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The Social Impact Of Genetically Modified Organisms And Crops

2266 words - 9 pages

“Man has been modifying plants for over 10,00 years” (Pechan 2005). Whether man has been cross breeding or modifying, this has always been our nature since the agricultural revolution for the convenience of the farmer and the consumer. One such example of this modification is that of the potato. Potatoes have many cousins that can live in many different elemental conditions as well as have different shapes, sizes and taste (Pechan 2005). However, that process through breeding different plants is an ineffective way to farm for the convenience of the farmer and the industry as a whole. What this led to in recent times is what is called “biological technology”, or “Genetically Modified Organisms” (GMOs). The meaning of a GMO is that “scientists select one or a few genes from other organisms that have been studied previously and added into a specific living plant cell that can be regenerated into a whole plant” (Pechan 2005). However, GMO are not limited only to plants, but animals as well (Otero 2008). With current technology, scientist can now modify organisms manually so that they can have enhanced taste, repel bugs and viruses, be ingredient specific, and even better for health (Pechan 2005). With animals, GMOs can enhance the rate of growth and number (Otero 2008). However, this has turned into an ethical problem in regards to the principle of justice, human welfare, and human rights in regards to plants (Tao 2003). With GMOs, in regards to animals, it becomes an issue regarding animal rights. There is a social impact that GMOs have on people in regards to human health, environmental implications, and globalization.
First off, there is a social impact that GMOs have on people in regards to human health. The significance of this is that Europe, China, Taiwan, and many other countries are now beginning to impose the restriction on food distributors to label their products if they are GMOs (Ganiere 2004). Countries like Taiwan and Europe are suspicious of these unknown effects due to the lack of knowledge. For example, Europe is now requiring the labeling of foods that are GMO processed because of mad cow disease, dioxin-contaminated Belgian chickens, and contaminated cans of Coca-Cola in France (Tao 2004). The safety concerns coupled with the lack of information on the effects of GMOs has given the food industry the label of being only interested in profiting from sales (Tao 2004). Moreover, Genetically Modified (GM) crops only benefit farmers and not the consumer because of the specific modification on these organisms (Pechan 2005). This means that the primary modified plants farmers are using are ones resistant to bugs and viruses (Pechan 2005). The benefit to using GMO plants of this type is so that farmers can reduce the use of insecticide repellants. What scientist are falling short on is that GMOs are not fully tested on a four-step process to risk assess foods (Tao 2004). Out of the four-steps that scientist does; hazard identification,...

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