By Sam Holz
The issue of whether or not individuals in our society should be growing and consuming genetically engineered crops is a polarizing topic nationally as well as here in Boulder, and it does not seem to be going away anytime in the near future. Those opposed to the production of genetically modified crops generally argue that we do not have enough information or knowledge to judge what type of effect these genetically modified organisms are having on individuals and the environment. They believe that GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) are potentially hazardous to both human health and the environment. However, those who argue that genetically modified crops are dangerous and should be eliminated are failing to acknowledge that they cannot prove that GMO’s are actually dangerous, and are also failing to recognize all of the benefits these GMO’s can bring into fruition. The growth of genetically modified crops should be promoted in Boulder for a few reasons. Genetically modified foods and organisms are put through rigorous testing and are just as safe as Non-GM foods, can have a positive effect on human health and the environment, and can help stimulate Boulder’s economy by creating jobs and reducing hunger. It is clear that the benefits of genetically modified crops outweigh some of the potentially negative aspects of GMO’s that naysayers like to describe when discussing the subject. Those opposed to the production of GMO’s argue that the increased growth of genetically modified foods is directly related to the rise in the amount of serious health problems in our society today (Robinson, 2011). For example, some like to point to the fact that they think allergies and intolerance to certain foods has increased a great deal as genetically modified foods have become more prevalent in our society (Robinson, 2011). However, these reasons should not be sufficient enough to convince anyone that genetically altered crops should not be grown here in Boulder. There are plenty of reasons why we should allow GMO’s in our society that overshadow concerns about allergies and food intolerance. First and foremost, those who claim that genetically modified foods are dangerous have no real proof of this. There are no hard statistics available that show that genetically modified foods are more hazardous to human health than organic foods. According to the World Health Organization, “GM foods available on the international market have passed risk assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved” (World Health Organization, 2008). Not only do those who oppose GMO’s fail to mention that these foods are healthy in almost all cases, but they also fail to recognize all of the benefits GMO’s can provide that organic foods cannot. The next generation of genetically modified crops is being developed primarily to benefit human health (ScienceDaily, 2009). Not only are GMO’s just as safe in most cases as other foods, but they can also benefit human health by combating certain allergies. Researchers in Japan have discovered a type of genetically altered rice that has been successfully tested on animals and has shown the ability to fight a common pollen allergy that affects about twenty percent of the Japanese population (ScienceDaily, 2009). These new generation of GMO’s have the potential to develop foods with higher levels of nutrients and may even be able to produce various medicines and vaccines (ScienceDaily, 2009). Not only does it make sense to encourage the growth of GMO’s in Boulder for human health purposes, but this should be a national campaign as well due to all of the potential benefits that GMO’s could...