Genetically Modified Foods
Introduction and Claim
Choice is a rational and innate human behavior that is fundamental to the way Man perceives his/her surroundings/ environment. Human beings make choices all the time; having the ability to make choicesbeing inherent. Choices are made on different aspects of life, such as the kind of clothes to wear, music to listen to, places to go and even on foods to consume. In this 21st Century, the methods of production, preparation and consumption of food have become more advanced. Scientific and technological advances have enabled Man to not only have the natural foodsNon-GMOs, but also to have the means and technical knowledge of generating genetically modified foodstuff(GMO’s). Thus, human beings have the right of choice in deciding whether to consume GM foods based on individual and group perception.I am in support of the GMO crops/foods as being complementary to natural foods/crops.
Choice is a natural right that every person has. There is no person who does not have the ability to make a choice. Each person makes his or her own choices depending on what he or she considers as important or essential. However, people tend to make choices that they think have more advantages than disadvantages. This is not to say that the choices that people make are always right or more advantageous. The choices made could also reflect issues of strategy, time and necessity. The debate concerning the consumption or use of Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) reflects issues about the right of choice. There are some people who choose to consume Genetically Modified Foods while there are other people who choose to consume Non-Genetically Modified foods. These two groups of people bring forth their arguments as to why they favor GMO Food or not. Despite the different reasons that people might give on whether to consume GMO food or not, all the arguments are based on choice (Cook 2).
Genetically modified foods (GMOs), also known as Biotech/ GM foods, are derivatives from crops that are genetically modified/ engineered. Unique changes introduced into the DNA of these crops through genetic manufacturing techniques add different attributes to these crops, such as the ability to withstand disease, experience quicker growth and the creation of additional nutrients. Objections to these foods are rooted on several underlying issues, such as environmental concerns, safety (human) issues and concerns stemming from the economic sphere where GM crops grow and being sources of nourishment. They are subjected to legally recognized intellectual property laws.
Different foodstuffs are present in the contemporary era, which are based on genetically modified crops. Human beings directly consume a small percentage, while a majority of such food is sold as produce that requires further processing into consumable ingredients. These include vegetables and fruits, corn meal, corn and sugar syrup and vegetable oils among others. Genetically modified livestock and fish also are generally put in this category, as derivative foodstuffs. Population increase and the lack of substantial crop output coupled with unsuitable weather patterns have necessitated the production of food crops among others that are more durable, disease resistant, more nutrient packed and entail lesser maturity and thus production periods (Falck-Zepeda, Traxler and Nelson 86).
Over the years, controversies have come up surrounding the production, sale and consumption of genetically modified foods. These have been based on the disputable advantages gained over the overriding disadvantages of such commodities. Such disputes often involve the consumers and NGOs on one hand and scientists, governmental regulators and bio-technological companies on the other. Areas key to the disputes include the level of risk/harm from such foods, the roles of governmental regulators, environmental impacts from these commodities, the enforcement of the labeling of such foods and impacts of these commodities on farmers (inclusive of those in the developing states). Other issues include the presence of such foods as part of a wider industrial agricultural based system and the role of such foodstuff in the feeding of the global population that is on an ever-growing streak.
There has been broad-based scientific agreement that foodstuffs resulting from GM crops are of no greater risk than those produced conventionally. This has been because of the lack of reports indicating ill health effects in different populations that have consumed GM foods. Supporters of the GM foods are of the opinion that, contrary to conventional belief, these foods are as safe as the Non-GMO foods. To them, the labeling of such items adversely affects the psychological aspect of humans through its portrayal of a larking danger in them. Accordingly, these supporters entrust their respective government regulators and concerned regulatory processes as being satisfactorily rigorous and objective. They are of the opinion that the risks pertaining to the environment and the pollution of the Non-GM food supply chain are manageable (Ackerman 10).
Complementary to the above views is their trust to adequate regulation and law pertaining to the maintenance of healthy competitive environments in the marketplace for seeds. Of key importance is their belief in the ability of GM technology in feeding an ever-growing global population. Furthermore, they opinionate that GM technology is only enhancing the extension of plant manipulation that has been conducted by Man over the ages.
On the opposing spectrum are advocacy groups including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Greenpeace, and other opponents of GMO derived foods. Among their concerns are the neutrality aspect of regulatory bodies and the lack of adequate identification and management of risks associated with GM foods. The safety of the food/ crops itself is questioned and there is the insistence on the banning of such substances from the market place. Concerns abound as to the strictness and objective nature of regulators throughout the regulatory course, about the aspect of agriculture on an industrial scale and on the amalgamation of food supply control by companies that engage in the manufacture and sale of these GMOs, specifically so, in the states/ countries that are developing (Falck-Zepeda, Traxler and Nelson 46).
Presently, studies are stillbeing done on the effects, both positive and negative, of GMOs. Such is the controversy that both proponents and opponents of GMOs vehemently stand by and argue on behalf of, or in opposition to these substances. Moral values are often pitted against realistic advantages emanating from the manufacture, supply and consumption of GMO foods/crops. Future debates are, therefore, more likely to be intense based on future findings, pro or against GMOs (Ackerman 56).
In my opinion, Genetically Modified foods/crops are here to stay and should be consumed because the relevant authorities have proved that GMOs are not harmful for human consumption if produced under hygienic circumstances. The scientific community, being a major proponent of GMOs, continues to churn out newsletters, catalogues and magazines detailing different scientific procedures aimed at dispelling the fear of contamination or hazards stated to be present in these substances. Generally, there are greater advantages to the production of these substances, as their modification enhances their suitability, reliability and resistance to different climatic and biological changes. Their resistance to different pests and subsequent diseases makes these crops/foods all the more convenient in a growing global population as is experienced in the contemporary arena.
Ackerman, Jennifer. “Genetically Modified Foods.” National Geographic Magazine (2002).
Cook, Guy. Genetically Modified Language: The Discourse of Arguments for GM Crops and
Food. London. Routledge, 2013. Print.
Falck-Zepeda, José Benjamin, Greg Traxler and Robert G. Nelson. “alck-Zepeda, José Benjamin; Traxler, Greg; Nelson, Robe Surplus Distribution from the Introduction of a Biotechnology Innovation.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 82 (2) (2000): 360-380.