Friday, October 11, 2019

Genetically Modified Foods Essay

Scientists have learned how to modify foods in the last decades of the twentieth century. That is, they have learned to manipulate the DNA of plants and animals. Scientists were able to transfer a trait from one organism to another by splicing the DNA of one organism into the DNA of another organism (â€Å"Introduction†). This process changes the genetic makeup of plants and labels these altered foods â€Å"genetically modified organisms. † Food should not be genetically modified because of the wasted food produced and the potential long-term health issues for consumers. Genetic modification of food in the United States began in 1987 with field-testing of tobacco and tomato plants (â€Å"History†). One example of this process would be producing a tomato that is resistant to mildew and rot. This tomato would taste and look the same, but would stay fresh longer. The farmer that grows this genetically modified tomato plant would benefit from a more hardy plant because he would not have as many wasted tomatoes (â€Å"Introduction†). A general assumption is that, with the large population of the world today, genetically modified food is absolutely necessary. This is not true. Ethan A. Huff, a writer for Natural News, says in his article, â€Å"Don’t Believe the Lie: Organic Farming CAN Feed the World,† that, â€Å"organic farming by itself is fully capable of feeding the world. † Huff also says that cows and sheep were meant to eat grass from pastures instead of the genetically modified soy, corn, and grains factory farmers are feeding them. The grains fed to the animals make them sick and require a large amount of resources to produce. If these animals were allowed to graze naturally, in grasses that are not part of the human diet anyway, the grains currently being fed to them could be used for human consumption. Huff also cites humans’ wasting food as a major issue. He states that, â€Å"one-third of the world’s food ends up in the trash heap as waste. † He states that, specifically in developed nations, people tend to purchase more food than their families can consume before the food goes bad. With so much wasted food, genetically modified food is not needed. The health risks involved with genetically modifying food are potentially dangerous. â€Å"‘Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,’ including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system† (â€Å"Genetically†). One way of plants are being genetically modified is engineering corn and cotton to produce their own pesticide. This pesticide, called Bt, was produced from soil bacteria and has a history of safe use. In countries such as India and Germany, large numbers of animals died after consuming plants genetically modified to produce Bt. Thousands of sheep died after grazing on Bt cotton plants. In a follow-up study, all sheep fed these modified cotton plants died within thirty days. â€Å"In a small village in Andhra Pradesh, buffalo grazed on cotton plants for eight years without incident. On January 3rd, 2008, the buffalo grazed on Bt cotton plants for the first time. All 13 were sick the next day; all died within 3 days† (â€Å"Genetically†). Other ramifications include issues with reproduction. Tests in animals show that possibilities include premature deliveries, abortions, infertility, prolapsed uteruses, sterility, and death of newborns. â€Å"When male rats were fed [genetically modified] soy, their testicles actually changed color—from the normal pink to dark blue. † (â€Å"Genetically†). In humans, in the US population, â€Å"the incidence of low birth weight babies, infertility, and infant mortality are escalating† (â€Å"Genetically†). With all the complications in test animals, it is a wonder how more people are not concerned about eating genetically modified food. Others may disagree. Potentially life-sustaining foods can be grown quickly and in a short space of time to feed many, which is true, but the truth is that, in testing, these methods of creating foods have done more harm to test subjects than good. Some experts claim that genetically altered foods create biodiversity instead of edging out their more â€Å"natural† cousins, but others argue that biodiversity with lab-created plants are actually killing off non-genetically altered species of plants (Carpenter). A more reasonable approach might be that people should start to be more conscious of what they purchase and discard because it has gone bad. A more prudent use of the world’s food supply might benefit more people than any other alternative. Rationing food may seem tyrannical, but if humans keep generating so much food waste because of the tendency to buy more than is needed, rationing may become the norm. Another alternative, however, and a less harsh one, would be for people to grow their own vegetables. If gardens were as plentiful nowadays as they were in the 1940’s, the growth of so many genetically altered vegetables would be unnecessary. In conclusion, there are many more options available to people than going into a laboratory to change how food is grown. With all of the risks involved in genetically altered food, maybe even ones that are not known because of the relative newness of the research available, it is unfathomable that another way to feed the world has yet been found. Would doing more work on an individual basis really be so bad compared to the potentially life-threatening health problems that today’s scientists are unintentionally giving to the future of the human race? Works Cited Carpenter, Janet E. â€Å"Genetically Engineered Crops Have Had a Positive Impact on Biodiversity. † Biodiversity. Ed. Debra A. Miller. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013. Current Controversies. Rpt. from â€Å"Impacts of GE Crops on Biodiversity. † ISB News Report. 2011. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. â€Å"Genetically Modified Foods Pose Huge Health Risk. â€Å"Opposing Views. 20 May 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. â€Å"History of Genetic Engineering. † American Radio Works. American Public Media. 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. â€Å"Introduction to Genetically Modified Food: At Issue. † Genetically Engineered Foods. Ed. Nancy Harris. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2009. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

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