What’s the Story on GMO Technology?

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By Rod Osthus

The future of agriculture is entirely dependent upon developing a different mindset—not just by those of us employed in the industry, but by every member of society. Probably the greatest mindset change that needs to take place involves Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

GMOs are, without a doubt, the most controversial topic related to agriculture and are of large concern to a lot of the population. People in the know understand that GMOs help farmers raise better quality, higher yielding crops. Genetically modified plants have the ability to protect themselves from the negative impact of Mother Nature and produce to their genetic potential. Those less informed on GMOs are worried about just one thing—the impact they may have on the safety of the food they eat.

It’s reported that 80% of the processed foods on the shelves in the United States are genetically modified. But genetic modifications have been taking place for centuries by way of both man and nature. In fact, nature has been one of the most prolific genetic modifiers without even being noticed. All man has done is speed up the process by making plant improvements more efficient and more effective. The problem is too many people don’t fully understand man’s approach, so they believe what he’s doing is dangerous.

This edition of SeedSeller Training Journal is dedicated to every person involved in researching, producing, and selling GMOs. Right now, the anti-GMO crowd is winning the debate over whether they are bad or good. They’re winning by creating the wrong perception faster than we in Ag are creating the right perception. The entire perception game starts with having a story about GMOs, which I find very few people in our industry have.

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One response to “What’s the Story on GMO Technology?”

  1. Lindsey du toit says:

    The biggest mindset that needs to change in biotechnology is the anti-labeling movement. If study after study has shown no known major risks of GMO foods to humans, animals, or the environment, why is the biotech movement fighting against labeling GMO foods? Since >80% of the foods consumed in the USA have GMO ingredients, the average consumer is not inclined to make that level of change in buying habit once they realize a majority of of what they have been eating for many years has GMO ingredients. In contrast, the perception the anti-labeling movement has created of covering up information on GMO ingredients from the public on what they are consuming, i.e., an industrial-scale lack of transparency, has reinforced the distrust of many in the public of the industrial biotechnology food movement. Give the public full access to information so they can make their own choices. Lack of information is what breeds mistrust. Food labels are crammed with so much information (including ridiculous labeling of non-gluten, non-preservative, non-whatever-will-make-the-public-think-is-bad-for-them, …), that it cannot be a major inconvenience to the food industry to add yet another detail to the label. This misguidance of the GMO/biotech movement at preventing labeling of GMO foods has been amazing to watch, with no surprise to see the anti-GMO movement gaining momentum. Give the public full access to knowledge of what they eat by labeing GMO foods, and let people make their own choices. We have a sordid history of covering up what goes into our foods, medicines, cigarettes, etc. that it’s no wonder the public reacts negatively to a movement that creates an appearance of hiding information from the public.

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