Genetically Modified Food: Pros and Cons

Good Essays
A few years ago, I was invited to give a talk at the English Salon, a weekly seminar series sponsored by the YWCA Language School in Nagoya, Japan. My topic was genetically modified (GM) food and my stance was distinctly supportive. (Don’t start throwing the rotten tomatoes now!) Despite my hour-and-a-half long presentation, I was unable to convince most of the audience that GM foods were safe to eat and had many environmental benefits as well.
GM food seems relatively benign if it’s the result of cross-breeding two organisms of the same species, such as crossing strawberry plants with a deeper red color with those that have larger fruit. The type of genetic modification that causes the greatest ire amongst consumers and activists, however, is when genes from two totally unrelated organisms are combined. For example, “Roundup Ready” soybean crops have been genetically engineered to carry a gene from a bacteria that is resistant to Roundup, a weed killer. When Roundup is sprayed on these crops, every plant in the vicinity dies except the soybeans.
Sounds frightening and unnatural, but consider the positive effects genetically modified crops would have on health, farming methods, and the environment. Current and future GM products include:
• Food that can deliver vaccines – bananas that produce hepatitis B vaccine
• More nutritious foods – rice with increased iron and vitamins
• Faster growing fish, fruit and nut trees
• Plants producing new plastics
Jonathan Rauch wrote in The Atlantic Monthly,
Recall that world food output will need to at least double and possibly triple over the next several decades. Even if production could be increased that much using conventional technology, which is doubtful, the required amounts of pesticide and fertilizer and other polluting chemicals would be immense. If properly developed, disseminated, and used, genetically modified crops might well be the best hope the planet has got.
The Human Genome Project summarizes the

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Best Essays

    April 2012 Genetically Modified Food: World Wide Panacea or “Frankenfood” to Fear? Never before in history has mankind so masterfully commanded its food chain. Thousands of years ago, much of our species made the leap from a hunter-gatherer level of subsistence to an agricultural society. With agriculture, slowly but surely many modifications were made to plants and animals used and domesticated by us for the purpose of feeding ourselves. New specialized varieties with specific desirable traits…

    • 2979 Words
    • 12 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Good Essays

    A few pros would have to be, Foods can be modified to have more essential vitamins and nutrients, or simply taste better. By doing this, the increase in variety, and convenience for foods allows others to get their needed vitamins, and nutrients from just plants rather than having to buy supplements. Genetically modified foods are part of our daily diet and reassuringly enough appear to be quite healthy for us. Some would see this as a plus because everyone is looking for new ways to be healthier…

    • 265 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Food has never been the main concern within developed countries, but eventually conventional farming methods will struggle to sustain the future's population. When GMO- Genetically Modified Foods was first introduced, people were very skeptical about its safety to the environment and human health. Consequently, it has inspired many organizations to be created to protest against the use Genetically Modified Foods. It has been proven safe and is under constant supervision from national authorities…

    • 664 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Genetically Modified Foods Read the situation described below and use it to complete the assignment that follows. THE SITUATION The Prosper High School Advisory Group is considering a proposal that would allow the use of genetically modified foods in the school cafeteria. Students are considering various opinions on the subject in preparation for presenting their position to the Advisory Group. You are a student from Prosper High School. You have considered information and opinions from…

    • 794 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    domesticated animals later and then selectively bred both plants and animals to meet various requirements for human food. Humans discovered natural biological processes such as fermentation of fruits and grains to make wine and beer, and yeast for baking bread. Manipulation of foods is not a new story, therefore. The latest agricultural discovery uses genetic engineering technology to modify foods. Farmers and plant breeders have been changing crop plants to improve characteristics such as size, resistance…

    • 2277 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Pro Genetically Modified Foods We must have science to make medicine. All of us have been to the doctor to get medicine at least once in their lives. Think about how many people would die each year if it weren’t for modern day medicine; a lot, right? So it’s safe to say that some of us trust in medicine but not the science of genetically modifying foods? Believe it or not, genetically modifying foods has been around for thousands of years. “About 8,000 years ago, for example, farmers in Central…

    • 300 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    with food, in order to improve the nutritious quality, less use of chemicals such as pesticides and adding flavor. Genetically modified food is considere4d one of the modern production improvements and the largest food experiments in the world’s history. Virtually every crop we eat has undergone hundreds of years of genetic modification by farmers and scientist in search of desirable traits. The Benefits of gene technology in terms of food production are enormous. The most common genetically engineered…

    • 760 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Genetically Modified Food

    • 1052 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Genetically Modified Foods. Everywhere where you go, there are fast food companies advertising their products. You take a road trip to your family's house, and what do you see? Rest stops filled with fast food restaurants. According to Google maps, there are close to 50,000 fast food chains across the United States. (with Mcdonald's being the largest restaurant chain.) Fast food companies go above and beyond to lure you to buy their…

    • 1052 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Outline Genetically Modified Foods Specific Purpose: To inform the audience about genetically modified foods in Canada. INTRODUCTION Did you know that most of the food and fibre that we consume on a daily basis is in some way genetically modified? Are we really getting the nutritional value that is promised to us on the labels of these foods? The percentage of our daily consumption that is modified seems incredibly high, so today I would like to explain what genetically modified foods like plants…

    • 654 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Yuly Restrepo Enc 1101 24 March 2014 Genetically modified Seeds vs Organic Seeds Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) is one of the most important issues around the world. GMOs are special organisms in which the genetic material has been altered for faster growth, product quality, better pest and disease resistance and can grow in the worst of climates. GMOs also carry a lot of cons, such as unexpected side effects, problems with labeling of GM foods, ecological damage. Organic harvesting means…

    • 806 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays