What are GMOs?

NH Right to Know GMO offers this definition of GMOs:

  1. GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created by artificial or unnatural means through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering – GE -- or transgenic).

  2. This experimental technology merges DNA traits and characteristics from different species, genus and kingdoms, creating ever-before-seen, and unstable, combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or through traditional reproduction and crossbreeding, e.g. pollination. 

  3. Plant-based GMOs are grown and used for food for both animals and humans.

  4. The terms “GMOs” and “GE foods” are often used interchangeably, although GE is the more accurate term. GE foods are created in a lab. GMO MAY refer to plants or animals that have been modified by traditional methods such as hybridization or cross-pollination, which aren’t GE.

  5. Most commercial GE crops are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite two decades of biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.

  6. The following crops are being genetically engineered for human consumption: corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed (vegetable oil), sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, and some zucchini and yellow squash. It is estimated that 70 to 80% of the processed food in America contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Are GMOs labeled?

  1. Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GE ingredients, the biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public.

  2. In California over 6 million voters (48.5%) voted in favor of Prop 37, a ballot initiative to mandate the labeling of GE food, despite $46.5 million spent to defeat it. Washington State was narrowly defeated in a similar ballot initiative in November 2013. More than half of the states have active ballot initiatives or pending legislative action.

  3. A 2013 poll by The New York Times found that 93% of Americans believe that genetically engineered foods should be labeled.

  4. GE labeling has broad bipartisan support, according to a 2011 poll, 89% of Republicans, 90% of Independents and 93% of Democrats favor GE labeling in the U.S.

  5. Connecticut and Maine passed GE labeling bills in mid 2013. Contingencies prevent them from being enacted until other states pass similar laws. VT passed a GE labeling bill in May 2014 without contingencies; it goes into effect July 2016.

Are GE foods safe?

  1. A growing body of scientific, medical, and anecdotal evidence connects GE foods with potential health problems, serious environmental damage, and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

  2. Many developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. 64 countries, including Russia, China, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Syria, Peru, and all of the countries in the European Union, have either banned GMOs totally, or instituted a GMO labeling law, which affects two thirds of the world. The United States and Canada are the only two countries without labeling laws.

  3. The U.S government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that create them and the chemicals that they are created to resist; the companies that profit from their sale. Currently, there are no government-mandated controlled studies demonstrating the short term or long term safety of GMOs.

  4. Under U.S. law, it’s difficult to conduct independent studies of GMOs because the seeds are patented and user purchase agreements prevent investigations and testing of their safety.

  5. Due to corporate influence, genetically engineered seed are essentially unregulated in America, with little federal oversight of the safety and protection of human health or the environment. 

  6. During the original approval process for GE crops, FDA’s own scientists agreed that genetic engineering created new risks, including the possible introduction of new toxins and allergens. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has urged physicians to advise all patients to avoid GMOs, and indicates that several animal studies indicate serious health risks. 

  7. A large body of internationally recognized scientists issued a statement in October 2013 that there is "No scientific consensus on GMO safety."

  8. More and more independent studies indicate issues with GMOs or their associated chemicals.

How do GMOs affect farmers?

  1. Using strict patent law, corporations that produce GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. This poses a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown, including the United States.

What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment?

  1. Over 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance.

  2. Use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced in 1996.

  3. GMO crops are also responsible for the emergence of “super weeds” and “super bugs” which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in the Agent Orange used in Vietnam).

  4. The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment, these novel organisms cannot be recalled.

The Connection between GMOs and Herbicides

  1. Residues of chemical herbicide are found in almost all GMOs, and on other crops sprayed with herbicides to desiccate or dry them unnaturally for harvest. These residues are a human health hazard.

  2. The vast majority (80%) of commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. However, we, as humans, have not been genetically engineered to resist herbicide application.

  3. The worlds’ most popular herbicide, Roundup (glyphosate), has recently been found in over 90% of soy sampled by the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, with residues from 0.17 ppm (parts per million) to 20 ppm.

  4. Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup (a brand of a glyphosate-based herbicide) has claimed that the chemical is safe. They also claim that glyphosate does not survive in the human digestive system. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the manufacturer's claims may be false and misleading. Glyphosate has been found in human urine and breast milk.

  5. We deserve the Right to Know what's in our food and labeling is a step in that direction. Soy is labeled for consumer safety for those who may be allergic. Many varieties of soy are genetically engineered. So what about the rest of the GMOs? We, as Americans and NH citizens, want all GMOs labeled. Polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if GMOs are contained in the food they’re purchasing, yet the biotech industry lobby and Grocery Manufacturers Association continue to keep this information from the public.

What is Genetically Engineered?

New Hampshire’s next bill to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods, is expected to contain this definition:

146:23 Definitions:

  1. VI.“Genetically engineered” or “genetic engineering” means a process whereby any food intended for human consumption:

  2. (a)Is produced from an organism or organisms in which the genetics are materially altered through the application of:

  1. VI.“In vitro nucleic acid techniques” means techniques that include, but are not limited to, recombinant DNA or RNA techniques that use vector systems, and techniques involving the direct introduction into the organisms of hereditary materials prepared outside the organisms such as biolistics, microinjection, macro-injection, chemoporation, electroporation, microencapsulation, and liposome fusion.


      What are GMOs? ***

      Why Label?

      HB1674 (2016)

      SB411 (2014)

      HB660 (2013) 

          HB660 Votes

      Federal Bills


      Of Interest

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  1. (1)In vitro nucleic acid techniques, which include, but are not limited to, recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, encapsulation, gene deletion and doubling; or

  2. (2)Methods of fusing cells beyond the taxonomic family that overcome natural physiological reproductive or recombinant barriers, and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection such as conjugation, transduction, and hybridization.