Genetically modified foods have raised many questions since their introduction. A lot of controversies have been raised concerning the same over the effects that would be caused by the foods. As a result, the issue has been a subject of raging debate among academics as well as politicians the world over.
Genetically modified foods are plants that are used for both human and animal consumption; however, they have been modified in the laboratory. This modification ensures that they acquire resistance to herbicides or they improve the nutritional content. Genetically modified foods have posed some benefits due to the ever-increasing world population. With the high rates of famine in many countries and a shortage of food products, genetically modified foods are thought to be able to bring relief from these problems.
Genetically modified foods are known to be resistant to pests; this will assist farmers who always go through great economic losses, especially in developing countries. Foods that are treated with pesticides also pose a lot of health problems to people. These foods are therefore an advantage because they are resistant to pests.
These plants are also resistant to herbicides; this is an advantage, especially to farmers, since they use a lot of different herbicides to destroy weeds. Genetically modified foods are also resistant to diseases that destroy crops.
Genetically modified foods are resistant to cold and drought, too, and they are meant to reduce cases of malnutrition in most people, especially in developing countries.
A lot of criticisms regarding the foods have been raised, such as the harm it has caused to the environment by causing harm to other organisms. Also, the crops are seen to reduce the effectiveness of pesticides. They are also attributed to the causing of allergies, especially amongst children and other diseases too. (Phipps R. H, Park J. R. 2002).
In addition to the criticism, there has been the question of whether the foods should be banned; this question has raised debates, where some people are saying it should, and others say it should not be banned.
Amongst these criticisms was a letter which was sent by unknown people to the Government of the U.S. The letter stated that genetically modified foods should be banned, starting from their seeds to their fruits. In the letter, they said that all the patents of life and the living processes of genetically modified foods should be eradicated since they posed food threats, violate basic human rights and also go against human health. They also said that the foods compromise the well being of the animals. They stated other many reasons why there should be a ban on the foods, reasons such as poor economic returns to the farmers, which are leading farmers to poverty.
They continued to urge the US government to reject the Genetically Modified crops since they considered the crops as being a hazard to the world. They also stated that another reason for their request for the ban was because the GM crops were neither needed nor beneficial to anyone; as a matter of fact, they said that they are dangerous to health. It was also determined that despite the attributed increased growth of the population, the UN food programme would still be able to support the hungry and even meet any other rising global food demands. The UN would be able to meet global food demands even without having to consider genetically modified foods.
Christian Aid, which is a major charity program that assists Third world countries, stated that GM crops would result in a great range of unemployment, increase debts and destroy the environment. They condemned those that were justifying that the GM crops would be used to feed the hungry in third world countries.
Regarding the ban, it was also said that the products that would result from genetically modified foods would also bring harm to individuals. They stated that one of the introduced hormones to cows to increase milk yield would thereafter lead to a lot of suffering and illness to the cows. This suffering in the cows is then associated with the rising breast and prostate cancers evident in human beings.
The introduction of these foods would increase greater risks in life than have ever been evidenced before that the foods will cause effects to human beings that will later pose great health risks because of the gene complications. As a result of the introduction of these foods to the world, long term effects are likely to be viewed in both the human race and the animal race. A lot of illnesses are likely to emerge, which wouldn’t have been if not for the introduction of these foods.
Genetically modified plants can also cross-breed with other plants and weeds. This can contribute to causing harm to them. This, therefore, shows that genetically modified plants are likely to cause harm to all other plants surrounding them. Genetically modified foods should be completely eradicated and banned from being sold in supermarkets to people. (Institute of Food Technologists 2000).
Genetically modified foods are also seen as a violation of ethics. It is compared to cloning and stem cell research, and it is morally wrong. The GM crops have been patented, thus limiting the growth of the crop in only one season. This will force the farmers to buy new crops every year; this will not make sense, especially to farmers in third world countries. The economy will not be favouring the small common man.
Out of the adverse effects attributed to genetically modified foods, it is now clear that they should be totally banned. However, the government seems not to be reacting to these views. Some of the scientists who opposed these foods have been ignored, and others even sacked from their jobs (www.ens-newswire.com). These foods could be resulting in other many diseases, including cancer, therefore according to Smith, these foods should be completely banned as they are risking the health of people. Genetically modified foods should therefore go through a number of tests to check its health effects to human and animals before it is released to the market.
As a result of all these criticisms towards the foods, some food companies such as Unilever and Heinz banned GM products, while McDonald’s and Burger King stopped buying GM potatoes.
In conclusion, genetically modified foods have raised lots of criticisms as a result of the many possible dangers surrounding them. Taking a look at the many dangers surrounding them, then we have no option than to join the rest of the world in saying that genetically modified foods should be banned. There is no absolute reason why human beings should be exposed to evident risks that are meant to jeopardize their lives. The Government should take caution before it’s too late.
Institute of Food Technologists (2000). “Genetically Modified Organisms: A Backgrounder.” Food Technology 54:42–45.
Pegg J. R. Casting Doubt on the Safety of GM Foods. 2008. Web.
Phipps RH, Park JR. (2002). Environmental benefits of genetically modified crops: Global and European perspectives in their ability to reduce pesticide use. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences; 11: 1-18.