Genetically Modified Organism seeds were first planted in 1996 by farmers in the United States. The seeds were planted for different reasons. Some were believed to contain genes that kept pest insects at bay while others were engineered to provide a resistance to herbicides and enable farmers to apply weed-killing herbicides and keep their crops safe. Presently, 80 percent of all corn and 90 percent of all soy planted in this country is Genetically Modified. These crops happen to feed the animals, which feed human, and provide the bulk of the U.S’s cooking oil and sweeteners. In essence, more than 80 percent of processed food that is sold in the U.S has ingredients of GM crops.
Genetically modified foods have become more ramparts in today’s marketplace. This makes it crucial to comprehend what they are and the various issues raised on the same. A GMO crop is generally modified using techniques of genetic engineering Genetic engineering techniques is commonly found in crops such as soybeans, corns, canola and cotton. Generally, the plants are modified so as to express resistance against a particular herbicide, with an aim of benefitting farmers. Genetic modification of crops is also meant to facilitate less work during the harvesting of these crops. Indeed, genetically modified crops have continued to increase worldwide on a consistent basis. In U.S alone, it is estimated that there are more than 60 million hectares of GMO and the number is increasingly growing. However, despite its benefits, it must also be considered that there are a number of disadvantages of GMO, which justified its ban.
Genetically Modified Foods have come with many problems. Among these is that they do not have confines. Once they are planted, they harbor the risk of affecting other conventional crops that are planted nearby. A study conducted by Keese points out that in the Midwest, there are huge acres of GM soybean and corn crops. Moreover, 80% of farmers in organic crops report direct damages and costs, which emanate from genetic trespass (123). Such trespassing may happened in different forms and ways which could subsequently make maintaining GMOs on their lands nearly impossible. For instance, winds (including breezes and high winds may be problematic and transfer the GMO seeds to other fields. Water run offs may be full of spores and seeds and may easily bring GMOs to lands where they are not specifically grown.
In most, cases, the spores and seeds implants themselves into other produce plants and soul which are subsequently genetically altered and the farmer may not have any idea about this genetic pollution. Other sources of genetic pollution include cross-pollination, commingling during harvest, which is more common with corn. Farmers, especially large scale ones often hire combines in harvesting their food instead of using their own. In the event that such combines are not thoroughly cleaned, residual GM grains from other harvests could contaminations the crops that were not intended for genetic modification. Even a miniature particle on some tarp is sufficient in causing contamination. There has been ongoing discussion in regard to creation of GMOs whose offspring could be sterile, hence eliminating many of such plants. Nonetheless, as of today, there has not been a move to implement such a modification on a large scale.
Other widespread problems concerning GMOs sometimes do not have labels. Distinct from organic official recognition, GMO certification is impossible. The law does not necessitate products to affirm whether they have GMOs or not. In a world where 92 percent of the soybean crop is modified and with deliberation that several of the products use corn syrup or soybean, the likelihood of finding GMOs in foods is elevated. Regardless of the fact that it is impossible to tell by simply reading the labels in local grocery aisles, 65% of products have been found to harbor DNA altered ingredients. It is unfortunate that many of these organic products could unknowingly contain GMOs. This is owing to the reality that in the U.S, the organic set of laws does not necessitate a testing of GMO. While many manufactures are worried with buying of organic that is certified, not several individuals are conscious on GMO infectivity. With lack of GMO labeling, it is almost impossible to know what products contain particularly if information is lost or disregarded along the way.
A recent study by CBS indicates that more than half of Americans (53%) are not comfortable in buying foods that have been genetically modified. Nonetheless, it is not possible to avoid GMOs. The problem is made worse because of lack of labeling which makes it impossible to understand the degree of any biotech contamination if any. Further, in creation of GMOs, the DNA is in most cases interwoven with DNA from other organisms, which may be risk to vegetarians or those with allergies. A good example is the Brazil nut, which was integrated with soybeans for a specific time, until too many reactions were produced. In spite of the fact that such an arrangement does no longer exist, one cannot truly tell, the existence of others considering that there is nobody who is legally compelled to disclose that.
Those who support GMO foods argue that such crops have assisted in increasing yield. Accordingly, to them increased yield is an important factor that has helped in curtailing the consistent increase in prices of food. Further, GMOs have a great potential in addressing gas crisis. Alternatives such as the use of biofuels derived from GMOs have seemed to be a positive advantage since they seem to lessen a country’s dependence on oil alongside reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Several other arguments indicate that there are a number of GMOs products that pose a lot of health benefits to the humans. A widespread instance being mentioned is the strain rice that is genetically modified to include beta carotene in the endosperm. The human body changes this into Vitamin A. They also mentioned that golden rice was purposely developed for handling vitamin A.
Despite the fact that use of biofuel has been on the rise, there are many people who believe that the full impact on health and the environment have to be considered. The global debate on “fuel vs. food” has been a controversial topic in and out of itself. There have been critics who postulate that investment in biofuel have led to the rise of food prices instead of reducing it. Making of biofuels necessitate require immense resources and despite the fact that the land utilized by GM is a huge percentage of land farmed, there has been a question on whether utilizing such a land for fuel or food is the best use of it in terms of money and time.
Concerning the use of GMOs for treatment of various ailments, it should be considered that regulation of its use is yet to take place. What is more, there are many health risks associated with its use and which outweighs its potential benefits. This factor is reinforced by heighted consumer opposition in many other countries both developed and developing, which has kept it out of supply.
Despite assurance from the U.S Food and Drug Administration and other biotech experts that most GMOs are more than safe and we should not worry about it, advocates of food safety wants to know how we would be assured of the safety when the products are not labeled. There has been long concern that lack of lack of sufficient testing on GMO will be risky not only to the human population but also to the environment both now and the future. Evidence on the impact of GMOs including but not limited to gastrointestinal complications among humans and health issues should inform on the necessity of banning such crops.