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Should Labeling be Required for GMOs?

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Should Labeling be Required for GMOs? The debate over genetically modified foods continues to haunt producers and consumers alike. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are foods that have been modified through bioengineering to possess certain characteristics. These plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or increased nutritional content (Whitman, 2000). The debate continues to grow as to whether these genetically altered foodstuffs are the answer to hunger in the coming years, or whether we are simply children playing with something that we do not have the capacity to understand. One of the biggest debates in the GMO issue is whether producers need to use labeling of foods that contain GMOs, or whether they should be treated as any other natural food source. This research will support the position that current regulatory practices concerning GMO crops are inadequate and that stricter labeling laws for GMOs needs to be enforced. Before genetic engineering, plants were bred using standards cross-pollination techniques to produce improved strains. This method was time consuming, taking many generations to perfect. It was not very precise either (Whitman, 2000). There were many factors that could influence the outcome. With genetic engineering, the researcher can isolate the exact gene sequence responsible for the desired characteristic, such as drought tolerance, or high productivity (Whitman, 2000). Some of the current uses of genetically modifications being used are pest resistance, herbicide tolerance, disease resistance, cold tolerance, drought tolerance, salinity tolerance, nutritional content, pharmaceuticals, edible vaccines, and phytoremdiation (Whitm... ... middle of paper ... ...the right of the consumer to make an informed decision regarding the foods that they eat. In the end, it is the consumer that will decide, regardless of what the scientific evidence eventually appears. Works Cited NG, J. (2008). UK experts urge RP consumers to push for GMO labeling. Checkbiotech. http://greenbio.checkbiotech.org/news/uk_experts_urge_rp_consumers_push_gmo_labeli ng Raab, C. & Grobe, D. (2003). Labeling Genetically Engineered Food: The Consumer’s Right to Know? AgBioForum. 6 (4): 155-161. From http://www.agbioforum.missouri.edu/v6n4/v6n4a02-raab.pdf Whitman, D. (2000). Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful. from http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php. World Health Organization (WHO) (2009). 20 Questions on genetically modified foods. http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/.
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