Many individuals and organizations question their safety even though GM seed companies maintain that they are safe. This paper explores the controversy surrounding GM foods for consumption by analyzing different underlying factors of GM food testing and public safety. Those factors include: validity of the testing process, long-term effects, and an examination on if GM foods are safe. This paper concludes with an open-ended scrutiny on the topic of GM food safety and the controversy surrounding it.
GM crops and GMOs are amidst the center of a lot of controversy and conspiracies. Health, safety, and economic are all factors that are impacted by the farming of GM crops. GM crops have however been around for a long time, first commercially appearing in the 1990s. GM crops have expansively grown into a large share of vegetables throughout the world. GM crops are just as well researched as they are misunderstood. Most often consumers of GM foods do so unknowingly. The scrutiny on GM foods is most often directed towards its safety and distrust of the corporations who develop the strains of GM food that many farmers grow.
I have many opinions on GM foods, especially after all the research I have done. Long term testing is difficult because GM foods that have been on the market are safe and people are inclined to distrust GM manufacturers. GM seed manufacturers are equally trustworthy as they are not. I support the growth of GM crops because they are incredibly beneficial and seem safe overall. However, I also support GM food labeling because I believe people have a right to know what they are consuming.
Validity of GM Food Testing
GM food companies such as Monsanto are responsible for testing their GM foods and the FDA is responsible for approving GM foods approval to release to market. GM food manufacturers concern for thorough testing can be criticized because the sooner they can release a new product the more money they make. However, if they do not test thoroughly enough then it would damage their reputation and competitive edge. The fact that humans are safely consuming GM foods today show that overall the current method of GM food testing has been more than sufficient.
The world benefits from GM crops. Specifically, world hunger and people. This is because GM seeds increase crop yields and lower their cost which makes healthy foods more available and affordable. Farmers also benefit from lower maintenance costs and the increase crop yields. This makes farmers able to produce more foods and receive more profit. Of course, GM manufacturers do benefit as well.
Are GM Foods Safe?
GM foods have not been shown to directly cause harm to humans. Research has indicated some harm to cows, goats, buffalos, pigs, and rats—but not mice and humans. Still GM food manufacturers maintain their products are thoroughly and safe for human consumption. GM foods must be approved by the FDA before commercial sale. Much concern on GM food safety can be attributed to lack of faith in the scrutiny of the safety testing done on GM foods. Currently, there are no credible research that indicates that GM foods are not safe for human consumption. As the concern of GM foods arises GM manufacturers continue to test their products. One large concern about the scrutiny of safety testing is for adequate methods of understanding any long-term effects.
GM Food Labeling
I support GM food labeling but not everybody does. Vermont is the leading state on GM food labeling, as it was the first one to pass a law mandating it. GM companies do not like GM food labeling as they believe it incites unneeded hysteria. The reason I support GM food labeling is simply because I believe people have a right to know what they are eating.
Can Testing be Done in a Way that Accounts for the Long-term Effects?
Since GM foods have been around in the 1990s some strains of GM foods have been on the market for tens of years with no negative long-term effects on human health have been discovered. Negative long-term effects of GM foods are not the only effects that are worthy of observation. The fact that GM foods have been in production for so many years has shown that they are very successful. In the long term, GM foods have increased the yield of crops making the food less expensive to produce and for consumers. With the increased yield and decreased price another effect is that GM foods have helped contribute to the lessening the struggles of world hunger. However, unfortunately, with new strains it’s hard to determine long term negative effects for a few reasons. First, if there are no negative short-term effects then scientists may not know what to look for. Secondly, once the GM foods are integrated into society it would be hard to determine if any negative long-term effects appeared to determine that GM foods were the cause.
Scrutiny of GM foods are legitimate but there is an unfounded hysteria around labeling GM foods as potentially dangerous. In the question of “should we continue to grow GM crops?” one must separate facts from speculation (or fiction). People have a right to question and understand the complexities of GM foods. Overall GM crops have been very beneficial but it is not worth trying to table the discussion with those who still have their doubts.
Acosta, L. (2015, June 9). Restrictions on Genetically Modified Organisms: United States. Retrieved from Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/law/help/restrictions-on-gmos/usa.php
Bawa, A. S., & Anilakumar, K. R. (2012, November – December). Genetically modified foods: safety, risks and public concerns—a review. Retrieved from US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3791249/pdf/13197_2012_Article_899.pdf
Maghari, B. M., & Ardekani, A. M. (2011, September). Genetically Modified Foods and Social Concerns. Retrieved from US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3558185/pdf/AJMB-3-109.pdf
Tyson, P. (2001). Harvest of Fear. Retrieved from PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/harvest/exist/