Genetically Modified Foods Essay

1790 words - 8 pages

Hunger is currently one of the world’s most widespread crises, affecting millions of people. In every single country of the world, there are people that go to bed without food on a regular basis, and many that end up dying of starvation. One way that the eradication of hunger has been attempted is by increasing the amount of food in the world, so that there is enough to go around. Scientists have tried to do this by creating new species of crops, using genetic engineering. Though genetically modified foods were originally created to improve agriculture, their negative effects greatly outweigh their positive ones.
Though they have a relatively short history, genetically modified foods have grown into a massive industry. In 1995, the United States first allowed GM foods to be sold for human consumption (Diaz and Fridovich-Keil). The first genetically modified food sold in the United States was a tomato that was invented to stay fresh longer (Fernandez). After only four years, nearly half of the United States' cotton, soybeans, and corn were genetically modified (Diaz and Fridovich-Keil). Currently, GM crops are planted on over one billion acres all over the world, according to the United Nations (Lerner and Lerner). The majority of processed foods in the United States are made with genetically modified ingredients, at over 70 percent (Mercola and Pearsall 216). GM foods now have a strong foothold in the United States’ food industry.
To begin with, scientists originally began creating genetically modified foods for many positive reasons, including making crops and livestock stronger and/or more nutritious (217). One type of rice was genetically engineered to contain enzymes that produce an extra protein to help iron-deficient people absorb iron better (Diaz and Fridovich-Keil). Another type of rice, called "golden rice" was genetically modified to produce enzymes that boost the body's vitamin A synthesis (Diaz and Fridovich-Keil). GM foods are also helpful to farmers because the crops’ resistance to toxic chemicals allow farmers to spray pesticides all over their crops without harming them (Mercola and Pearsall 218). In mutating a plant's DNA, scientists can impact the crops' number of seeds, height, and resistance to disease, all of which can positively affect a crop's yield (220). In one Indian study, GM cotton had a 30-80 percent higher yield than non-GM cotton (Diaz and Fridovich-Keil). Because of their higher crop production and therefore their ability to provide more food for the world, GM crops may have a huge positive impact on the approximately one billion malnourished and underfed people living in underdeveloped countries (Lerner and Lerner). Having enough food will be even more essential within the next 50 years, as the world's population is expected to increase to 14 billion (Lerner and Lerner). Genetic engineers are also working on creating crops that can withstand extreme weather conditions to increase the amount of farmable land...

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