How many of you hear the words “genetically modified food” and immediately think “BAD”? How many of you scorn the idea that genetically modified foods are useful? How many of you have been manipulated by the media to think that all biotechnology is evil? Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms that have been genetically spliced to achieve a certain trait. As the demand for a larger food supply is increasing due to population growth, the benefits that GMO foods provide are being hailed as the only solution to the food crisis. However, many people are making inadequately informed decisions, and are pushing them to the back shelf. I will inform you on why genetically modified organisms may be the only way to a stable, safe future for the less fortunate.
There has been an ongoing debate about the use of GMOs in the food we eat since the late 1900’s. People try to decide what is best for the body, but never know what they are feeding themselves even after reading the nutritional labels. Whether eating at a local fast food joint or a high-end restaurant, people are unaware of where their food is actually coming from and the process it takes to their plate. Little do they know that in the beginning stages of what they eat, there is some modification to the crop. Monsanto is an agribusiness focused on the growth of crops involving GMOs. Produced by Monsanto, many genetically modified crops go into several foods that people eat. A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism that uses genes
The genetic modification of food is a very controversial subject around the world founded by Monsanto, a company involved in agricultural technology, in the 1980’s (Wikipedia). Since then, many other companies have also started to modify their food to avoid using pesticides. I define genetically modified foods (or GM foods) as foods produced from organisms that have had specific changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering (Wikipedia). There are many different views concerning GMOs and I will explore the ideological and ethical arguments associated with this subject. I will also analyse the global and national perspectives as well as my own, investigating what factors affect the decision of nations or individuals on whether GMOs are enriching or detrimental to health.
You may not know it, but in the United States GM foods are quite prevalent. Approximately 65% of foods in the U.S. contain some variation of genetically altered ingredients (Ulrich 9). And of that portion, 89% of soybeans and 61% of corn is transgenic (Powell 529). This technology came to prominence in the 1990’s and since then has been a subject of much controversy. Proponents preach the undeniable health and growing benefits of this new development. Critics rail against biotech companies for the ambiguous safety status and ethical grounds of altering natural plant growth. The center stage for this conflict is Europe. While generally similar to the U.S., this region of the world is much more outwardly suspicious and hostile towards crop alterations.
You may know about the emerging field of biotechnology - the medicine, the ethics, the DNA, the Human Genome, etc. But few realize the emergence of its agricultural branch, and the international conflict that has arisen from it. It may apply to you more than you thought, for half of the soybean products and a quarter of the corn you ate in 1999 may have been genetically modified (Kaufman A6). Genetically modified crops (commonly referred to as GMOs) are crops whose characteristics have been altered to produce a favorable trait, whether it be prolonged freshness, a more attractive appearance, or pesticide resistance (Activist 1). Genetic alteration is the act of inserting a gene, which contains specific DNA (usually from another species), into an organism so that it will produce a protein to create a specific trait. Many have argued over the ethical appropriateness of the issue, but this time new concerns come into view. Many consumers all over the world are worried about human safety, environmental preservation, and international trade.
There is no denying that the most important item in people’s lives is food. With the United States’ current technology and advancements in farming, food is overall easy to acquire and comes in a large selection. However, an important staple to the human life and diet is the source of a large heated debate. This debate is over the topic of whether or not America should continue to take part in the production of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Opposers say that GMOs are harmful to the lives of humans and animals, while supporters argue that not only do GMOs pose no harm to anyone’s health, but are beneficial in numerous ways. I believe both sides bring up excellent points, arguments, and research. However, I believe that the growing population of America cannot continue to be supported by current agricultural methods, and GMOs are the inevitable solution to keeping America’s food supply thriving.
GMOs, an abbreviation for “genetically modified organisms”, are a result of laboratory processes of taking genes from one species and transferring them into a different species as an attempt to obtain or remove a specific trait or characteristic. GMOs are also known as genetically engineered organisms and transgenic organisms. Genetically Modified Organisms were unrecognized until 1982 when the FDA approved the first Genetically Modified Organism, Humulin, which is insulin that is produced by genetically engineered E. coli bacteria. Then, in 1994 the FDA approved the first Flavr Savr tomato for sale in grocery stores, which had a much longer shelf life than regular tomatoes. Shortly after, GMO resistant weeds appeared in 1996. GM products do not stop at foods, but are also used in other products such as common garden plants, clothing, and medicine. Since appearance, GMO’s and labeling policies of products containing GMOs have been a source of great controversy both globally and nationally as to whether these “science experiments” are harmful to the environment and health of those consuming products containing them. Today, there are no restrictions or guidelines for products containing GMOs. Some think that there are no threats associated with GMOs, but it is fact that products containing GMOs are potentially harmful to consumers and a strict labeling method should be in place to inform consumers of what they are purchasing. I will argue that labeling of products containing genetically modified materials should be mandatory.
How well do we know the food we are eating? Ever wondered whether these foods are safe? In the recent years, people have become more aware of how genetically modified foods have substituted our diets with altered foods -- to which little we know about the long term effects on humans. These food being fed to us is called Genetic Modified Organism or GMOs. Just in 2012, prop 37 was proposed in California, which would have required labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food, with some exceptions. Although this prop did not pass, it did however raise the awareness. When one thinks about GMOs, it does not seem like a hot issue, but it still deserves some attention because it has to do with people’s health and people deserve to know what they are eating. Consequently, the Government should regulate GMOs by requiring labeling of such foods.
The debate over whether to keep the production genetically modified organisms, or to cease it all together. They help many countries around the world with low food sources, due to climate and other hindrances. With GMO’s aiding countries in need, it will have a helping hand for the availability of more food. These crops and livestock promote ideal solutions to nutrition, world hunger and the environment. With all that being said, GMO foods are one of the most frowned upon food sources in the world. We asked the question “How Does the Ever-Increasing Need for GMO’s affect the Food Industry in the States, and Abroad?” And what are some of the pros, cons, and ways of containment of GMO’s?
"Genetically Modified Food." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2013. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 3 May 2014.
In the world today, many Americans see terrorism as the leading threat to security, but for much of the human race, the effects of growing populations, rising temperatures, water shortages, and droughts on food availability present far more daunting challenges. Unfortunately, like most problems humans face, a clear-cut answer may not exist. However, with recent scientific advances, genetically modified crops have made it possible to help feed a hungry world through GMOs. People often ask the question, should farmers practice GMO farming? It seems ludicrous to say no to technological advances that could help one billion chronically hungry people in the world. The potential advantages of genetically modified foods, such as environmental, health,
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the use of Genetically Modified crops in today’s foods and products. First we must answer, what exactly is a Genetically Modified crop, or more commonly known as a “GMO”? According to the FDA, the U.S. food and drug administration, a GMO is simply “a plant developed through a process in which a copy of a desired gene from one plant or organism is placed into another plant to achieve a desired trait” (fda.org). For years, consumers have been purchasing products containing GMOs without any knowledge of doing so, and recently, GMOs have become a huge topic of conversation. Many questions have been raised regarding Genetically Modified products, but one of the most prominent is should products containing GMOs be labeled as so? The answer is absolutely not.
Now, in the year of 2014, biotechnologists have the ability to do things akin to that of science fiction novels. The idea of genetically modifying plants to behave in any way we want, an idea once fantasized about many years ago, is now a reality. In our modern age, we can manipulate the actual DNA of an organism using enzymes to copy, cut and paste genes in any location or order we please. This technology is even used on the plants we consume as food, provoking a huge controversy on a global scale. This issue is most prevalent within the US though. In the year 2000, 68 percent of all the transgenic food within the world was produced in the US [Nottingham 7]. Furthermore, estimates suggest that as much as 80% of U.S. processed food may contain an ingredient from a GE crop [Lemaux 777]. With these significant statistics one would assume the American public is very opinionated on the matter, but shockingly, research by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology has shown that in 2005 Americans’ knowledge of genetically modified foods and animals continued to remain low [Pew 2]. These shocking finding prove that, as a whole, Americans are uneducated about what they are eating and how it is produced. Genetically modified organisms, or GMO’s as they are called, will not be going anytime soon so it is absolutely necessary that every US citizen become educated on this possible life-...