BY WILLY BLACKMORE
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
Since the first genetically engineered crops were approved for commercial production in the United States in the mid-1990s, GMO corn and soy have come to nearly dominate the industry. More than 90 percent of both crops are now genetically engineered, and GMO cotton, alfalfa, and sugar beets have enjoyed similar commercial success.
In many cases, the crops have been genetically modified to withstand the herbicide glyphosate, which Monsanto sells under the brand name Roundup. While there’s been endless emphasis on the possible—and yet unfounded—health risks associated with consuming the GMO crops themselves, perhaps the focus should have been on the herbicide itself. The altered crops allow farmers to spray their fields and only kill unwanted weeds, a boon that has caused glyphosate use to skyrocket over the last two decades, jumping from 20 million pounds used per year in 1992 to more than 250 million pounds in 2011. On Friday, the World Health Organization’s cancer group, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, announced that it is “probably carcinogenic.”