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GMO Concerns

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Date: May 27, 2020
Agent: Emily Troutman

This is Emily Troutman, FCS Agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke County Center.

Despite the widespread use of GMOs and the fact that they are federally regulated, many consumers have expressed concern about their safety, for human health, the environment, and the social condition of farmers. There is concern about the potential for food allergies when consuming GMOs, since a protein from one type of food could be used to genetically engineer another. However, The FDA requires GMO creators to present scientific evidence that they are not using any allergenic
substances in their product.

Another common Concern is that genes from genetically engineered food could be transferred to the human body, and that they could be antibiotic resistant.
Evidence shows the probability of gene transfer is small, and the World Health Organization encourages GMO creators not to use genes that are resistant to antibiotics.

There is also concern that The long term environmental impacts of GMOs are not known. Evidence shows that although GMOs are safe, the use of GMOs that incorporate pesticides or herbicides has been shown to lead to resistance in pests and weeds, thereby reducing the effectiveness of these products.

Another common concern is that the use of GMO products marginalizes small-scale producers. We know that GMOs can be expensive to purchase and often require purchasing whole packages of seeds and most companies that sell GMO seeds don’t allow seed saving. These factors make it hard for small-scale producers
to use these products, especially those in developing countries.

This has been Emily Troutman with N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke County Center and for more information, contact us at 764-9480.