GMO corn

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) has turned into a huge buzz word in today’s society and has also caused a lot of fear of what is in our food. Misconceptions of GMO’s are all over the internet. Whether it be how “unhealthy” they are for you, or how the agriculture industry is “farmed and dangerous,” many have only heard about one side of the story and look over why GMO’s were created in the first place. Here are a few reasons why GMO’s are used and why they may not be as scary as you may think.

Selective Breeding FlowchartSelective breeding is not a new wave thing 

Selective breeding has actually been around since human civilization, and is not something that just recently “popped” up within our crops to harm us.  Cross-bred crops are bred by closely or distantly related individuals which contain desirable traits the other individual plant may not contain. This creates a new genetic code that produces desirable, more controlled traits and yields.  The reason agronomists breed genes is to create foods that are resistant to extreme weather, insects, and diseases. GM (genetically modified) crops are strong, healthy crops that can better withstand the environment.

pesticide warningGMO’s actually cuts down on pesticide use 

A huge fear many seem to have with genetically modified food is they believe we are just eating pure chemicals. Many assume non-genetically modified food contains less chemicals and are healthier for you. The difference between the two is that genetically modified crops are bred to withstand disease and pests to reduce pesticide use, while non-genetically modified crops actually use more pesticides and chemicals to keep the crop “healthy.” Pesticide application can be far more abused due to spraying too much pesticide on a non-GM crop, which actually results in higher toxins than a GM crop even contains. This also ties into people claiming non-GM crops are healthier. It has been proven that the nutrient levels in both GM crops and non-GM crops are the exact same, and that there is no difference between the two, except price differences. Claiming organic or non-GM crops are healthier is a marketing ploy done by producers to sell their products.

farm familyunpopular puffinFarmers have families they care about just like we do 

Farmers and workers in production agriculture are not people that should be feared. I know my farmer would never grow anything he wouldn’t eat or feed his children. Farmers have families just like everyone else in the world and want to be able to provide the best food they can on their dinner table for their families as well. Farmers also do not want to see anyone go hungry and they are doing their part of controlling hunger by planting genetically modified corn to increase yields to feed the world. By 2050 farmers will have to increase yields by 50% since the world population is expected to double. Land is a limited resource, so farmers are doing everything they can to produce as much food as possible with limited resources.

Just like IPhones, you either fear how they have taken over the world or you embrace them

You hear horror stories about all the popular items on today’s market every day. GMO’s are just like smartphones, no matter how much you fear they are taking over the world, you won’t live in a world without them! Taking the time to sit down and talk to a farmer instead of listening to second-hand stories the media has put out there will help lessen your fears about how our food is grown. So, step out onto the farm and see all that our food producers do for us!

corals profile pictureCoral Johnson
Illinois State University Student


  1. Friends, many scientific studies have shown that GMO is very unhealthy, wreaking havoc on the body, especially the gut, and causing tumors in rats (see attached link). The longest running GMO rat study was published and then retracted by the publisher (against the authors wishes) due to political and financial pressure by you guessed it Monsanto. To me, GMO is a form of pollution. Whether it’s Agent Orange, Bee Colony Collapse from Fungicide (absolutely proven at this point) PCBs, DDT or GMO the ag chem lies continue and the greedy Farm Lobby (including greedy rich farmers and land grant universities, who receive most of their funding these days from huge agribusinesses) perpetuates them, perpetually “agvocating” that you consume more and more nutritionally deficient GMO grain. I think one day humans will look back and realize that Monsanto and others have polluted the natural DNA pool of plants. Unfortunately, this pollution can never be undone as GMO systematically contaminates the world’s food supply. The farm lobby continues to push GMO because, as usual, its all about the money. The good think is that more and more people are waking up and demanding organic, non-GMO food.

    1. “Friends”: condescending. I don’t know you.
      “many scientific studies have shown”: which ones?
      “To me, GMO is a form of pollution”: opinion, irrelevant.
      “Bee Colony Collapse from Fungicide (absolutely proven at this point)”: Where?
      “agvocating”: ignorupid. There, see-I can make up words too.
      “I think one day humans will look back and realize that Monsanto and others have polluted the natural DNA pool of plants”: naturalistic fallacy
      “The good think”: very little good thinking going on here, unfortunately.
      Have a nice day.

      1. “Friends”…not condescending but a truism – all fellow men are my friends.

        “To me, GMO is a form of pollution”…slight correction, it IS a form of pollution (absolute sense).

        Other responses follow. I hope you enjoy and learn a bit along the way. Cheers!

        Oh, also I meant “thing” instead of “think” in my original post, sorry for the typo.

        GMO Unhealthy

        Bee Colony Collapse

        Agvocates (i.e. agribusiness puppets chasing the money)

        Monsanto’s history of toxic products

    2. Thank you Harold, for the link and sensible warning. The author Ms Johnston is badly misinformed . I am aware that a published study by Charles Benboke shows 15 times more pesticide is used on GM crops than on traditional varieties. I have also seen a chart that compares the levels of nutrients and anti nutrients in GM corn and traditional corn: far higher levels of vitamins in the trad. corn, the only thing higher in the GM corn was formaldehyde ! I agree with you, it would seem GM is all about chemical companies selling more chemicals . I for one don’t want to eat formaldehyde or herbicide residues (not after seeing the Seralini rat studies and the aggressive tumours that developed in the 4th month in rats exposed to levels of Round Up deemed acceptable in tap water. Coral Johnston’s final paragraph saying we can’t live without GMO’s caps off the pile of myth . Ms Johnston would do well to study the IAASTD report which concluded that GM will make no contribution to feeding the hungry world and that organic or agro-ecology is the the only way we will feed 9 billion. After all, yields are no higher in any gm crops, often lower and superweeds have become a real problem.

  2. Harold, I am curious, could you site proof that Monsanto had a financial influence with the retracting of the study? Also, Agent Orange has nothing to do with GMO so I am not sure on the correlation, could you clear that up please. Thank you!

    1. Hi Matt, I am not Harold but I did read that a Monsanto employee joined the editorial board of the journal a few months before the retraction took place. The study was retracted even though there was nothing wrong with the science, but because it was “inconclusive” . By this criteria the first studies on DNA should have been retracted! The study was shortly afterwards published in another journal . Sadly , the U.S. EPA just approved GM crops engineered to withstand not only Round Up, but 24D, an ingredient in Agent Orange. Because weeds have become resistant to Round Up and farmers have had to use heavier and heavier doses to kill weeds, the move to agent orange is a step up on the chemical treadmill. That the public will be eating food with agent orange and Round Up residues on it is very sickening indeed,. As we have seen in Vietnam , the birth defects related to the use of Agent Orange to defoliate the jungle in warfare 40 years ago, continue to this day.

    2. In response to your comment, The new GM crops in the pipeline will be made resistant to 2-4 D, a component of Agent Orange. Be very afraid if this get’s off the ground. Ask any Vietnam War veteran about Agent Orange and they will fill you in or ask any any Vietnamese family who has deformed or dead children as a result of Agent Orange.
      Sadly the FDA and EPA have signed off on these crops.

      1. Emily W, yes 2-4D was a component in Agent Orange, but it was like a egg would be to a cake. It was one of many ingredients that made the cocktail (of sorts) that was Agent Orange. For reference, 2-4D has been sold for decades and continues to be sold in nearly every hardware store and many other stores across the nation. Anyone can go into the stores and purchase it without question and without age restriction. It is most popularly sold under the name Weed B Gone by Ortho. My point is, this chemical is considered to be safe enough to sell unrestricted, and therefore logic says it cannot be anything like Agent Orange, because it isnt, it was the egg that helps make the cake batter, not the cake.

  3. Harold: I’m a farmer from Illinois. We grow both conventional (GMO) and non-GMO crops on our farm. The reason that we use GMO seed is for specific plant traits and because of the fact that GMO require fewer (and also less harsh) crop protection chemicals. While you tout organic food, I wonder if you are aware that the organic food industry is, from an economic standpoint, larger than Monsanto, which you criticize for being “about the money”. You should also be aware that organic food is likely grown using herbicides, insecticides and/or fungicides from a list approved by that certification agency. There are no credible sources to back up your claims. If you would like more fact based info, check out

    1. I couldnt agree more Willowleastockfarm. Few people realize that Organic does not mean pesticide free. There are countless Organic Pesticides that are just as toxic as their synthetic counterparts and arent as effective, so more of them have to be used to get the same desired effect.

  4. Hello Harold, Could you please state what expertise you have in bioengineering, agriculture, chemistry or genetics in order to hold such steadfast views? You introduce a lot of ideas in your post but you don’t give any evidence for us to take you seriously. Shall we wager you will not be able to cite credible sources?

    1. Please see my response on October 21 above, which excerpts literally hundreds of credible sources that have found GMO unhealthy and damaging to the environment and nature. Also, you need me to cite sources each time I express myself, perhaps Ms. Johnson should do the same.

  5. The language used here is misleading. I think you will be hard pressed to find a person who is against selective breeding. If you do manage yo find one, ask them how they chose their spouse. My problem is the terminology used by people who do not know what they are talking about…see the article above. Now if you did enough mathematics at university, you would have come along a concept in linear algebra called a condition number. The condition number can be thought of as an indicator of how a small change in inputs can produce a large change in outputs, although really you should go and study some maths instead of just taking my word for it. Selective breeding has a low condition number…Good, we should use this. Genetic Engineering has a high condition number…bad, we should not use this. If you group these two very different approaches, to the same problem, together. All you are going to get is a bunch of people misleading one another instead of actually making some progress.

    1. Hi farmer from Illinois, I am a farmer from Western Australia and 30 years ago we were told about this marvellous new herbicide called Round Up. It was so safe you could drink it!! It was biodegradable, killed all weeds and left the soil clean, there was no trace of it just 2 days after spraying. This all turned out to be a lie. So when you say less harsh chemicals, I wonder if you are referring to Round Up, the herbicide sold with most GM seeds in a package deal. The “Round Up ready” crops are sprayed many times with this herbicide. In 2009 Monsanto was found guilty of false advertising regarding it’s best selling herbicide in the French courts, who over a 9 year trial and 3 appeals heard much scientific evidence about the dangers of Round Up. It is still detectable in some clay soils 20 years after application, it is related to 25 now common diseases including cancer .
      The manufacturer Monsanto was fined by the Supreme court of France and ordered to remove the word biodegradable from the label.

      1. Browyn, Just wanted to clear up part of your comment above. I am a farmer in IL as well and have never bought Roundup corn in a package deal with Roundup EVER. It is my choice to plant Roundup corn or not, and if I do it is my choice to use Roundup on it or not to. There is nothing saying we have to use Roundup on Roundup corn. For the record we plant both Roundup and Non GMO corn. Have a great day!

    2. Hi Educated Man, great. An additional point is that the article makes out the Gm is natural , just selective breeding which we have been doing this for thousands of years. This exploits a common misconception about GM, but really, we are talking about genetic engineering which splices the DNA from one species with another. This could never happen in nature. GMOS sometimes even combine species from separate KINGDOMS , as in the Flavor Saver tomato, which combined the genes of a tomatoe with the genes of a flounder ( yes, a fish) . This was an attempt to produce a tomatoe that kept well i cold storage. This tomatoe gave experimental rats (who had to be force fed it) stomach lesions , but was approved as safe anyway.It was a commercial failure because it tasted terrible apparently .

  6. Hi Coral.
    Please cite peer-reviewed articles to support your claim that ” It has been proven that the nutrient levels in both GM crops and non-GM crops are the exact same, and that there is no difference between the two,”
    If GM crops are so good at reducing pesticide use why are herbicide resistant superweeds now covering 50% of US farms? Why are the new GM crops resistant to combinations of weedkillers like 2,4-D, glyphosate and ammonium glufosinate?
    If GM crops feed people why are one in five US children food insecure?
    Why are communities in Argentina writing to the Pope calling on him to stop the near genocide of birth defects and cancers caused by the spraying of chemicals on GM soy monocultures that have taken over their land?
    Please read the UN IAASTD report “Agriculture at a crossroads” that shows that unless we embrace local, agroecological farming practices the world will be unable to feed itself. Amazingly 70% of food worldwide is produced on small farms that use 30% of the resources. In contrast industrial agriculture produces 30% of the food but uses 70% of the resources. We cannot afford GM industrial agriculture.

  7. In response to Matt Boucher’s comment, The new GM crops in the pipeline will be made resistant to 2-4 D, a component of Agent Orange. Be very afraid if this get’s off the ground. Ask any Vietnam War veteran about Agent Orange and they will fill you in or ask any any Vietnamese family who has deformed or dead children as a result of Agent Orange.

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