Genetically Modified Crops Debate

Topics: Genetically modified food, Genetic engineering, Plant breeding Pages: 5 (1477 words) Published: March 30, 2014

DEBATE STRUCTURE
Overall Argument:
Aside from common belief, scientists claim that genetically modifying plants is natural, and GM crops hold the only hope for feeding the rapidly expanding world population. GM crops can have health benefits, they have the potential of helping the world's poor people, and GM technology can help the environment. Genetically modified crops are thoroughly tested for potential risks and have to oblige to highly regulated laws.

First Talking Point (A):
GM Crops are thoroughly tested and highly regulated:
- Biotech firms say the every GM crop is tested for health effects in in-depth analysis. They are required to make sure that foods meet specific federal safety standards. - They compare a GM plant with regularly bred plants to see if the new gene changes a plant's genetic makeup and nutritional value. - If protein is the made from the new gene it is tested in high amounts by feeding it to animals. They test it the chemistry of the new protein against 500 known allergens to see if it could produce an allergy. - Industries say that the testing system has worked and when scientists realize that a gene may sicken people they end the experiment. - Three US government agencies have their say on each GM crop: Department of Agriculture: safe to grow.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): safe for the environment. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): safe to eat.
- Under pressure from activists and the public, these companies have increased their vigilance and laws. Rebuttal:
GM foods aren’t regulated and have poor oversight
- GM farmers have been developing and exporting GM crops too quickly without enough testing or debate from the public. Government bodies that oversee the industry are too lax in their regulation and observations. - FDA says that GM foods are “substantially equivalent: to non modified food so they aren’t subject to FDA regulations. - Producers don’t have to label GM foods so as a consumer you don’t know what you are eating and don’t have the option of buying foods that don’t have GM ingredients. If you get sick from GM foods, no one can trace back its source.

First Talking Point (B):
Hazard to human health:
- genes can be introduced to unrelated species and create a new allergen - the bacteria in our guts could pick up antibiotic resistant genes found in GM food products. - genetically altered foods are exposing us to the worlds largest, uncontrolled experiments in modern history. Rebuttal:

Health Benefits:
- Some products will benefit our waistlines: low-calories sugar beets and oils with lower saturated fat content - Products with higher nutritional content: high-fiber corn, high-starch potatoes - Safer to eat, GM corn has less fungal toxins and when planted they use less pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers

Second Talking Point (B):
GM crop technology will hurt small farmers, biotech companies who are profit-driven and aren’t worried about the risks - Monstato is constantly suing North American farmers for raising GM crops without paying for the privilege. - GM crops may be too expensive for poor farmers in developing countries and it will widen the gap between the rich and the poor. - GM crops would allow Northern farmers to raise crops that were originally only raised in the south. - They can sell greater quantities for a lesser price and the supermarket chooses the big industries instead of the local farmer - GM seed firms invest a lot in research and development and they want to compensate their investment. They rush to secure patents and get profits to make sure they make money of their new ‘discoveries’, possibly without doing enough research to see if the modified food had a negative impact on health. - They are concentrating on developing modified food products from countries that don’t have issues with hunger instead of focusing on poor countries that need help growing specific crops, stronger crops, and crops that can...
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