virtually everywhere this strain of corn is grown, it is important to look at them together, which is one of the things this study investigates.


While serious questions about the methodology of this study have been raised (not least of which include that the strain of rats used are prone to mammary tumors), its results have been widely publicized and raises important questions about the safety of GM crops.

Here in California, there is a voter initiative on the ballot this coming election that will determine if GMOs in food products need to be specifically labeled. This landmark issue will likely have repercussions throughout the United States; food companies don’t tend to make different packaging for different states, so these labels could start to show up across the country.


No matter what side of the GMO debate you’re on, we feel that consumers should have a right to know what is in their food. For more information on GMO's please see our two posts on this posts on this topic: Genetically Modified Organisms - What's For Dinner and Genetically Modified Foods (Part 2) - Monsanto's Misfits.

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The full text of the journal article (pdf) can be found here.

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Researched and written by Dr. Rebecca Malamed, M.D. with assistance from Mr. Malcolm Potter.

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