What Are Gmo’s And How Are They Affecting Consumers?

1141 words - 5 pages

The use of genetically modified organisms in food production has come to be a subject that seemingly everyone knows about. The unfortunate truth is that while the topic itself is a popular one, very few people appear to be truly educated on what genetically modified organisms are, or how the use of them in food production is affecting consumers. This issue is often pushed to the side because its consequences are not as obvious or immediate as other modern-day issues. However, education and alternatives regarding genetically modified organisms in food products are crucial to the health of consumers everywhere. In the following sections, I will discuss what a genetically modified organism is, some general viewpoints on the subject, how the use of these in food affects agriculture and consumer health, try to explain why so much of the information on these organisms has not been publicized, and then propose an idea to aid in the solution of this problem.

The most obvious question to address first is “what is a genetically modified organism?” According to S.J. Khan and fellow authors of “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Food Security or Threat to Food Safety”, a “genetically modified organism (GMO) is a living organism (bacteria, plant, animal) whose genetic composition has been altered by means of gene technology” (Khan 6). Taking pieces of DNA from things like viruses or bacteria, and inserting them into the genome of the organism that they want to modify create these organisms. The use of genetically modified material in food production is a relatively new concept; the first successful product of genetic engineering was reported in 1983, which caused the research and development of these organisms to expand drastically. In 1994, Calgene® developed a genetically modified tomato, which turned out to be the first ever GM crop to be approved for sale in the United States. Since then, genetically modified food has spread worldwide and is just now being seriously scrutinized for its supposed side effects.

The “GMO” issue is held in many different opinions amongst society members. Recently, there has been judicial action at the national level trying to make it a law that all foods that contain GMO’s are labeled as such. Within this “battle” of sorts lie two very differing opinions; those who are pro-GMO and anti- labeling, and those who are anti-GMO and pro-labeling. According to L.Z.G. Touyz, author of “Genetically Modified Foods, Cancer, and Diet: Myths and Reality”, because consumers demand food that spoils slowly, has little to no blemish or bruising, and has a long shelf-life, genetically modified food is a must (Tuoyz 59,60). Also on the pro-GMO, anti-labeling side is Eli Kintisch, author of “Stick Shock.” Kintisch believes that the labeling of genetically modified food would do more harm than good for a couple of reasons. First off, he does not believe that eating these foods causes any ill side effects. Secondly, he is opposed to the...

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