Honors English 10B
Evans Period 1
11 March 2013
Controversial Issues – Genetically Modified Foods
Genetically modifying foods might seem very unorthodox with the changing of traits and genes within the foods, but genetically modifying foods does not hurt the consumer in any way. Earlier in the 1990’s, genetically modified foods were announced by the Food and Drug Administration to not be “inherently dangerous”. However, when a type of transgenic corn was pulled from the market when it was mistakenly entered into the open food supply in 2000 that was not fit for human consumption, it led to growing concerns of the safety of consuming genetically modified foods. These foods are not only safe, but transformative. Agricultural biotechnology has lessened the amount of chemical pesticides and herbicides used in these foods. This science has been making important contributions to the relief of world hunger, genetically modified foods are obviously safe to consume. Genetically modified foods are definitely safe and nutritious because if the consumption of genetically modified foods posed a health threat, we would have known it by now. The biotechnology within the foods has made it possible to have a safe consumption. Genetically modified foods have never been proven to be harmful to humans. “Genetically modified (GM) food has become so common in the U.S. that most people do not even know when they are consuming it” (“Update: Genetically Modified Food”, 2008). If the foods were harmful, people would be getting sick all the time since most of the time we don’t even know that we are consuming it. “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that GM foods were not ‘inherently dangerous’” (ProQuest Staff, “At Issue: Genetically Modified Foods”, 2013). The FDA is a huge association that regulates the purity and safety of foods, drugs, and cosmetics. If they say that the GM foods are safe, then they are definitely safe. Genetically modified foods are safe for the environment. “Most GM crops have been modified to be either herbicide- or insect-resistant…because the plants themselves are poisonous to insects, farmers do not need to spray their crops with pesticides, which harm the environment. Biotechnicians also say modifications like those lead to more efficient farming and, in turn, result in higher crop yields” (“Update: Genetically Modified Food”, 2008). Since farmers do not need to spray their crops with pesticides, they don’t damage the earth, making genetically modified foods safe. “By raising the oil content of other plants non-petroleum, organic lubricants can be harvested, reducing dependence on fossil fuel” (“Modified Food May Enrich Our Health”, 1999). Less fossil fuel will be produced, making the genetically modified foods safe for the earth. Not everyone is for genetically modifying foods, though. According to the article, “Genetically Modified Food Should Be Banned”, products of the biotech industry cannot be considered safe because there has only been one human health study published in 2004 called “The Newcastle Study” (Andy Rees, “Genetically Modified Food Should Be Banned”, 2003). Having only one published story of the health effects of genetically modified foods is a legitimate reason to want to ban the cultivation of the GM crops, but from a scientific perspective, there really should not be a concern of GM foods being more harmful compared to the non GM foods. Genetically modified have no scientific evidence of not being safe. GM crops can contribute to a great future for all people, but if the cultivation of GM crops were to be banned, no research could be done to find the positives and negatives of GM crops. According to the article, “Genetically Modified Food Should Not be Banned, but Carefully Monitored”, some crops that are genetically modified to be resistant to maybe herbicide or pests are exposed to a lot less of the chemical contaminations than most of the foods we eat are (Conor Meade, “Genetically Modified Food Should Not be Banned, but Carefully Monitored”, 2003). So, it is possible that GM food is not bad for us at all. And although GM crops are not the solution for the sicknesses of the world, if the technology is handled by publicly funded institutions, they can find possible ways to modify the foods to create a much greater future for the people unable to consume them. Genetically modified foods are definitely safe and nutritious because if the consumption of genetically modified foods posed a health threat, we would have known it by now. Because of the incapability to prove that GM foods are definitely neither safe nor unsafe, the issue will remain controversial. People will always be uncertain about conducting research of the topic because of that, but if it remains like this, foods will not be able to be modified to help the health of others by creating allergy-resistant products, and we will never be able to find any more information about the GM crops making them always remain a health risk mystery. In addition, GM crops could be very beneficial and make a great future for all people. But without careful and frequent study and research, proper decisions about the cultivation and use of GM crops can never be made. Research on GM crops by public institutions is absolutely necessary in order to find more information about the issue. Without this research, a ban on GM crops is definitely not the best idea. Since genetically modified foods have been on market shelves for over twenty years and there has been no proof that they hurt anyone, it is safe to assume that no one will have a late health consequence from digesting a GM food they had over a decade ago. Instead of banning the research and cultivation of the GM foods, research should be accepted to be searched about the topic because eventually the GM food industry could do wonders.
Meade, Conor. "Genetically Modified Food Should Not Be Banned, but Carefully Monitored." Genetically Engineered Foods. Ed. Nancy Harris. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2003. At Issue. Rpt. from "Careful Stewardship of GM Crops Is Needed, Not a Ban." Irish Times 23 June 2007: 13. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. Rees, Andy. "Genetically Modified Food Should Be Banned." Genetically Engineered Foods. Ed. Nancy Harris. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2003. At Issue. Rpt. from "GM Potatoes—Facts and Fictions." The Ecologist 36.9 (22 Sept. 2006): 14-15. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. ProQuest Staff. "At Issue: Genetically Modified Foods." ProQuest LLC. 2013: n.pag. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. "Update: Genetically Modified Food." Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 31 Dec. 2008. Web. "Modified Foods May Enrich Our Health." Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, Canada). 20 Dec 1999: A12. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web.