Honors British Literature
14 April 2014
Genetically Modified Food: Opposing Viewpoints
The population of America consumes about 313,272,200 tons of food per year. With such a large demand, it is expected that food needs will continue to rise as human population increases. Our food supply needs to be reliable, abundant, and safe. One way to keep the food supply safe and reliable is to make sure that it is free from harmful viruses and pesticides. The creation of GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, is one attempt to increase efficiency in food production. Scientists do not know how this will truly affect humans in the long run, which is why many decide not to consume the unknown. This method of production is controversial, so only credible research and studies will determine if these chemicals and hormones are safe to consume in the long run. This topic includes many opposing viewpoints regarding the safety of consuming GMO food, the toxicity of GMO foods and labeling, and the impact of GMO food production on the environment.
There are many opposing viewpoints regarding the safety of GMO foods. Some say that these products are only increasing the rate of grocery manufacturing. Others say that GMOs are highly toxic and should not be produced. Another belief is the fact that there is no research that thoroughly states the problem of GMOs. Scientists can only find out the short term effects of GMOs. Although GMO foods have been around for decades, scientists will only be able to know the long term effects in years to come. There are many facts to back up both sides of the safety argument, but many people who oppose GMO production are slowly giving up. Many pro-GMO safety facts are proven, including that GMO’s actually allow farmers to grow crops with less pesticides, due to the fact that they can enhance the gene of a plant to make its own pesticides. The way they accomplish this is by inserting more of the same gene a plant has already in order to boost or upgrade the expression of that gene. This reduction in pesticide use can benefit the environment and helps to prevent deforestation. In fact, “GMO’s have reduced the use of pesticides by 776,000 pounds annually”(Yount 34). This has benefited both the health of the environment and the budgets of farmers. Although in terms of efficiency GMOs There are not many benefits of GMOs in terms of safety and health
On the other hand, there are many arguments and facts to back the argument regarding the problems with GMO food safety. Tests cannot be done accurately with GMO’s due to the fact that the effects of GMO’s may be long term. Scientists can also create highly tolerant crops that can withstand high amounts of pesticides. This harms the environment because of the other issues that these pesticide resistant crops bring. When it rains in rural areas where heavy pesticides are used, the pesticides will drain off with water and can even get in our drinking water supply. There are many other discoveries of the challenges that GMO foods bring not only to humans, but to animals as well. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine performed a study that tested peoples’ and animals’ blood, after giving them a GMO food diet for one week. The results they found were shocking and clear. The pregnant women and their fetuses both contained a toxic insecticide found in GM corn in their blood. This toxic insecticide could cause children in years to come to experience the long term effects of these GMO foods. According to Jeremy Smith, head of the Institute for Responsible Technology, “The effect of chronic illnesses on Americans leapt from 7% up to 13% over the course of only nine years. Hopefully this was not affected by GM technology.” (Jeffrey 1) Not only have GMOs been scientifically proven to affect many people externally, but also internally.
Food allergies have also increased dramatically since GMO’s were introduced in the year 1996....
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