Have you ever thought about the fact that your everyday cereal could be very dangerous? This is because most cereals contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). GMOs are living plants and animals that have had their DNA modified to perform certain things, like be resistant to pesticides or to produce their own fertilizer. GMOs are commonly found in soy, corn, canola oil, cotton, milk, sugar, aspartame, zucchini, yellow squash, and papaya. GMOs are most commonly made in a laboratories. Scientists inject the DNA they want into the seed and remove the DNA that is not needed.
There is much controversy around GMOs, mainly whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. The most significant advantages are plants that are resistant to pesticide, bigger yields, or longer shelf life, all of which benefit the producer. None of these advantages benefit the consumer. Some of the less significant advantages are better texture, flavor, or nutritional value. Also, GMOs can be a sustainable way of feeding the world.
Some of the disadvantages are the possibility of new allergies to develop, spread of disease across different species, and disturbance of the environment’s natural flow. This means that there will be a greater chance that people will develop new allergies if they eat GMOs. Also, there are unpredictable health effects, minimal government regulation, and a threat to the food supply. Since the government does not regulate GMOs, companies can make and sell them as much as they like, resulting in a monopoly of GMO manufacturers over normal seed manufacturers.
Because the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, GMOs should be labeled so that the average consumer is aware of GMO ingredients in their purchases. The most important risk of GMOs is the threat to human safety. This affects human safety because if a human’s genes become modified by a GMO, there can be major implications to their health such as toxic and allergenic reactions (Spilling the Beans: Unintended Health Risks). According to Organic Consumers’ website.
According to a survey I conducted, most people did not know what GMOs are or did not know what products they are in. Also, most people surveyed would not buy products if they had GMOs and 86% of them want products containing GMOs labeled. According to Ms. Gilworth, a sixth grade social studies teacher, ‘Scientists are playing ‘God’ by altering the genetic makeup of living organisms. Scientists aren’t all knowing though’. In general, most people oppose GMOs.
Even though GMOs have been linked to health problems, companies continue to use them. GMOs have been linked to weight gain and organ disruption (Spilling the Beans: Unintended Health Risks). The first GMOs were engineered to be resistant to Roundup, an herbicide. Since farmers could now use them freely, they use as much as 10 times more Roundup. The food is now not only GMO, it is also loaded with a lot more dangerous chemicals.
In an interview with Bea Kieltyka, a Senior Manager for Tyson Foods in Arlington Heights, Illinois, she stated that GMOs are more resilient to pesticides. When companies like this use too many pesticides, the pests then become resilient to the pesticide, making the modification useless. Her company’s feed for their protein sources is also a GMO, and without the best quality and nutrition, their meat would be less valuable. If they stop using GMOs, they can make the claim ‘GMO Free’, which will provide them an advantage because people prefer products without GMOs.
Based on this evidence, GMOs are not worth it. They have been shown to cause many health problems like new allergies and weight gain. Since they can be found in many ingredients, GMOs are very hard to avoid. With more evidence coming out every day that continually proves that GMOs are dangerous and pose a threat to safety, consumers must try to avoid them, and demand adequate labeling. It is clear that GMOs pose a threat to our food supply and environmental safety.
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