Are genetically modified foods safe? Genetically modified foods are crop plants created for human or animal consumption using molecular biological techniques. These plants have been modified to enhance certain traits like increased resistance to herbicides or improve nutritional content. This process traditionally has been done through breeding, but is not very accurate. Scientists have been using Biotechnology Essay to implant the gene that makes the plants act the way they want them to. Genetically modified foods have advantages and disadvantages on the environment and advantages and disadvantages on society.
We have to weigh the positives and negatives to see if genetically modified foods are healthy for us and if we really need them.
Genetically modified foods have a huge impact on our environment. One way that genetically modified foods are hurting our environment is that process can involve the exchange of genes between two totally different species. People are actually putting scorpion toxin into corn and fish antifreeze into tomatoes (De Greef). These changes in the plants make the plant able to with stand the attack of pests and weather, but it is still possible that the plants DNA will cross and make bad toxins. If a farmer plants a crop that has the resistance to herbicides, drought, cold, and pests those plants can eventually cross with weeds and then the farmer will end up with weeds that are resistant to everything too.
Then the scientists will end up having to make the plants stronger to fight off the weeds, then the weeds will get stronger, and the cycle will keep on going. Another argument for the ban of genetically modified foods is that the world does not need to grow them. Mainly because of the fact that the United States and Europe are overproducing food and have to set aside land and destroy crops. Land is also being degraded and wildlife killed by the strength of the new crops. As a result if we use a less intense technique, like normal farming, it will reduce pollution and produce healthier foods.
There are also some positive impacts that genetically modified foods have on the environment.
In fact, a ruling was made that there are no threats to the environment at this time (Becker). There is a gene that is transplanted into corn that is being produced for chickens to make the chickens have more meat on them. There are other genes that are being made to have the plant make their own pesticides (Becker). Through the use of biotechnology, crops are now able to withstand drought, frost, and pests. This means that crops would be able to be growing in places where crops could not grow because of conditions.
Genetically modified foods also have an impact on our society.
They have many negative effects. One of the negative aspects is the testing requirements. “There are no requirements for independent testing, for long-term testing, for testing on humans or testing for specific dangers to children or allergic people” (Clinton Urged). Scientists say that there needs to be long-term testing because genetically modified foods could give rise to the spread of new poisons, new allergies, and even a reduction in a foods nutritional value (Clinton Urged). For example, in 1989 thirty-seven people died and one thousand five hundred people were disabled after eating a genetically altered health food supplement that had contained a previously unknown toxin (Clinton Urged). In fact, the only long-term research that was carried out in the UK was government-funded research by a government-appointed top scientist.
This scientist concluded that genetically engineered potatoes caused severe harm to their control-rats (De Greef). The UK government immediately dismissed his result and his research institute silenced him. The FDA is currently being prosecuted for covering up the same kind of research that was done in the UK that suggests possible risk in genetically engineered foods (De Greef). The EPA recently heard from scientists who warned them that there is no safe level of allergens in foods (Kimbrell). This is starting to have a great effect on our society. In fact, Starlink is a company that produces an insecticide protein.
It has not been approved for human consumption over concerns that it could cause dangerous allergic responses .