Fast Company

Are Monsanto's GMO Soybeans Good for Us?

soybeans

Monsanto's genetically modified (GMO) soybeans have frequently been vilified over the years. The soybeans, protesters say, require too many pesticides, see lower yields, and could be responsible for the growth of resistant weeds. Now Monsanto appears to be emerging from the shadows of its nasty Big Ag reputation to do some good in the form of GMO soybean plants that contain omega-3 fatty acid-boosting oils.

Omega-3 fatty acids, known to cut the risk of heart disease, are present in fatty fish like sardines, albacore tuna, mackerel, and herring. Non-fish eaters miss out on omega-3's heart healthy benefits, and fishophiles are warned to limit their intake because of the high levels of mercury and other contaminants in fish. Since Monsanto's soybeans are present in everything from breakfast bars to salad dressing, the benefits of omega-3 could easily extend to anyone who eats food from the grocery store. The soybeans could even take the pressure off dwindling fish populations to provide us with heart-healthy fatty acids.

The soybeans need to be approved by biotech regulators at the Department of Agriculture before they can be produced in the U.S. Once they're out in the marketplace, Monsanto expects that average levels of omega-3s in the U.S. population will rise, potentially lowering the overall incidence of heart disease. And since heart disease is the top cause of death worldwide, that's a big deal.

Still, it's difficult to say conclusively that the benefits of Monsanto's soybeans--whether or not they contain omega-3s--outweigh the consequences. As mentioned previously, the company's GMO soybeans have caused a jump in the amount of pesticides used worldwide. These pesticides provoke the growth of herbicide-resistant "super-weeds" that lower yields and increase costs. But can a price be put on keeping the general population just a little bit healthier? It's a debate that may never see a conclusion.

[Via Bloomberg]

Add New Comment

5 Comments

  • You're an idiot

    This article is incorrect, I am an agricultural producer of crops grown with GMO seeds and we use a noticeably less amount of pesticides, if any, and need less waterings. The GMO seed is going to help make agriculture more efficient, why would they spend all that money to make a seed that is less efficient than the heirloom seed, DUH. Get this garbage off the web and do your research.

  • Montana Sage

    Genetically modified soy is one of the culprits for Mayo Clinic's newsletter statement that over 50% of foods in grocery stores have GMOs. Always check ingredients. Unless it says USDA organic, assume it has GMOs. (Although we need to watch FDA & USDA very closely so that they do not compromise the labeling standard.) Same for corn and all derivatives. Speak with your purchasing power. For those who don't care and want to eat GMOs in their food, labeling shouldn't make any difference. Marketing people, why are you worried? Labeling doesn't cost any more than putting "new & improved" on your expensive packaging. In fact, given the economy, drop the fancy packaging and give consumers the information they are demanding.

  • Montana Sage

    Either the author has not done their homework - federal agency approval means nothing - they have not done and don't plan to do testing of genetically modified food. FDA relies on the applicant to do adequate testing - which is clearly a conflict of interest. The fact is, in the industry negative test results are routinely not reported. And positive test results have serious drawbacks. Longterm effects cannot be known if the study time period was short (eg., 90 days or even 6 months). You can find more data and facts on the Internet - look elsewhere for intelligent discussion of this topic.