GMO Backlash Is About to Cause a Boom

As consumer awareness grows around the risks associated with genetically modifying the food chain, the rise of foods that have been certified as having not been altered in the lab grows accordingly. The folks at Packaged Facts say non-GMO foods could potentially account for 30% of all U.S. food and beverage sales, or $264 billion worth, by 2017 -- and if package labeling becomes mandatory, it could hit 40%!

GM food proponents say there are no safety concerns as the engineered goods have been studied for decades and there are little to no health risks. Because they allow farmers to grow crops in regions previously inhospitable to farming and can create cheaper and perhaps more nutritious foods, it's a boon to the world's hunger problems.

For those of us on the other side of the issue, we'd point to the fact there's been no long-term testing of GM foods on humans. It unnaturally introduces organisms, bacteria, and viruses into the food chain, creating Frankenfoods that have genetic materials from different species injected into them, that can cause unwanted side effects from overexposure.

Companies like Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN  ) and Smithfield Foods (UNKNOWN: SFD.DL2  ) have just agreed to stop injecting their cattle and hogs with weight-gain drugs just before slaughter because of the ill effects they were causing the animals. And the CDC released a report showing the threat to human health posed by overexposing livestock to antibiotics.

It's more than just a casual relationship that we have developed superweeds and superbugs through the overapplication of herbicides and pesticides. As I've pointed out before, there is a growing body of evidence that specific pesticides created by Bayer, Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW  ) , and Syngenta (NYSE: SYT  ) are also causing the collapse of honeybee colonies, which is a grave risk to the food chain because they are the pollinators of the world that ensure our crops grow.

To think that a seed can be genetically altered to withstand the spraying of Monsanto's (NYSE: MON  ) powerful herbicide Round-Up and continue growing, and that it's still OK to eat, is a bridge too far for many.

Which is why GMO labeling is so important for consumers. It allows the individual to decide when, how, or whether she will choose to eat such products. Admittedly, today it's difficult to actually not eat lab-altered foods, so prevalent is the reach of the chemical agri-giants. Virtually all processed and packaged foods have been tainted, but despite the breadth of coverage, it wouldn't cause any increase in food costs as has been suggested. A just-released study called "Why Labels Don't Affect Food Prices," confirms consumer demographics and competitor pricing has more of an effect on prices than changing labels does, which is a regularly occurring process for manufacturers anyway.

With at least 85% of all soybeans, corn, sugar beets, and canola grown from GMO seeds, and most of them are made by Monsanto. If you're eating something that has those listed as ingredients on the label, there's a good chance it's been modified on a genetic level. It's estimated 60% to 70% of all food on the supermarket shelf is GMO.

The best way to counteract corporate agriculture's grip on the food supply is to grow as much of your own produce as possible, and failing that (or supplementing it), supporting local farmers markets. This isn't some "back to nature" 1960's hippie movement, but rather recognition that the more Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow, DuPont, and others control what is grown, the less choice we have over what we can eat.

But as Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM  ) , Ben & Jerry's, and other companies commit to labeling their own products or ensuring they're GM-free, it will eventually becoming a much broader phenomenon we see take hold. The demand for natural, organic foods will drive their growth as Whole Foods is witnessing, reporting third quarter sales grew 12% from the year ago period, which is down only slightly from the 13% gains it recorded at the time. 

Monsanto's not going away, as entrenched as they are, but investors should be on the watch for those companies on the forefront of ensuring the purity of their food as they will be the ones to reap the greatest rewards from the effort down the road.


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  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2013, at 12:09 PM, Hotshot3000 wrote:

    "This is not some "back to nature" 1960's hippie movement"

    No it is a 2010s "back to nature" hippie movement. I usually value the Fool's information, but this article is sorely lacking in facts. The organic industry has seen sales level off, and has resorted to these labeling laws to do what they could not do on the merits of their products. As Ronnie Cummins, the director of the Organic Consumers Association, says "The burning question for us all then becomes how - and how quickly - can we move healthy, organic products from a 4.2% market niche, to the dominant force in American food and farming? The first step is to change our labeling laws."

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2013, at 1:13 PM, TMFCop wrote:

    Hotshot3000,

    I fully agree products should compete freely and fairly in the marketplace of ideas. Yet labeling does not give organics an unfair marketplace advantage, but rather *levels* the playing field as consumers would then be able to make an informed decision.

    Right now Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, et al., are able to have their genetic manipulation hidden from the consumer; labeling would only ensure that consumers would know which of their foods were altered in the lab.

    Indeed, with labeling, consumers would still be able to buy GMO foods; there would be no prohibition on that.

    But as you and Monsanto and the other GM companies know all too well, if consumers realized just how tainted their food products were they would revolt.

    You argument stands reality on its head. It's not organics who would profit unfairly from labeling; it's Monsanto and the others who are unfairly profiting now by keeping the hand they have in the food chain secret.

    If GM foods are so great for us, so healthy, so nutritious, why wouldn't the seed companies want that touted on food labels? Intel didn't fight Dell or HP from touting the fact that there was "Intel Inside." They were proud of what they made and wanted the world to know.

    How strange it is that Monsanto fights tooth and nail to keep that information out of the public eye. Why, you'd almost think they had something to hide.

    Regardless, thanks for reading. Cheers,

    Rich

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2013, at 1:19 PM, tpotterf wrote:

    Companies will soon realize that their profits will increase if they label their foods non GMO! That is what most people who are informed want. The fact that they are illegal in most other countries says a lot.

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2013, at 8:19 PM, ardoucette wrote:

    Hilarious.

    Frankenfoods?

    Let's start with the claim that GMOs are tied to the bee die off.

    Total bull.

    Just see massive report recently published by USDA which came to conclusion that these were the key factors:

    •A parasitic mite called Varroa destructor that has often been found in decimated colonies

    •Several viruses

    •A bacterial disease called European foulbrood that is increasingly being detected in U.S. bee colonies

    •The use of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, a neuroactive chemical.

    CCD is happening to bee keepers that are NO WHERE NEAR GMO crops.

    Indeed, bees are not needed to pollinate any of the big agricultural crops that are GMO.

    These are in fact the approx number of bee hive rentals in 1989 and 1999

    Almond 650,000 950,000

    apple 250,000 275,000

    melons 250,000 300,000

    plum/prune 145,000 160,000

    blueberry 75,000 110,000

    cherry 70,000 70,000

    vegetable seeds 50,000 55,000

    pear 50,000 50,000

    cucumber 40,000 45,000

    sunflower 40,000 45,000

    cranberry 30,000 45,000

    kiwi 15,000 15,000

    others 50,000 55,000

    And NONE of those are GMO crops.

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2013, at 8:24 PM, ardoucette wrote:

    Next up is THIS claim:

    With at least 85% of all soybeans, corn, sugar beets, and canola grown from GMO seeds, and most of them are made by Monsanto. If you're eating something that has those listed as ingredients on the label, there's a good chance it's been modified on a genetic level. It's estimated 60% to 70% of all food on the supermarket shelf is GMO.

    And yet at the SAME time the author laments

    there's been no long-term testing of GM foods on humans

    Well GMO crops have been in WIDE use for over a DECADE, so clearly they have been tested on humans.

    Indeed, since there are countries that DON'T allow GMO, its EASY to compare the US to any of them to see if there is any difference in our health.

    NONE has been reported.

    What DO we know though?

    Well we can look at Life Expectancy since GMOs were introduced in 1994

    Year Both Male Female Increase

    2010 - 78.7 - 76.2 - 81.1 - 1.2%

    2005 - 77.8 - 75.2 - 80.4 - 1.0%

    2000 - 77.0 - 74.3 - 79.7 - 1.6%

    1995 - 75.8 - 72.5 - 78.9 - 0.5%

    1990 - 75.4 - 71.8 - 78.8 - 0.9%

    Next would be the incidence of Cancer.

    It is INCIDENCE of cancer that you look at to see if the environmental conditions are getting better or worse.

    CDC statistics on Age Adjusted Cancer incidence tells the same story:

    For 1999

    Rank All Races Site All Races Rate

    1 Prostate 168.9

    2 Lung and Bronchus 93.4

    3 Colon and Rectum 67.4

    4 Urinary Bladder 39.1

    5 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 23

    6 Melanomas of the Skin 19.4

    7 Kidney and Renal Pelvis 16.8

    8 Leukemias 16.6

    9 Oral Cavity and Pharynx 16.2

    10 Pancreas 12.6

    Sum of all top 10 cancer rates = 473.4

    2009

    Rank All Races Site All Races Rate Change

    1 Prostate 137.7 -31.2

    2 Lung and Bronchus 78.2 -15.2

    3 Colon and Rectum 49.2 -18.2

    4 Urinary Bladder 36.1 -3

    6 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 22.8 -0.2

    5 Melanomas of the Skin 24.7 5.3

    7 Kidney and Renal Pelvis 21.1 4.3

    9 Leukemias 15.4 -1.2

    8 Oral Cavity and Pharynx 16.5 0.3

    10 Pancreas 13.5 0.9

    Sum of all Cancers = 415.2 or down 58.2 per 100,000 people (12%) in just 11 years.

    Clearly we are also seeing LESS incidence of cancer per person per year.

    Also, while the top 10 cancers stayed the same for "all races", there were some interesting differences in the other races.

    Stomach Cancer in particular.

    For Blacks

    Stomach was 18.3 in 1999, but dropped to 15.4 by 2009

    For Hispanics

    Stomach was 18.5 in 1999, but dropped to 13.2 by 2009

    For Asians

    Stomach was 20.3 in 1999, but dropped to 14.8 by 2009.

    Clear indication that our Food supply is BETTER, not worse.

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2013, at 8:32 PM, ardoucette wrote:

    Next up is this silliness:

    The best way to counteract corporate agriculture's grip on the food supply is to grow as much of your own produce as possible, and failing that (or supplementing it), supporting local farmers markets.

    First of all, the GMO crops we grow are NOT the ones that anyone grows in a home garden.

    Our GMO crops are:

    Field Corn, for making corn oil and ethanol and feed, not the stuff you buy on the Cob, that's sweet corn (there is some GMO sweet corn, but it's pretty rare)

    Rapeseed, for making Canola oil and feed.

    Soybeans, for making Soybean Oil and feed

    Sugar Beets for making sugar

    Alfalfa, for making feed.

    Sorghum for making feed

    Cotton for making cotton and cotton seed oil

    Papaya, only grown in Hawaii

    That's pretty much it.

    So unless you are making your own Corn oil, Canola oil, soybean oil, sugar or feed, you are not growing GMO crops in your home garden.

    Next, the QUANTITIES that are in play are STAGGERING and won't be affected by people buying their veggies at farmers markets or growing their own.

    Planting of corn, our biggest domestic crop, was 97 million acres

    Soybeans were planted on a record 78 million acres.

    Canola was sown on 67 million acres (most in Canada)

    Alfalfa was sown on 56 Million acres

    Sugar beets were sown on a record 35 million acres

    Cotton was sown on 10 million acres

    Sorghum was sown on 4 million acres

    THESE are our GMO crops.

    And they make up almost ALL of our ANIMAL FEED.

    So if there WERE health problems with GMOs we would see it in our LIVESTOCK.

    We don't.

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2013, at 8:34 PM, ardoucette wrote:

    Now to the silliness about labeling.

    Consider Sugar beets.

    Almost 90% are GMO, they are harvested and brought to large fields for temp storage from all around.

    You could have two piles, one for GMO sugarbeets and one for NonGMO, but you'd have to verify via genetic testing, the Non-GMO deliveries or risk contaminating the entire pile. (do an image search on Sugar beets and you will see what I mean)

    So now you make SUGAR out of each pile, and you keep it separate through the entire process, making sure to carefully clean all your equipment and vats and so on, so one batch doesn't contaminate the other.

    When you are done, you have two piles of White Granulated Sugar.

    But

    The sugar is IDENTICAL because Sugar, regardless of which pile you made it from, is C12H22O11, and it doesn't matter which pile you test, you will get the exact same chemical result.

    So your competitor buys the same sugar, but he doesn't keep it separate and he sells his Non-GMO sugar for less than yours.

    What are you going to do?

    How are you going to prove his "Non-GMO" sugar was really made from GMO sugar beets.

    Now this unscrupulous maker sells his cheaper "Non-GMO" sugar to producers who use it to make various packaged foods, all of which are labeled "Non-GMO" even though NONE ARE.

    How are these producers to know?

    There is no test they can perform.

    The consumer then pays more for the "Non-GMO" brand.

    How are they to know?

    Note, this works the EXACT same way for Corn Oil, Soybean Oil or Canola Oil.

    No proteins make it through the extraction process, and so you can't tell the final products apart.

    How are you going to verify the labeling?

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2013, at 8:35 PM, ardoucette wrote:

    Which is why, when it was put to a vote in California last year, the voters TURNED DOWN labeling.

  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2013, at 11:42 PM, predfern wrote:

    Pesticides not yet proven guilty of causing honeybee declines

    by Staff Writers

    Exeter UK (SPX) Sep 24, 2012

    http://www.seeddaily.com/reports/Pesticides_not_yet_proven_g...

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 12:02 AM, flexnfx1 wrote:

    Here's my thing....I live in Washington and I buy 90% Organic products. I would consider conventional products if I knew what (GMOs namely) were in them. I am not a scientist nor a conspiracy theorist that believes GMO may be all bad. My issue is with labeling and the length these companies go to what appears to be a "cover up".

    If GMOs are okay, why the effort and money to stop labeling for it? We label for so many other things. It is only fair to label for this.

    http://labelgmoswashington.blogspot.com/

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 7:47 AM, ardoucette wrote:

    @predfern, If you will notice, the USDA report listed 4 probable causes, one of them was pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, but the more important point your article brings up is that it was from the UK and was referencing a study done in France.

    Both countries are suffering from colony collapse disorder.

    Neither country grows any GMO crops.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 8:07 AM, ardoucette wrote:

    @flexxfx1, the idea that there is anything to hide is silly. If it isn't organic and it has Corn (meal or oil), Soy (protein or oil), Canola oil, Sugar or HFCS in it, then it DOES contain GMO.

    If labeling went into effect EVERY product with those ingredients would carry the GMO label.

    More to the point, since GMO crops for Corn, Soy, Sugar beets and Canola are all over 90% GMO, if labeling were put in place ALL farmers output of these mega-crops would be put in the same silos, and so the ONLY products that would not have the Non-GMO label would be Organic.

    Which is EXACTLY the way it is today.

    Why do you need a label to tell you what is already ON the label?

    BUT

    The reason they want labeling is to PREVENT any NEW GMO crops from being introduced.

    The overhead of keeping your crop separate for a NEW GMO crop would effectively prevent the introduction of a new GMO crop, regardless of how beneficial it was to farmers.

    California voters listened to the arguments and turned it down. Hopefully the people in Washington are as smart.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2013, at 8:12 AM, ardoucette wrote:

    FEAR PROFITEERS

    Search on The Roots Of The Anti-Genetic Engineering Movement?

    Just follow the money.

    There is a large and well-established, highly professional, protest industry fueled by special interest groups seeking to line their own pockets while harming the public interest.

    A review of tax returns of the “non-profit” activist organizations opposing agricultural biotechnology and other modern production methods reveals more than $2.5 billion is being spent annually in the United States by these professional advocacy groups to shape our your beliefs.

    For Prop. 37 in California, the majority of this money came from big-money special interests that benefit from these foods scares.

    The leading corporate contributors and the biggest donors behind the Prop. 37 campaign in California are organic food, natural product and alternative health product companies.

    These “fear profiteers” prosper from scare campaigns about food and how it’s produced. Their support enables activists to foment bogus health and safety fears about the agricultural products and production techniques used to grow conventionally produced Foods, thereby helping to drive customers to higher-priced organic offerings and misled consumers are the losers.

    The purveyors of “natural” and “organic” offerings also often partner with a variety of reprobates, including the promoters of dubious alternative medicines such as chelation therapies, miracle supplements, and purgatives to remove or neutralize “toxins”.

    These are nothing but modern-day snake oil salesmen have become multi-billion dollar industries that thrive by fanning health and safety fears via advocacy propaganda and marketing claims that the expert scientific, medical communities and government regulators say simply aren’t based in fact.

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2013, at 9:43 PM, MonsantoSucks01 wrote:

    What is this? Monsanto employees masquerading as folks concerned about the public interest? I should have known something was fishy when I saw all the MON stock symbols in the article.

    Obviously, this is NOT a public interest article, but a Monsanto PR stunt to try to increase shareholder value. C'mon!

    GMO foods are poison, and y'all know it. We must eradicate GMO foods so that WholeFoods can take over control of the nations' food supply and seed libraries!

  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2013, at 6:44 AM, rusticguy wrote:

    @ardoucette

    You never brought up the issue of how much (and why) "Drug Sales" have increased when you talked of "Life Expectancy". This is precisely the way "JUNK SCIENCE" functions -- ignore the data that doesn't fit the regression analysis curve -- also called "cherry picking data"

    Has quality of life improved? Quantity may have.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/037394_monsanto_roundup_cancer_st...

  • Report this Comment On October 06, 2013, at 12:34 PM, stewie99 wrote:

    @ardoucette

    So how long have you worked for Monsanto?

  • Report this Comment On October 06, 2013, at 1:34 PM, sdodaj wrote:

    The desperation in the posts of these pro-GMO people is laughable. As a mom (with a degree in science), I have done my research. The GMO/pesticide corporations have spent millions to keep consumers in the US from knowing that they are eating genetically modified products.  Approximately 80% of the processed foods in the US now contain GMOs. If they are so great and harmless, why are they working so hard to keep their GMOs a secret? The anti-labeling groups had spent over $45 million in California to narrowly defeat Prop 37.  If the huge GMO/pesticide corporations believe that their creations are not harmful, then please explain the need for the “Monsanto Protection Act”.  It was SLIPPED into the spending package and signed into law by Obama WITHOUT DEBATE this year.  It was crafted by Sen. Roy Blunt who had received a $64,000 campaign contribution from Monsanto in 2012.  It limits the ability of judges to stop Monsanto or the farmers it sells genetically modified seeds from growing or harvesting those crops even if courts find evidence of potential health risks. How outrageous is this??

    If someone chooses to be a part of the genetically modified food experiment, that’s fine, but the majority of Americans have no clue that they are eating lab-created, CROSS-SPECIES, genetically modified food. They have NO choice. I discovered that the only testing of these products prior to approval for entry into our food supply is done by the GMO/pesticide corporations who profit from these products- NO INDEPENDENT TESTING IS REQUIRED OR ALLOWED (major conflict of interest?). Also, most testing is done for only 90 days. It’s interesting to note that the head of our FDA for food safety, Michael Taylor, was a former VP of Monsanto – the largest GMO/pesticide producer (again, major conflict of interest?).

    Most of the talk about GMOs being harmless is from those that profit off of them in one way or another. As for me and my family, we’ve opted out of the GMO experiment. The anti-labeling supporters are spending millions to prevent labeling because they know that once most Americans find out what they’re really eating, they’ll opt out as well.

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