Genetically modified organisms, popularly known as GMOs, have long been under debate, not only in the United States, but also on a global scale. Two decades ago, the U.S. and Canada welcomed the GMO movement, while a majority of Europe rejected it. The goal of GMOs was to immunize crops to the effects of weed-killers and to keep bugs away, ultimately decreasing the use of pesticides and increasing crop yields; however, recent data suggests GMOs have fallen short of this goal.
An analysis by The New York Times using data obtained by the United Nations revealed that genetically modified crops in the U.S. and Canada neither increased crop yields nor reduced the use of chemical pesticides.
In fact, data from the United States Geological Survey showed that though the use of toxins to eliminate fungi and insects has decreased by a third, the use of herbicides in the U.S. has increased by 21 percent since the introduction of GMOs. Contrastingly, France, Europe’s biggest producer, has reduced the use of fungicides and insecticides by 65 percent and herbicides by 36 percent — all without GMOs.
Although anti-GMO attention is alive and well (such as the March Against Monsanto), companies in the genetic modification industry are still citing its benefits. The same companies that make and sell genetically modified plants also produce the toxins that claim to protect them, the Times reported. Two of the leading companies in genetically modified crops, Monsanto and Syngenta, have grown more than six-fold in the past 15 years.