GMO: Helpful or Harmful?
The battle about genetically modified food is intensifying more and more each day as to whether it is doing more harm than good to the health of the environment and the general population. While there is some potential for a successful GMO world, there are far too many risks and safety factors involved. The factors include the unknown consequences of eating GMOs, the effect of genetic engineering on the environment and genetic diversity, and the massive amounts of herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides required in GMOs. These products are unsafe, unnatural, and have the potential to cause irreversible damage in the future.
Others who disagree might argue that GMOs increase food supply, tolerance of harsh environmental conditions on crops, and pest and disease resistance. While these arguments may have some validity, the idea that these products can be very unsafe and damaging cannot be excused because of these pros.
First, genetic engineering can reduce genetic diversity. Plants with reduced genetic diversity cannot handle drought, fungus, or pests as well as natural plants can. GMOs strengthen homogeneity and increase the vulnerability of crops to environmental changes. There is also a concern for the spread of altered genes to weeds and other wild relatives creating “super-weeds” that will be resistant to herbicides found in GMOs. This in turn would defeat the purpose of genetically engineering crops. In the end, the GM process will be more costly to farmers and agriculture itself.
In addition, GMOs require massive amounts of herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides. According to Mark Anslow, Ecologist Editor, “no genetically modifies crop has yet eliminated the need for chemical fertilizers in order to achieve expected yields.” (Anslow, 464) Also, these chemicals are poisonous and should never be eaten. Why then would companies such as Syngenta and Monsanto find it safe for humans to ingest such poison?