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Why GMO Foods should be banned in U.S

Updated on September 18, 2015

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 benefiting 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 bann.

Preposition

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 GMsoybean 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 cause 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(Sheldon 201).

Other common issues in regard to GMOs are lack of labels. Unlike organic certification, GMO certification is not possible. Practically, the law does not require products to state whether they contain GMOs or not. In a world where 92% of the soybean crop is genetically modified and with consideration that a variety of products utilize corn syrup or soybean, the probability of finding GMOs in foods is high(Sheldon 211). Despite the fact that it is not possible 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 owes to the fact that in U.S, organic regulations do not require a testing of GMO. While many manufactures are concerned with purchase of organic that is certified, not many people are aware on GMO contamination. With lack of GMO labeling, it is almost impossible to know what products contain particularly if information is lost or disregarded along the way. (Kerstin and Terry 124).

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. Despite the fact that such a combination does no longer exist, one cannot truly tell, the existence of others considering that there is nobody who is legally compelled to disclose that(Uzogara 179).

Hayengae xplains that in the event that there are closely related specifies in nearby fields or the wild, then pollen from a GM plant could pollinate another plant, thus spreading another genetically engineered traits (55). Various studies have for instance documented the spread of transgenic corn genes into specifies of native corn in Mexico. This is specifically troubling considering that many wild and native relatives of corn are extant in Mexico and that such cross-pollination have a potential of threatening the genetic biodiversity of corn, one of the most common stable foods around the world. In the context of U.S, there are some organic farmers which have filed a suit against USDA for allowed GMs such as sugar beets to be planted. This owes to the fact that GMS traits have a potential of spreading of closely related organic crops such as table beets or chard, hence voiding their organic status. Another environmental concern is the increase in chemical use. Between 1994 and 2005, there was a 15-fold increase in the use of Roundup, an herbicide which was produced by Monsanto, the world’s leading producer of GM seeds. Approximately 80% percent of GM crops are tolerant herbicides, hence farmers could utilize far more herbicides on their crops without killing them.

Another research found that Glyphosate wielded proliferative effects in human hormone-dependent cancer. The glyphosate exhibited weak estrogenic activity as compared to estradiol. Additionally, the study validated the addictive genisein and glyphosate effects which implied that using contaminated products of soybean as dietary supplements could pose risk of breast cancer due to their probable addictive estrogenicity. The research also proved that Roundup from Monsanto’s is an “xenoestrogen”, meaning it is foreign estrogen which mimics real estrogen in human bodies. This is believed to cause several problems including increased risk of different cancers, thyroid issues, early puberty, infertility and much more (Shi et al 111).

Several US citizens claim that there has never been enough independent studies on GMOs. All GMO studies have always been done by the companies that make GMOs. These are rather big companies that exhibit no care for anything else but money and profit. They would not have time to care if the long term effects of using GMOs are liver cancer and much more since nobody can tie the effects to them. Studies although not confirmed to be true, show that GMOs could be altering human genes, making human less resistant to conservative medication or even breaking down the human intestinal walls which will cause lots of other medical issues. So many children have allergy to nuts nowadays and this could probably be the cause of GMO since they grow up eating GMO as 70 percent of diet (Pleasants, and Oberhauser 144).

Countries such as Japan, France and Italy including several others have banned GMOs on grounds that they are not healthy and they spread their modified traits to other plants. Yet in the US the crops remain controversial. Several preliminary studies tend to suggest that GMOs are responsible for super-weeds, decreased fertility and allergies(Dunwell 434).The fact that several countries have already banned GMO products shouldbe a basis for U.S to reconsider its decision to allow the same.

Counterarguments

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 (Sheldon 176).

Other arguments are that there are some GMOs products which have many health benefits to the humans. A common example being cited is the strain rice which is genetically engineered to contain beta carotene in the endosperm. A human’s body converts beta carotene into vitamin A.They also argue that golden rice was specifically developed for treatment of vitamin A (Hawken 223).

Rebuttal

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 (Romeis, et al 18-20).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 (Gatehouse 249).

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 (Kuipe et al 427).

Conclusion

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 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 amonghumans and health issues should inform on the necessity of banning such crops.

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