Surprising Facts

Approximately 70 percent of processed foods in grocery stores in the U.S. contain bioengineered ingredients.

California Department of Food and Agriculture. “A Food Foresight Analysis of Agricultural Biotechnology: A Report to the Legislature.” January 1, 2003. Accessed September 26, 2013. www.cdfa.ca.gov/files/pdf/ag_biotech_report_03.pdf.

Read more about this and other surprising GMO facts on our GMO Fact Sheet, 7 Really Good Reasons to Rethink GMOs with full citations and explanations found here.

In several peer-reviewed studies, mammals fed genetically modified corn and soy developed kidney and liver problems that could mark the onset of chronic disease.

Séralini, Giles-Eric, Robin Mesnage, Emilie Clair, Steeve Gress, Joël Spiroux de Vendômois, and Dominique Cellier. “Genetically Modified Crops Safety Assessments: Present Limits and Possible Improvements,” Environmental Sciences Europe 23:10 (2011). Accessed September 26, 2013. doi:10.1186/2190-4715-23-10. http://www.enveurope.com/content/23/1/10.

“Purpose: We reviewed 19 studies of mammals fed with commercialized genetically modified soybean and maize which represent, per trait and plant, more than 80% of all environmental genetically modified organisms (GMOs) cultivated on a large scale, after they were modified to tolerate or produce a pesticide. We have also obtained the raw data of 90-day-long rat tests following court actions or official requests. The data obtained include biochemical blood and urine parameters of mammals eating GMOs with numerous organ weights and histopathology findings.”
“Conclusions: The 90-day-long tests are insufficient to evaluate chronic toxicity, and the signs highlighted in the kidneys and livers could be the onset of chronic diseases. However, no minimal length for the tests is yet obligatory for any of the GMOs cultivated on a large scale, and this is socially unacceptable in terms of consumer health protection. We are suggesting that the studies should be improved and prolonged, as well as being made compulsory, and that the sexual hormones should be assessed too, and moreover, reproductive and multigenerational studies ought to be conducted too.”

Read more about this and other surprising GMO facts on our GMO Fact Sheet, 7 Really Good Reasons to Rethink GMOs with full citations and explanations found here.

The release of GMOs into the environment can cause unintended environmental and commercial harm, including documented GMO genetic contamination of other plants.

Freese, William and David Schubert. “Safety Testing and Regulation of Genetically Engineered Foods.” Biotechnology Genetic Engineering Review 21 (2004): 299-324. Accessed September 26, 2013. http://www.centerforfoodsafety.com/files/freese_safetytestingandregulationofgeneticallyebgineeredfoods _nov212004_62269.pdf.

“The artificial introduction of foreign genetic constructs into plant cells creates numerous opportunities for potentially hazardous, unintended effects. These include the over-production of native allergens or toxins, nutritional deficits, and, as discussed above, the creation of novel fusion proteins with unknown properties. Unintended effects are common in all cases where GE techniques are used. For example, engineering a human gene into human cells significantly increases or decreases the expression levels of 5% of the genes in the cell (see Schubert, 2002 for discussion). Excess lignin production in Bt corn (Saxena and Stotzky, 2001), reduced levels of certain phytoestrogens in glyphosate-tolerant soybeans (Lappe et al., 1998) and unpredicted changes in the small molecule metabolism of GE potatoes (Roessner et al., 2001) are three of many examples of unintended effects in GE crops (see also Kuiper et al., 2001, Haslberger, 2003).” (pg 8).

Read more about this and other surprising GMO facts on our GMO Fact Sheet, 7 Really Good Reasons to Rethink GMOs with full citations and explanations found here.

64 countries around the world require GMO ingredients to be labeled - the US is not one of them.

Center for Food Safety. “International Labeling Laws.” Accessed September 26, 2013. http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/976/ge-food-labeling/international-labeling-laws.
See website for list of all 64 countries.

Read more about this and other surprising GMO facts on our GMO Fact Sheet, 7 Really Good Reasons to Rethink GMOs with full citations and explanations found here.

93% of Americans favor labeling of GMO ingredients but the biotech industry has spent millions to block mandatory labeling initiatives.

Americans favor labeling of GMO ingredients:
Kopicki, Allison. “Strong Support for Labeling Modified Foods.” New York Times, July 27, 2013. Accessed September 26, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/science/strong-support-for-labeling-modified-foods.html?_r=1&.

“Americans overwhelmingly support labeling foods that have been genetically modified or engineered, according to a New York Times poll conducted this year, with 93 percent of respondents saying that foods containing such ingredients should be identified.”

Biotech industry spends millions to block GMO labeling:
Goldenberg, Suzanne. “Prop 37: Food Companies Spend $45m to Defeat California GM Label Bill.” The Guardian, November 5, 2012. Accessed September 26, 2012. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/nov/05/prop-37-food-gm-bill.

“Monsanto and other agribusiness and food companies have spent more than $45m (£28m) to defeat a California ballot measure that would require labelling of some GM foods.”

Read more about this and other surprising GMO facts on our GMO Fact Sheet, 7 Really Good Reasons to Rethink GMOs with full citations and explanations found here.

Three chemical corporations acquired more than 200 seed companies from 1996 to 2008 - they control over half of the world's commercial seed market.

Consolidation of seed companies:
Howard, Philip H. “Visualizing Consolidation in the Global Seed Industry: 1996–2008.” Sustainability 1:4 (2009): 1266-1287. Accessed September 26, 2013. doi: 10.3390/su1041266.
Link to abstract which has access to free pdf full-text: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/1/4/1266.

“During the study period the firms that eventually became the largest acquired or created joint ventures with more than two hundred firms.” (pg 1273)

Three companies control over half of commercial seed market worldwide:
“Seeds Giants vs. U.S. Farmers.” Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds, 2013. Accessed September 26, 2013. http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/seed-giants_final_04424.pdf.

“In the last few decades, the U.S. has led a radical shift toward commercialization, consolidation, and control of seed ownership. Three agrichemical firms—Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta—now control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market.” (pg 2)

Read more about this and other surprising GMO facts on our GMO Fact Sheet, 7 Really Good Reasons to Rethink GMOs with full citations and explanations found here.

Monsanto's patented genes are in 95% of all US soybeans and 80% of all US corn.

CBS News. “AP: Monsanto Strongarms Seed Industry.” January 4, 2011. Accessed September 29, 2013. http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500395_162-5978152.html.

“With Monsanto's patented genes being inserted into roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., the company also is using its wide reach to control the ability of new biotech firms to get wide distribution for their products, according to a review of several Monsanto licensing agreements and dozens of interviews with seed industry participants, agriculture and legal experts."

Read more about this and other surprising GMO facts on our GMO Fact Sheet, 7 Really Good Reasons to Rethink GMOs with full citations and explanations found here.

The cost per acre of soybean and corn seeds (most of which is genetically modified) has tripled since 1996 in the US.

We used the USDA data base to search for seed prices in the US in 1996 and 2012 (corn); and 1997 and 2012 (soy). Below, please find instructions on how to replicate our search and view the raw data we used to calculate change in cost over each time period:

(1) Go to http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/commodity-costs-and-returns.aspx
For Corn:
(2) In the field labeled "data" please select "recent costs and returns: corn"
(3) download the spreadsheet titled "U.S.: 1996-2000, 2001-04, 2005-09, 2010-12"
For Soy:
(2) In the field labeled "data" please select "recent costs and returns: soybeans"
(3) download the spreadsheet titled "U.S.: 1997-2001, 2002-05, 2006-12"

We Found:
Corn Operating Costs:
Cost of seed per acre in 1996: $26.65
Cost of seed per acre in 2012: $89.88
Percent change from 1996 to 2012: 237.2%
Soy Operating Costs:
Cost of seed per acre in 1997: $19.72
Cost of seed per acre in 2012: $62.68
Percent change from 1997 to 2012: 217%

Read more about this and other surprising GMO facts on our GMO Fact Sheet, 7 Really Good Reasons to Rethink GMOs with full citations and explanations found here.

Every $5 in food stamps means $9 in economic activity.

Research shows that spending on SNAP (food stamps) is among one of the best forms of government stimulus. See this article for more statistics: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/food-stamps-statistics-SNAP-...

Research from the above article was drawn from a report released by Moody’s Economy.com. To learn more about the report, see here: http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/29/news/economy/stimulus_analysis/

Sydney, Australia’s Chief Development Officer says the city plans to reach 100% renewable power, & heating, and cooling by 2030.

The renewable energy master plan outlines how 100% of the City’s electricity, heating and cooling can come from renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and energy from waste, by 2030. See more here: http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/vision/sustainability/carbon-reductio...

There are still more libraries than McDonald’s locations in the United States

Number of libraries in the United States: 17,000
Number of McDonald’s: 14,000

Source: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/how-to-eat-like-our-lives-depend-on-it...

If minimum wage had risen at same rate as US productivity growth, it would now be over $17/hour.

According this NYT editorial, if minimum wage had risen at same rate as US productivity growth, it would now be $17/hour: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/opinion/redefining-the-minimum-wage.ht...

Other research indicates that, if minimum wage had risen at same rate as US productivity growth, it would now be $21.72/hour: http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/min-wage1-2012-03.pdf

In 23 countries food is recognized as a constitutional “right.” Guess which country’s not one of them.

From section 3.3.1 of Constitutional and Legal Protection of the Right to Food around the World. See the full report here: http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/ap554e/ap554e.pdf

A total of 23 constitutions recognize the right to food explicitly as a human right.
Of these, nine countries recognize the right as a separate and stand-alone right:

  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Educador
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Kenya
  • South Africa
  • Nepal (Interim Constitution recognizes an individual right to food sovereignty)
  • Nicaragua (provides for the right of every person to be free from hunger)

Ten constitutions recognize the right to food of a specific segment of the population. These countries have provisions regarding the right of food to Children:

  • Brazil
  • Columbia
  • Cuba
  • Guatamala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • South Africa

Additionally, Costa Rica protects the right to food of indigenous children; while South Africa also specifies the right to food of prisoners and detainees.

An additional five countries recognize the right to food explicitly as part of a human right to an adequate standard of living, quality of life, or development:

  • Belarus
  • The Congo
  • Malawi
  • Moldova
  • Ukraine

Additionally, the right to food is explicitly recognized in Brazil and in Suriname as part of the right to work.

80% of the waste generated by a typical school could be recycled or composted.
High-flying kites tethered to generators can produce enough energy to power eight homes for a year.

The scientists have recently demonstrated that flying a single 10-square-meter kite could produce 10 kilowatts of power, which could supply electricity for about 10 homes. See more here: http://phys.org/news137388314.html

To boost political participation law requires Brazil high schoolers to study philosophy for 2 hours a week!
Beef production uses 35 energy calories for 1 food calorie, while plants use only 3.

Statistic from new report by Institute of Mechanical Engineers: http://www.imeche.org/knowledge/themes/environment/global-food

Don't worry, be healthy! Harvard scientists find that optimism helps the heart!

“Harvard researchers Julia Boehm and Laura Kubzansky discovered that certain psychological traits—optimism, positive emotions and a sense of meaning—offer measurable protection against heart attacks and strokes. These characteristics have been found to slow the progression of cardiovascular disease as well.”

Read about the study here: http://odewire.com/280129/don%E2%80%99t-worry-be-healthy.html

In 12 years, Brazil's 4th largest city Belo Horizonte cut its under-five mortality rate by 73%.

Brazil’s Belo Horizonte (2.5 million) cut hunger so much in just 12 years that deaths of children under 5 fell 72.6%. between 1993 and 2005, p. 4

Source:
Cecilia Rocha and lara Lessa, Urban Governances for Food Security: The Alternative Food System in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, citing Lansky et al., 2007.

The number of farmers’ markets nationwide has grown to 8,100 -- tripling since 2000.

Arun Gupta, “It's Time to Stand Up to the Food Industry and Take Pleasure in Buying and Cooking and Eating Real Food,” Yes! 68 (Winter 2014): 22.

Young people in the US drove 23% fewer miles in 2009 than the same age group did in 2001.

Young people ages 16 to 34 drove 23% fewer miles in 2009 than the same age group did in 2001, helping to reverse a 60-year trend of increased per-capita driving miles in the United States.
Michael Brune, "Generation Cool: Optimists, Activists, Leaders," Sierra Magazine, 98, no. 5 (2013), 4.

Soil harbors 1/4 of all known biodiversity on earth, and 80% of its biomass.

Carolyn Lebel, "Living Soil, The lessons we can learn from France's fertile farmland," UTNE Reader no. 175 (2013): 8

Children on ecologically managed farms have fewer allergies.

Daphne Miller, "How Dirt heals Us," Yes! 68, (2014):27

Ninety corporations have caused nearly half of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions since 1986.

Ninety corporations, including some state owned, have caused nearly half of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions since 1986.
http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/sierra/2014-4-july-august/graphic/dirt...

Brazil's deforestation rate has fallen by 70% since 2005 and their GHG emissions fell 39% between 2005-10

Brazil's deforestation rate has fallen by 70% since 2005 and GHG emissions fell 39% between 2005-10
http://www.vox.com/2014/6/14/5808548/brazils-fight-against-deforestation...