The Master Marketer BLOG

Six Reasons GMOs Are A Nightmare

Posted by Jeffrey Schmidt on Wed, May 28, 2014 @ 9 PM

I was talking with a colleague the other day and the subject turned to GMOs.

We had a spirited debate on the benefits and hazards of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in food production. My colleague’s position was that GMOs are an advanced and beneficial farming tool, mainly because this technology helps farmers eliminate weeds. My associate also maintained that GMOs cut down on the use of pesticides and herbicides when farming.

This is simply not true.

GMOs only cut down on herbicide use in the short run, over time they increase the overall use of toxic chemicals. Read on to find out why. In addition, I’ve listed five more reasons why GMOs are a nightmare (no, that is not too strong a word)!

Six Reasons Why GMOs are a Nightmare:

1) Increased pesticide / herbicide use

2) Compromised health of soil and environment

3) The economics don’t add up — except for GMO makers

4) GMOs put human health at risk

5) The parallel between Big-Pharma and the GMO industry

6) Monopoly ownership of food seeds — our shared heritage

1) Increased pesticide / herbicide use

Genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant and insect-resistant crops have been extremely successful as commercial products in the United States. These products have been touted as reducing overall pesticide / herbicide use.

But this does not stand up to scientific scrutiny.

Environmental Sciences Europe reports that as a result of using GE crops pesticide use increased in the U.S by an estimated 183 million kgs (404 million pounds), or about 7% from 1996 to 2011,

Glyphosate (Roundup) resistant “super weeds”

Monsanto’s Roundup Ready technology dominates the GMO marketplace. Roundup Ready (RR) crops are engineered to resist glyphosate, the herbicide in Roundup.  The protocol is to spray generous amounts of Roundup on RR crops to kill weeds leaving the RR crop to survive. RR crops include: corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, sugarbeets, and alfalfa. (Note: Roundup is also a registered pesticide).

The problem is that weeds quickly become resistant to Roundup — just like many bacteria strains have become resistant to antibiotics in hospitals.

How quickly can this happen?

A Farmer Testifies to Congress about his GMO Experience

Indiana farmer Troy Roush testified before Congress in 2010 regarding use of RR herbicides on his farm. His testimony shows that it took only five years (2000 – 2005) for his field to become infected by glyphosate resistant “super weeds.” Here is a brief synopsis of his testimony

• 2000 – Initially relied exclusively on RR technology for weed management.

• 2005 – Began to encounter problems with glyphosate resistance in marestail and lambsquarter weeds in soybean and corn crops.

• Contacted a Monsanto weed scientist to discuss the problematic weeds.

• Despite well-documented proof that glyphosate tolerant weeds were becoming a significant problem, the Monsanto scientist denied that glyphosate resistance even existed and recommended increasing Roundup application rates.

• The increase in application rates proved ineffectual.

• Mr. Roush was forced to turn to alternative methods for weed management including the use of tillage and other chemistry products.

• The diminishing effectiveness of glyphosate, as demonstrated in the dramatic increase in glyphosate tolerant weeds, “destroyed any benefit from the technology.”

GMO Corn Nightmare

2) Compromised health of our soil and the environment

Dr. Elaine Ingam is a professor at Oregon State University and the founder of an organization called Soil Foodweb Inc. She is perhaps the world’s foremost soil biologist and studies the complex relationships of biological systems in and around our soil. Here are a few highlights of her findings:

Soil is alive

Soil biology is complex. Pesticide / herbicide use destroys healthy soil. Beneficial microbiology can help bring soil back to health after it has been poisoned with toxic chemicals.

The chemical spiral

When pesticides and herbicides have been sprayed on soil its microbiology is damaged. Damaged soil is far more prone to weeds than healthy soil. Once soil is compromised it takes an ever-increasing amount of chemicals to fight weeds. This is the spiral. This is not healthy for the soil, the environment or for humans but it is a very good profit model for chemical companies.

A Lesson from the use of Antibiotics

No Doctor would EVER recommend a life-long prescription of antibiotics for a patient— it would wreck the gut biology of the recipient. But this is exactly what we do with soil.

In health care, even when antibiotics are used far less regularly, bacteria and other living organisms find ways to adapt and fight back. When soil is treated with pesticides and herbicides on a regular basis resistance cycles shorten. This speeds up the onset of super weeds.

Organically grown food is more nutritious

Food that is nutritionally dense does not come from conventionally grown crops that are sprayed regularly with pesticides and herbicides! Why? It’s because these toxins kill beneficial microorganisms that support nutrient uptake into plants.

3) The economics don’t add up — except for GMO makers

Farming used to be about being in relationship with the land, and sharing that connection with people who buy what the farmer grows. Increasingly farming is about the buying and applying an ever-increasing cavalcade of chemicals (see “chemical spiral’ above).

The expansion of GMO technology puts the farmer at a disadvantage by design.

Disadvantage #1

The chemical spiral is a real phenomenon that pours money into the coffers of the GMO and chemical companies and out of the bank accounts of farmers. The use of GMOs only makes the situation worse for farmers and better for GMO makers.

Disadvantage #2

When the super weeds start popping up not only does Monsanto deny that these pernicious plants exist, their chemical advisors tell farmers to buy and spray more Roundup, which makes the resistance of the weeds even worse. When this happens more drastic (and expensive) measures are required.

Disadvantage #3

When a farmer buys into GMO technology he or she may be in for a rude awakening one day. Why? Terminator genes are a very real technology that can be switched on at any time. Terminator genes cannot seed past their grow cycle so farmers won’t be able generate their own seed like they have done for 10,000 years — they’ll need to buy it from the GMO company.

Disadvantage #4

Once farmers have started down the GMO / Chemical trail their soil becomes so compromised it will take time and money to bring it back to health. This transition can be costly.

GMO / chemical farming is not about creating healthy food from healthy soil; it’s about creating a superior profit model. Monsanto is the leader of this movement. They are enormously profitable — but at what cost to the rest of us?

4) GMOs put human health at risk

Many will be surprised to learn that up until the study led by Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini a molecular biologist at the University of Caen in 2012, no other study examined the long-term effects of humans consuming GMO products. I’ve pulled some of the findings of that study:

•   Premature deaths – up to 70% in female rats, 50% in male rats.

•   200% to 300% increase in large tumors after the rats drank trace amounts of Roundup at levels legally allowed in our water supply (see photos below).

•   Liver damage and kidney damage – severe organ damage was found in rats that were fed GMO corn with traces of Roundup.

Rats with GMO tumors

The GMO corn fed to the rats was Monsanto variety NK603. This is the same corn that's grown in America and fed to animals and humans. This is the corn that's in corn-based breakfast cereals, corn tortillas and snack chips.

No studies were performed on the long-term effect of consuming GMO products prior to their being OK’d for use by animals and humans. The following quote from Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications explains why. From "Playing God in the Garden" New York Times Magazine, October 25, 1998.

"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job"  

5) The parallel between Big-Pharma and the GMO industry

In 2012 total food sales in the US was $1.3 Trillion Dollars. What would corporate executives do to capture and hold a share of that market? I think the closest parallel comes from the Pharmaceutical Industry.

In 2012 big pharma’s GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion in fines and plead guilty to numerous criminal charges.

•  Bribery of Doctors

•  Lying to the FDA

•  Fabricating test results on its drugs

•  Defrauding Medicade and Medicare out of billions

Unfortunately this seems like a good business move. Glaxo’s revenues in this case were $27.9 billion. The fine of $3 billion ended up being an expensive speeding ticket because nobody went to jail or was even on trial.

The most authoritative voice for this point of view comes from Marcia Angell, M.D. She served as editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

When she retired from the Journal she wrote an article for the New York Review of Books, here is an excerpt:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authorities."

Doctor Angell’s book The Truth About the Drug Companies describes in detail the practices she witnessed over her 20 year tenure as editor of the Journal. Here are a few excerpts:

“She saw them gain nearly limitless influence over medical research, education, and how doctors do their jobs.”

“Claims that high drug prices are necessary to fund research and development are unfounded because drug companies routinely rely on publicly funded institutions for their basic research.”

“Drug companies rig clinical trials to make their products look better than they actually are.”

Here is a quote from a talk that was captured and is available via YouTube.

“Nearly every large drug company has recently paid huge fines to settle charges of illegal activities.”

If nearly every large drug maker is doing “the business calculation” to pay relatively cheap fines for extremely profitable business practices I cannot believe that with $1.3 Trillion on the line the Ag chem and GMO companies are behaving differently.

After all, it’s good business.

6) Monopoly ownership of food seeds — our shared heritage

Democracy is based on distributing power so that no person or entity can wield undue influence over another person or the populace in general.

Private ownership of living organisms that happen to be crucial foodstuffs, and have been our shared heritage for ten millennia, is a power distribution issue we will need to come to terms with. Creating monopolies in our food supply is a fantastic profit model for a business, but it is not sustainable for a society that wants to adhere to democratic principles — especially when the food products in question do not benefit farmers and are unsafe to eat.

History has shown that our way of life is vulnerable to predatory business practices and monopolistic behavior among powerful business interests. Numerous emerging technologies (oil and energy, trains and transportation, telephones and communication to name a few) have gone through these periods of predation and monopoly. For our democracy to survive and thrive it is vital that we reign in these powerful players as soon as possible.


There is a huge disinformation campaign going on to support the contention that GMOs are not only harmless but beneficial. As we discussed in section 5 this is true to form for companies that have one thing on their mind — profit.

The heavily funded GMO lobby helped enact a law that says GMOs are not materially different than traditionally grown or organic crops so they should not need to be labeled or otherwise contested.  

But this makes no sense.

First, GMOs have been altered so they perform differently, they are marketed to farmers to fix a problem with weeds based on that difference (which is successful for only a short time).

Second, GMO makers have done no testing to make sure their products are safe to eat. Neither has the FDA, which has many former chemical company and GMO executives in positions of power.

The GMO companies want it both ways — they want to be different when it suits them and then be the same when it comes time for regulation. Unfortunately this strategy has been successful because these compnies have massive amounts of money to put toward marketing and lobbying.

The bottom line is that there is ample evidence that GMOs are not beneficial for farmers, are harmful when eaten and only beneficial (profitable) to GMO companies. Their mission is not about healthy food, or even cheap or plentiful food (as they have suggested). It is about profits, pure and simple.

The fact that they are so successful is a nightmare.

The DeepSky Marketing team values true sustainability. At this point in time GMOs have proven they are a quick fix at best and not at all sustainable. If you have a business focused on sustainability, and you want an integrated marketing plan to match your values, give DeepSky a call for a free consultation.

Posted by Jeffrey Schmidt

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