26 January 2013
The Labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms Should Be Made Mandatory Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating or recombination. According to Jeffrey Smith, a respected authority on GMO’s, in his documentary Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives GMO’s could be in as much as 90% of processed food in the United States. Genetic modification (GM), also called genetic engineering (GE), or recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology is the process of taking genes and segments of DNA from one species and putting them into another species. Currently in the U.S. there are no legal requirements for manufacturers to label products containing GMO’s, because of this, new legislation needs to be put into effect that would require the stringent testing of GMO’s to determine whether they could be hazardous to the environment or people and animals that consume them, as well as requiring manufacturers to label all products containing GMO’s (Smith). There are only nine GM plants used for food and feed in the US and they include: Soy, cotton, corn, canola, sugar beets, papaya, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, and alfalfa. And the percent of the total acreage of these crops that are GM is astounding. As of 2011, over 12% of the earth’s farmable land is sown with GM seeds. Both GM soy and cotton make up ninety-three percent, and GM sugar beets make up ninety-five percent of the total crops grown in the world (McLure). One common type of GMO that is used in agriculture is the herbicide tolerant plants. Herbicide tolerant GMO’s are developed to survive the application of the herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is a chemical chelator or binder. When glyphosate is applied to the soil it binds to numerous nutrients in the soil. The plants in the soil are then unable to absorb these nutrients making them nutrient deficient. This...