Genetically Engineered Food Is It Safe or Not
17 Dec 2012
Genetically Engineered Food Is It Safe or Not
An arguable statement about genetically engineered food being the means to end hunger around the world is gaining momentum as the population continues to increase and people continue to die of starvation. In the biotech world, what is known as agricultural biotechnology, supporters believe that this could guarantee and maintain food security for the hungry. On the other hand many people have concerns over consuming genetically engineered food. Many foods on the market today contain some part of GM (genetically modified) food. Approximately 85% of corn, 91% of soybeans, and 88% of cottonseed are genetically engineered which are used on food for human consumption. (http://truefoodnow.org/campaigns/genetically-engineered-foods/) The question remains on whether genetically engineered food safe? Various groups do not deem biotechnology as the answer to ending world hunger but they consider poverty to be the reason for the shortage of food worldwide.
In order to discuss the possible advantages or disadvantages of genetically engineered food, it must be defined. Genetic Engineering as defined by Merriam-Webster is a group of applied techniques of genetics and biotechnology used to cut up and join together genetic material and especially DNA from one or more species of organism and to introduce the result into an organism in order to change one or more of its characteristics. The term Genetically Modified is commonly used term to describe food that has been modified in a laboratory to produce preferred traits such as resistance to pest and diseases, increased nutritional value, and much more. Farmers have been crossbreeding animals and plants for years to produce desired traits but this traditional form can be a lengthy process and not very accurate at times. Using a laboratory for genetic engineering not only can they yield the traits being sought after but can do it in a much faster rate and with more accuracy. In 2008, GM crops were planted on an estimated 308.8 million acres worldwide, a year-over-year increase of 26.4 million acres. (Turk & Bensel, 2011) There are currently 25 countries growing genetically engineered crops. (Turk & Bensel, 2011) In 1994 the first genetically engineered whole product, a tomato, went on the market. (Whitman) This not a new technology but people are becoming more aware of what they are in taking with their food. Supporters of GM food say that these foods pose no risk and are not different from conventional foods. As Tietel and Wilson stated in their book, Genetically Engineered Foods: Changing the Nature of Nature: What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself, Your Family, and Your Planet, would you want to be on a jetliner and open your morning paper as the plane is taking off see that they are just now doing test to determine whether or not the new model plane you are in is safe? Of course not, one would hope that all testing has been done prior to the plane being put into use. Our government, scientists, and researchers who support the concept are willing to allow genetically engineered food into our diets without sufficient testing being done to understand any long term effects.
Numerous environmental groups feel that genetic engineering must be discarded due to the unknown effects they may have on humans. Some of the main arguments against GM foods are what environment hazards they may cause, the health risk to humans, and economic concerns. Genetically modified food is already present in some many food sources that we ingest; one would have to ask if there disadvantages to producing and utilizing genetically engineered food? Like anything else that is done there are hazards associated with the process and they must be addressed. The FDA set forth guidelines for testing to ensure the safety of bioengineered food....
References: Marshall, M. (2012). GM food: The Case For The defense. New Scientist, 216(2886), 8-9.
Smith, J. (2007). Genetically Engineered Foods May Cause Rising Food Allergies—Genetically Engineered Soybeans Retrieved from http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/health-risks
Thomas, L. Of, T. P. (2002). Genetically altered food creates labeling dilemma for the industry. St.Louis Post - Dispatch. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/402087128?accountid=32521
Teitel, M., & Wilson, K
Turk, J., & Bensel, T. (2011). Contemporary environmental issues. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc
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