As human civilization has evolved over the centuries, the way we produce our food has changed. There are many terms for describing this process such as food biotechnology or genetic engineering, but the most common one is genetically modified organisms or GMO. GMOs are used on plant life to enhance certain qualities before consumption or extraction. There have been many concerns about this subject, but despite this it should continue to be used in the future out of necessity.
Genetic modified organisms, or GMOs, are living organisms that, through the genetic engineering process, have been altered to withstand certain chemicals and increase the nutritional value of the product. In fact, the majority of the foods found at the grocery store are genetically altered. Genetic modification is becoming increasingly popular on farms throughout the United States and moving into other parts of the world due to their increasing yield capabilities and pest and weed control. However, this has been, and continues to be, an extremely controversial topic of discussion in the world of agriculture and biotechnology, as well as health food critics, because of potential environmental and health risks.
Genetic engineering is the deliberate modification of the characteristics of an organism by manipulating its genetic material, otherwise known as DNA. Since biochemists Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer pioneered genetic engineering in 1973, the process has grown to have numerous applications such as medicine production, for example insulin (Mckinley). However, a main topic of concern is the application of genetic engineering on foods that we eat everyday. By modifying the genetic "blueprint" of crops, it is possible to improve many aspects of agriculture. But with any sort of scientific discovery that allows humans to act as Mother Nature, genetically modifying organisms has been a very controversial topic. Yet our society continues to grow, and the need for the benefits of genetically modified foods continues to grow. Genetically modifying foods should be permitted in our society because it allows larger yields of crops to be produced, produces foods with higher nutritional values, and reduces our global ecological footprint.
There are two types of GMO; herbicide tolerant and self-generating insecticide. “The herbicide tolerant variety are designed to survive high doses of toxic weed killers” (Must-Avoid Foods: Linking GMO to Toxicity and Disease, 2012). When the toxic weed killers get used on these crops, some of the toxins end up in the weed in the food. What is alarming is that the toxic weed killers are actually linked to birth defects, cancer, and hormone disruption (Must-Avoid Foods: Linking GMO to Toxicity and Disease, 2012). The self-generating insecticide such as corn, produces their own insecticide in each and every cell (Swanson, Genetically Modified Organisms and the deterioration of health in the United States, 2013). When insects eats the corn or any other food with the insecticide, Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) toxin, the insecticide breaks open the stomach of insects in order to kill them. Although this supposedly applies only to insects, studies have shown that the BT-toxin can also break the wall of
In conclusion, GMOs and pesticides are harmful and alarming to producers and consumers. They cause animals pain and harm humans when consumed. Many animals live short and painful lives, while humans now must suffer with long term diseases or damage to their bodies. Although some argue that Genetically modified produce is benefiting producers and consumers, I still argue that genetically modified organisms harm animals and
The human body is not designed to handle all the toxins that are put into GMO products, and as consumers, we should be informed of the potential harm we are putting into our bodies. Helke Ferrie, in his article “Evidence Grows of Harmful Effects of GMOs on Human Health” states, “…all modern human diseases are being caused by environmental toxins of our own making” (12), on the contrary, in the journal “GMOs – A solution or a Problem”, Mark Lynas claims that “… there has never been a single sustained health concern [caused by GMOs]” (132). Ferrie mentions multiple studies where GMOs have proven to “…increase the incidence of cancer, diabetes, hormone disruption, neurological, immunological and other metabolic disorders” (12). After mass amounts of research have been conducted to prove the dangers of GMOs, proof that has been gathered of the detriments genetically modified organisms bring to the human liver; researchers conclude, “… anything that upsets the liver must be… exceedingly
These concerns are about the potential of illnesses GMOs could cause. An article observes, “In the 20-plus years on the market, GMOs have not caused or contributed to a single illness or death” (“GMO Myths Vs. Facts”). There have not been any traces of illnesses after multiple testing of GMO products. Since there are only ten commercially farmed genetically modified crops in the United States, the possibility of people getting a disease from them is rare; especially because three of the crops are mainly for feeding livestock. People have believed multiple problems are linked to GMOs. For instance, “in 2013, the journal food and chemical toxicology retracted a paper linked to herbicide roundup and round up-tolerant GM corn to cancer and premature death in rats… they found researchers had used too few rats… and the results were inconclusive” (Colbert, par. 16). Since the researchers did not have enough evidence, the possibility of the problem being GMOs are
With numerous developments plaguing agricultural production, the implementation of Genetically Modified Organisms, commonly referred to as GMOs, is best suited to be used in food manufacturing. It is estimated that by the year 2050, global food production must increase by seventy percent. However with current practices in place and the limited expansion of farmland due to urbanization, such production rates are nearly impossible to achieve. The use of Genetically Modified Organisms seems to be among the only feasible options to rapidly increase food production and thus aid in this crisis which plagues even though most developed countries, such as the United States. Specifically in the United States, the use of Genetically Modified Organism
Michelle Schoffro cook, PhD, DNM, Clinical Nutritionist. Michelle states that “according to research published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Scientists found that the genetically-modified corn was linked to liver and kidney damage in animal” (Schoffro). In other words what Michelle is saying is that there is proof that GMOs could cause some damage to the animal’s organs. These so called GMOs are modified genetically so that they can produce their own pesticides and therefore they are immune to any plague. Studies show that some of those pesticides are toxic to humans. Some of those toxins are the Bt-toxin and Roundup Ready which are now found in corn, cotton and soybeans. These two pesticides have been linked to severe health risks. Studies conducted on animal have shown that GMOs can cause damage to their liver, kidney, and the male’s reproductive organ damage and spleen damage. This should make us wonder, if these modifications on the food have a drastic effect on animals, then we must assume the same thing could happen to us. In the same matter, now that these pesticides and toxins are built in the plants they cannot be washed off, which means that they are being consumed. This leads us to the conclusion that we are eating a food that could kill
While these are valid concerns, they are entirely wrong. According to the World Health Organization in 2005, “GM foods currently traded on the international market have passed risk assessments in several countries and are not likely to present risks for human health” (Novella). Many of those who are anti-GMO claim that GMOs are not safe because they do not know enough about them or they have heard far too many conflicting reports. While there are many reports that claim that GMOs are detrimental to the environment, the three agencies that oversee GM crops, the FDA, USDA, and EDA, have ruled that these crops do not pose any real threat. Since the beginning of the GM crop in 1996, there have been 2,497 approvals of the safety of GMOs in the environment and 1,129 of these approvals have been for the food safety of the products (Monsanto). This further disproves the claim that GMOs are unsafe for humans and the environment and reassures that there is no risk involved in either the consumption or the planting of GM
The scientists who discovered problems with GMO’s have been attacked, gagged, fired, and get denied funding. “The GM crops and their associated herbicide can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms.” They reduce polluted water sources and are unsustainable. “For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose population is down 50% in the U.S.” It shows that GMO’s can cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and, endocrine disruptions, even if they have low doses. GMOs threaten to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to
In her online video, "Talking about food safety," Monsanto 's lead toxicologist, Shawna Lemke says that, "In recent years people have become increasingly interested in where their food comes from, and how it is produced....there is still conflicting and confusing information about Genetically Modified Foods, but because of the intense work the scientists that work here do, we all feel confident in feeding them to our kids." Monsanto is a Fortune 500 "sustainable agricultural" company that started in 1901, introducing their first product, saccharin. They move on to produce agricultural chemicals in 1945, and by 1982 they were genetically modifying plant cells (DNA). They now have 404 facilities in sixty-six countries, and supply 76% of the world 's seeds. It seems Monsanto has a stronghold on the world 's genetically modified seeds. Although Monsanto claims that genetically modified food is safe, there are conflicting studies claiming they are unsafe and cause harm to humans, plants and animals. However, there have not been any scientific research done concerning this in the United States. How would these studies affect our supply of genetically modified food here in The United States? What about the farmers? How does this stronghold affect the farmers here in the United States? The United States Government needs to perform their own scientific research studies to assess the health risks of Genetically Modified Food, and
In the past three decades, scientists have learned how to mix and match characteristics among unrelated creatures by moving genes from one creature to another. This is called “genetic engineering.” Genetic Engineering is prematurely applied to food production. There are estimates that food output must increase by 60 percent over the next 25 years to keep up with demand. Thus, the result of scientist genetically altering plants for more consumption. The two most common methods for gene transfer are biological and electromechanical. “Early experiments all involved changing DNA using bacterial vectors”(Randerson, 2001). Through other advances scientists proclaim how they can improve the human gene pool. All humans have
For centuries, humans have indirectly manipulated DNA of plants and animals through selective breeding to produce organisms with traits desirable to man, allowing humans to expand their population by expanding their resources. However, not until the discovery of the exact structure of DNA in 1953 were scientists able to directly alter an organism’s genes within one generation. Despite the long history of genetic engineering and its safer, more precise techniques today, the general public condemns the technology out of ignorance and fear of an unpredictable future. Genetic engineering yields great power, and could therefore bring great harm, so while our society must remain cautious, we cannot completely reject such a promising technology but must instead encourage research so we have a better understanding of it by not only scientists, but all citizens.
Much of the public concern surrounding the safety of GMOs stems from the process of actually creating them. This is admittedly not a natural process, which is a surefire way to raise critic’s eyebrows in doubting their safety. However, there is no evidence that supports these myths. The Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops, The National Academy of Science, and the Board on Agriculture and Natural Recourses all agree after extensive testing and observation that there is no additional harm in the consumption of GMO food. The research conducted in animal studies, as well as chemical analysis of the crops, show no indication that GMOs are negatively affecting human health. The next allegation hurled at GMOs is that they may have