Did you know corn is not just used for human consumption or for livestock feed? Those are just a couple of the 4200+ uses of corn. OVER FOUR THOUSAND! Corn production isn’t very big in Canada, but our neighbours to the south, the United States, is by far the largest corn producer in the world producing about 1/3 of the world’s corn crop.
So why am I talking about how versatile corn is? Well, the many uses of corn got me thinking: why do the anti-GMO activists think that biotechnology (the technology used to make GMOs) is unacceptable in our food system? Especially because I assume they feel it is acceptable in other areas of their lives.
Since 89% of all corn produced in the United States is genetically engineered, I figure if activists were truly committed to their cause, maybe they should strive to live true “GMO-free” lives? As you can see above, corn is not just used for our food and to feed livestock. It is used to make fuel, plastics, cardboard, shampoos and so much more.
So to the activists—why stop with avoiding GMOs in your diet? Could you stop using the computer and the smart phone that likely has corn by-products in it? Can you stop painting your protest signs with paint that was made from GMO corn or GMO soy? Could you stop applying your cosmetics, using shampoos, driving your cars, and so on? Would you go so far as to refuse to use medicines such as aspirin, penicillin and Mannitol that were made with GMO corn? I think it would be pretty hard to live a GMO-free life, especially if you’re a Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic, you’ll need that miraculous life-saving GMO insulin to sustain your life on a daily basis.
GMOs You Didn’t Know Were GMOs
Biotechnology is used in so many areas of our daily lives, not just in the food we eat. Did you know these items were made with some genetic engineering?
- Cheese – An enzyme needed to make cheese called chymosin in rennet is genetically engineered and 90% of cheese produced uses it
- Bread – Enzyme that enhances rising, strengthen the dough and prolong freshness is made by GE
- Detergent – Enzymes enhanced through GE to remove protein stains, grease, and starch
- Diapers – Bacillus microbe ferments corn sugar to lactic acid to create biodegradable polymer
- Stone washed jeans – Biotech enzyme fades and softens jeans
- Vitamins B12 & B2 – GE microbe development for fermentation
- Wine – GE yeast for fermentation
Benefits of Using GMOs for Consumer Products
- Reduced CO2 emissions
- Reduction of non-renewable energy
- Reduction of greenhouse gases
- Reduced use of petroleum
- Lower costs, price stability
- Biodegradable products
- Reduces hazardous waste
- Elimination of suspected carcinogens
Learn more here:
- Biotechnology Industry Organization
- Biotech Solutions for Renewable Specialty Chemicals & Food Ingredients
- Commercial products & Biotechnology
The Future of GMOs
As long as activists don’t get their way, the future genetically engineered crops and products seems endless! Just take a look at a few of the possibilities!
- Allergy-free peanuts
- Save the Florida oranges from citrus-greening disease
- Gluten-free wheat
- Golden Rice – vitamin A biofortified rice to combat blindness and death in developing countries (500 000 go blind every year, 50% of them die)
- Virus-resistant cassava – a staple crop in Africa
- DHA omega-3 canola oil – a sustainable way to get your omega-3’s vs. from wild fish
- Malaria vaccine
- Innate™ potatoes – reduce black spots from bruising, non-browning, reduced sugars, decreased potential formation of acrylamide
- Arctic Apples – non-browning apple, reduces food waste, encourages more apple consumption
Before you paint (or keep painting) biotechnology in agriculture in a bad picture, try to see how vital it is in the rest of our lives. As I have always said, genetic engineering is not the solution to feeding the world, but it certainly is a vital tool that farmers all around the world deserve to have access to.