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Genetically Modified Organisms: And What Is Really In Your Food

1093 words - 5 pages

As society continues to evolve, and progress so do the needs of the population. New advancements in biotechnology, particularly the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) have become a controversial topic in the early 21st century. What makes it controversial is that the process involves an organism whose genetic material has been modified due to genetic engineering techniques. Technology is used to alter the makeup of organisms such as animals, plants, or bacteria. GMO's are the source of many modified foods and are used widely in scientific research to produce other goods as well. (Wald, 2013) The controversy lies within the ethics, legal and social prospects.

The use of genetically modified food has caused many to rethink their moral principles. The University of Washington's IMPACT Center conducted a survey aimed at poverty ridden countries such as Mexico, Chile, and India, focusing on the attitude toward GM crops. The survey included both poor and affluent demographics. In Chile and Mexico, 70% of participants said they were willing to purchase GM food if contained vitamins or nutrients, or used fewer pesticides. In India, 88% of participants stated that they would buy GM foods. (Ling, 2013) There is a definite need for food resources but there are concerns about the use of GM foods. These foods may cause antibiotic resistance in people who consume the pesticide containing food, and an increased risk of cancer, gastrointestinal disease and other autoimmune problems. (Wald, 2013) The question needs to be asked, are terminal illnesses worth the risk of consuming GM food? The cons overshadow the benefits of GM foods. In 2006, 97% of the global crops were grown with transgenic genes. The United States grew 53%, Argentina 17%, Brazil 11%, Canada 6%, India 4%, China 3%, Paraguay 2%, and South Africa 1%. Researchers estimate that in the following decade, they expect to see an increase in the use of GMOs and GM technology in industrialized nations. (Wald, 2013)
Genetically modified food is a cause of legal interest. Information is power and being armed with information about what we are eating is important as there are food-safety concerns. The food we normally consume are packaged with facts about nutrition, and ingredients, this is required by law. The labelling of genetically altered food makes sense since we already use labels for food. Agricultural industries involved in producing GM foods believe that labeling should be voluntary and influenced by the demands of the market. Consumer interest groups demand mandatory labeling, because of their belief that people have the right to know what they are eating. (Whitman, 2000) Consumers are concerned because they want to be able to identify which foods have been altered. The American Medical Association said that there was no scientific reason to label GM foods, but recommended that long-term studies should be conducted for any health effects. The labelling could support health...

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