The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Many are in favor of the use of GMO’s. For many years we have used selective breeding to create desirable traits in a plant or animal, but with the new technology called genetic engineering there is now a more efficient way to do so with many more possibilities. In an ever- growing population, it is a convenient way to increase yield in many crops and reduces the use of pesticides and insecticides. This allows farmers to reap more of the profits while cutting costs.

By adding or changing the growth hormone, scientists are also creating larger carp, tilapia, salmon, and many other foods. Modifying the organisms also allows for scientists to add  in different desirable traits. Foods with edible vaccines are being researched as you read this. Martin Lemon, Monsanto’s environmental operations manager said, “The beauty of it is, it’s a lot more straightforward and quicker”. It also allows for the use of non- plant traits to be added to plant organisms, an impossibility during the years of selective breeding.

Although all of this sounds harmless and beneficial, many are against the use of GMO’s. Because the technology is still very new, it is still unknown how these crops will affect future generations of both plants and humans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims that GMO’s are “considered by the government to be as safe as their traditional counterparts and are generally unregulated”, the fact that they are not being regulated is the main cause of concern. The ActionBioScience website suggests that Monsanto’s ability to put patents on seeds is “creating monopolies on living organisms“. For over 200 years patents on living organisms has been excluded as they were not seen as a new invention just a revised way to use nature. Not only is Monsanto slowly taking over the food industry, they are also depleting native countries of their indigenous crops by making the GM crop the only sustainable form. Probably the most frightening aspect of GMO’s is the lack of knowledge. No one can say for certain what the effects will be. Countries such as Algeria, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Philippines, Spain, Brazil, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, and many more have declared not to plant or use genetically engineered seeds until more research has been completed.

 Scientist Miguel A. Altieri says that “profit motivations rather than environmental concerns, shape the type of research and modes of agricultural production prevalent throughout the world”. With that in mind, it is important to be aware that with the little research done on GMO’s it is a frightening thought to think that you could be a guinea pig for future generations.

P.s. If you are still unsure of what modifying food is, look at this Powerpoint.