"If we are what we eat, with all the genetically modified and imitation foods we now eat, what the heck are we?" - anonymous
If you want to judge genetically modified food, you should first know what genetic modification means.
Basically, you can see GM (I'll use ‘GM' because it's short for Genetic Modification) as a way to ‘improve' plants and animals. By making adjustments in the DNA, the plant or animal gets, for instance, a higher quality or a higher resistance to diseases and/or parasites.
What researchers in the biotechnology do, can be explained quite easily. They take genes (genes are holding information, which is for example used to build cells, but also holds information about genetic traits) from one type of plant or organism and ‘insert' them into another type of plant (or organism).
You can see GM as this : Plant A has for instance a weakness to cold. Now, farmers don't really like that and researchers have decided to make sure that the plant will have a higher resistance to cold. They look for a plant, or organism (think of microbes) and take out specific information (that specific information is the reason for organism B's resistance to cold) from it's DNA. Then, they place that piece of information inside the DNA of plant A. That way, plant A will be more endurable to cold weather (just like organism B).
Now, there are a few reasons to vote ‘for' GM. Let's make a list of them :
The fact that plants have a higher resistance to cold means that in the near future we could say goodbye to the greenhouses (that wouldn't be such a bad thing, now would it? The light that comes from the greenhouses causes the sky to turn ‘yellow', so when night falls, it won't be dark at all. This is not a problem for people, but what about the animals?).
If you look at a ‘normal' potato plant, not every potato that can be harvested from it has a ‘high' quality. This means that the vegetables need to be sorted on quality. A-quality, which is the best quality, is more expensive than the other qualities. But, now GM came along, scientists can make sure that (almost) every fruit or vegetable, that can be harvested from a plant, will have a high quality. As a result, the high quality vegetables are less expensive. The same goes for mass production, which can be made possible by GM.
But what about the downsides of GM? Let me also list them for you :
(many thanks to Yahoo.com)
We all know that GM has not been around for a very long time. This means that we – still – don't know much about it. A lot of health hazards can occur, without us even knowing.
And what about the long-term effects? We might be able to know, no predict, what GM food can do to an individual for a short period of time. But what happens after twenty years? Thirty, or even forty? There is no-one who can answer that question because there is no-one who thought of testing GM on a long term. Maybe they did, but it would cost a lot of money and take a lot of time. Most governments don't think it's necessary to spend a lot of time and money on research if they think it's safe. Why not? Because they are all driven by money.
"Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible." – Phil Angel, the director of corporate communications at Monsanto
So in this world, this society, it seems that money is more important than the lives of thousands of humans and animals.
"Genetic engineering is like performing heart surgery with a shovel. Scientists do not yet understand living systems completely enough to perform DNA surgery without creating mutations which could be harmful to the environment and our health. They are experimenting with very delicate, yet powerful forces of nature, without full knowledge of the repercussions.''- Mark Schoofs (I believe)
Not only should we ‘fear' for what happens in the (near) future - due to the absence of information - the resistance to antibiotics and of course the possible side effects. But we should also fear for the impact it could, and will, have on our environment. Our food will contain more and more pesticides, like safe-foods.org says, due to GM, crops are able to create their own pesticides. And the most, frustrating, thing is possibly the fact that once the genes are inserted into the crops or animals, and those are being ‘released' into our environment, there is no way to contain the genes. Recalling them would be simply impossible. So, if they made a mistake, we're doomed to live with it.
Personally, I'm against Genetic Modification. Not only because we have no clue what will happen in the near future, but also because I believe we have no right to ‘mess' with nature. Who are we to think we can make our food ‘better' and control it, if we can't even control ourselves? Hunger for power, money and the fact that we think we are the smartest animals on this planet (we may call ourselves human and think we stand above the other living creatures, but we're still animals) are the reasons why GM was introduced in the first place. There is nothing wrong with the way our food was before.
If only we would use GM to make sure everyone on this planet would have something to eat, maybe then I would think of accepting it (however, the downsides of GM makes it impossible to accept it, since I wouldn't want other people to die because of it). But that's not happening.
We're all part of it, whether we want it or not and there are only three options we have left. We should either go back to where we started and grow our own, biological, crops and keep our own cows and chickens in the backyard. We could also just close our eyes to this and forget about it, not accepting the fact that this is happening right now. Or, we could unite and stand up against this. It's your choice…
"If it is left to me, I would certainly not eat it. We are putting new things into food which have not been eaten before. The effects on the immune system are not easily predictable and I challenge anyone who will say that the effects are predictable." - Professor Arpad Pustzai, world-leading nutritional science expert.
What did you think of this review?
Genetically Modified (GM) Foods are made from organisms that have been given specific traits through genetic engineering, unlike similar food organisms developed through the conventional genetic modification of selective breeding or mutation breeding. GM foods were first put on the market in the early 1990s. Typically, genetically modified foods are plant products: soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil, but animal product s have been proposed. Foods can be modified in such a way that pesticides become part of the genetic makeup of the product so less pesticides need to be used externally. Insects no longer consume the crops and the result yields pleasant looking produce that is only consumed by humans. There are no short or long-term studies on the effect of GM foods on the human body or the environment.