Genetically Modified Foods: The Answer to World Hunger Essay

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Genetically Modified Foods: The Answer to World Hunger

Genetically modified (GM) foods have become omnipresent over the past decade. They are a technological breakthrough that allows humans to manipulate and add foreign genes to crops to enhance desired traits, but they have also evolved into a controversial issue, especially for Third World countries. Some people believe that GM foods not only provide larger yields to feed hungry citizens in Third World countries, but they can also be a source of great nutritional value. For example, researchers have developed a strain of golden rice containing high amounts of vitamin A and numerous other vitamins and minerals. Additionally, GM crops are laced with herbicides and pesticides, and
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The Royal Society of London asserts that "dramatic advances are required in food production, distribution and access [to] address the needs [of developing nations]" (157). Poverty in Third World nations has never been as high as it is today. Developed nations are the only source for aid to Third World countries that lack financial resources, research opportunities, and economic advantages. For instance, Third World countries, such as India, face starvation and malnutrition, weak legal and political accountability, and tremendous financial hardship. The establishment of GM foods in these counties will improve their situation in many ways. Benefits of GM crops include: increased yields, shelf-life, quality, nutritive value, and pharmaceutical benefits such as vaccines; elimination of pesticides and other chemical usage; less tillage; and less land required to cultivate, which means that more biodiversity is preserved. Additionally, in the long run, GM foods are less expensive to grow than non-transgenic crops. Clearly, the use of GM foods brings tremendous benefits to humans and to the environment in developing nations.

Although these benefits are clear, there are also potential negative risks as a result of the introduction of GM crops to Third World countries. Environmental risks associated with GM foods include unregulated cross-pollination with other plants that may lead to unforeseen, possibly dangerous, results. There is also a fear that
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