“Genetically modified organisms are the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal.” (Advani) My overall purpose is to show the pros and cons of GMO's and how contamination plays a part in this. At the same time, dig a little deeper on both sides. I feel that this subject is a bigger issue than it seems but there's not many people who are aware of what's going on. I believe that marketing has a big part in this. Lots of people usually go for the cheaper alternative when buying fruits and veggies. I think the reason why the fruits and veggies are so cheap is because of GMO's. They're able to produce more and more crops when modified vs organic. Organic is more expensive but why? Why would someone want to pay more for a “lesser tasting” crop? It seems like a huge mind game but in reality, it all comes down to business.
“Since 2010, demand for non-GMO food products has grown dramatically.” (Bain) More and more consumers every year become more aware of the GMO topic. Consumers question whether their food is non-GMO. GMO contamination is becoming a larger problem in the United States and our health is at stake. There are no obvious traits showing differences in crops other than the label the producer provides. The ultimate question here is, why would it matter? Non-GMO means the crop has not been genetically modified. GMO crops have toxic pesticides such as, insecticides, and fungicides that are sprayed on these crops. On the other hand, organic crops do not allow GMO or GMO contamination. The use of these chemicals is harmful to human health over time. Studies are showing it has little to no harmful effects to humans but tests say otherwise. The cancer rates in the United States have risen dramatically. “According to the President's Cancer Panel, 41% of the U.S. population is expected to get cancer and 21% of the U.S. population is expected to die of cancer.” (Goldberg) Just because a product states that it is USDA certified organic, doesn't mean it is also Non-GMO project verified. Contamination may occur, making it not 100% safe for consumers. President's Cancer Panel recommends consumers to choose “food grown without pesticides.”
“GMOs are prohibited substances, according to the Canadian General Standards Board's Organic Agriculture Standards.” (Bouchie) The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements has a zero-tolerance policy. Farmers around the world are losing crop revenue because of GMO contamination. These organic farms must be tested for the Non-GMO approval label. With contamination rising, it is difficult to do so. Therefore, farmers are suing GMO farms that have caused this issue. Farms blame Monsanto and Aventis because they did not warn them about the harm that has come from their GMO crops. In Canada, the most important, most profitable and largest exported crop is wheat. “Canadian farmers are worried that their estimated $17.5 million organic wheat industry will be damaged in the same way should GM heat be introduced.” (Bouchie)
GMO crops are usually on the cheaper side of the grocery store. Studies show that organic food is about 47% more expensive than non-organic. “Crop yields of organic agriculture are typically 10-20% lower than conventional.” (Oaklander) The reason for that is because non-organic growers use synthetic fertilizers and genetically modify their crops, yeilding much more a lot faster and making them look and taste better. Organic crops are fertilized naturally using animal manure which usually takes a lot longer because it takes longer to decompose and release the beneficial nutrients used to help plants grow. Getting to the financial view of this, surveys have shown that consumers are more likely to buy the conventional product vs organic because of its price. As stated before, conventional farmers use chemicals and synthetic pesticides because it helps produce crops faster and more efficiently which makes it easier to maintain. Therefore, less workers are needed. On the other hand, organic farmers must hire more workers to keep up with the crops leading to higher costing maintenance. This is the reason why organic costs more. If organic and conventional were the same price, organic farmers would lose revenue because they wouldn't be able to make profit with all their expenses it takes to keep up with their crops. “Retail sales of organic food rose from $3.6 billion in 1997 to $21.1 billion in 2008, according to the USDA, and 58 percent of Americans claim they prefer to eat organic over non-organic food.” (Fox News)
When it comes to certification, things can get tricky. Farmers must take costs into consideration. Farm facilities must comply with specific standards to be certified as organic or non-GMO. Facilities must keep daily records for random inspections which requires more employees. “Organic farms must pay an annual inspection/certification fee, which starts at $400 to $2,000 a year, depending on the agency and the size of the operation.” (Fox News)
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