The world we live in is full of amazing new discoveries and nuances. There are creatures on this planet that have yet to be seen by human eyes. Some of which live in impossible conditions, like the tube worms living in hydrothermal vents deep in the ocean or the glass frog secluded within the rain forest of the amazon. We also live in a world of wondrous innovation and scientific discoveries. Man, has always had a curiosity to learn about life and how it evolved. These curiosities lead to scientists unlocking the mysteries of the human genome.
This new knowledge has been at the forefront of many useful medical interventions and targeted treatments. However, learning more information about how genes work has spearheaded other scientific work. In 1994, Scientists began transferring genes from one species to another in an effort to create food that could sit on store shelves for a longer period of time. We are now in a situation where chemical companies are producing the food that we eat. These companies routinely take genes from bacteria or other organisms and place them into foods in order to create a crop that is resistant to pesticides. This is what is commonly referred to as GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), GE crops (genetically engineered crops), or GM foods (genetically modified foods).
Some may think this is great, now farmer’s do not have to worry about pests eating all of their profits. But did anyone ever stop to think of the other implications of this practice? How do we know that these foods are safe to eat? The only answer provided by scientists and proponents of these crops is that there is no proof of harm. Which isn’t exactly the same as saying they are safe. What impact will these foods have on the human genome? If we are indeed what we eat, then how will these foods modify us? How will the addition of these foods affect the ecosystem? How do the introductions of these crops effect the farming community? It is strange to think that such a small change in how the worlds food is grown can have such an enormous impact on life as we know it.
GM foods have entered our food supply with such an incredible swiftness, that the public was not properly informed about what had happened. Furthermore, until recently there was no way to know if the food you are eating contains GMO’s. As the public became more aware and wary of GM foods, protests and demands for disclosure began. This lead to state senators proposing the so called “dark act”, which protects companies from being required to label foods that contain GMO ingredients. You can read more about that here: http://www.justlabelit.org/dark-act. Some food companies have chosen to voluntarily label their products due to consumer demands and protests. The chemical companies that produce these GM seeds are fighting against mandates that require the labeling of their product as genetically modified. There are still many questions about what kind of effect GMO’s will have on the population and its food supply. When asked if GM foods are harmful, the only answer given is that there is no proof that they cause harm. This is not the same as saying that they are not harmful or that they are in fact safe.
Scientists in favor of GMO’s argue that their process is no different than the practice of selective breeding done by farmers for decades. However, farmer’s engagement in selective breeding involved combining different types of the same plant life i.e. two types of tomatoes that have the flavor or color desired. This is entirely different than combining bacteria with corn that makes it produce a insecticide in its core. When it comes to GMO’s don’t we have the right to know what we are eating and what the long-term effects of eating it will be? Monsanto is one of the largest producers of GM seeds, they also happen to produce Round Up. They call there brand of seeds “Round Up Ready seeds”. Shall we let companies that produce pesticides also produce the food we eat? I’ll let you decide.
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