The GMO Debate

gmo

Genetically Modified Orgasms, sounds bad. There is a large debate going on between GMO supporters (who happen to be large businesses like Monsanto, scientists, and people like me) and GMO haters (most of the United States). The idea behind GMOs is to alter the DNA of a seed or food in order to make it healthier or less susceptible to waste. Here is a look at the two sides of this debate. No one is right or wrong, but a healthy debate on the topic cannot hurt.

Against GMOs:

Altering a seed is seen as messing with nature, a similar argument made by anti-abortion enthusiasts. This does seem wrong to mess around with the genetic makeup of the crops that we all eat. Also, long term effects of GMOs have yet to be studied, meaning they could be terrible for us in the long term (like e-cigarettes). Also, the effect GMOs have on food allergies are yet to be conclusive. GMOs may also hurt the environment by decreasing biodiversity. The effect of animals that eat GMO products are yet to be conclusive. The growing trend of healthy food and organic/natural products really works against GMOs since they are not natural at all. New movements are looking to force companies to label on their packaging if their product contains GMOs. Currently, a brand displays non-GMO on their package label which gives them a boost in sales.

For GMOs:

Food is modified for our benefit. Either it is modified for the purpose of increasing nutrients for our benefit or increasing the supply of food in general. Corn can be grown all year round to increase the supply of corn in the market. This will make it cheaper for everyone to buy and can stop hunger. The corn can also be healthier for you than regular, organic corn with the addition of nutrients. However, again science needs to continuously prove the safety of the process and convince consumers of it as well. Another example is fish. Overfishing is depleting the world’s supply of fish at an alarming rate. Farmed fish fed with GMO chum could be healthier and tastier than wild fish which would be a disincentive to overfish. This is an example where GMOs can help the ecosystem as a whole. With longer and longer droughts in California, GMOs are becoming a necessity in order to sustain crop levels. The key to success for GMOs is the constant improving that needs to be made and the increased effort of safety.

For now there is no right answer, but opinions are stronger than ever. I believe that eventually, having “Contains GMOs” on a label will be a competitive advantage. But it makes you wonder, after crops and food sources, won’t genetically modified humans be next? Gattaca.

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