Genetically Modified Food (GM Food)
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been the center of focus and debate for over three decades. Some scientists argue that GM food is the solution to two of the world’s major problems: an ever increasing global population, and hunger perpetuated by, among other factors, global warming. Other groups, however, contend that GM technology tampers with nature and this has dire consequences on the environment and on human life. This paper takes a look at the need for GM food, despite the rising anti-GMO campaigns.
Genetically modified food (GM Food) is made from modification of the DNA of the genomes of natural organisms. The benefits that accrue to farmers and consumers of agricultural commodities by far outweigh the risks involved. First, GM technology enables farmers to harvest more food as the concerns about pesticides are often eliminated. Consequently, plenty of food implies a reduction in the overall prices of commodities. Farmers also maintain health safety as they use less pesticide. Increased food production and reduced prices have meant that the world has benefited. The number of people dying from hunger has reduced significantly. Unless GM technology is adopted in food production, the increasing global population combined with effects of climate change and global warming resulting in loss of arable land will make the production of adequate food more challenging.
The major concern about GM food is their health safety. Many countries including leading EU agricultural and food producers shun GM food on the basis that such food has an adverse impact on the environment and on the human body. However, the European Commission funded significant research into the impact of GM food on human health. No report has so far revealed the adverse impact or risk which the opponents of GM food point to. It is noted by many researchers that human beings are affected by such bacteria as Escherichia coli whose ingestion harms the human body. Such bacteria have existed for many decades, long before the GM technology came into existence. However, genetically modified food is clean and well researched. Alleging that GM food is likely to harm human life is, therefore, an unfounded assumption.
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The argument that GM technology alters nature has also been considered for several decades. GM technology involves taking the genetic components of one organism, such as a specific tomato component with desired characters, and inserting or infusing it into another variety of tomato. This, it is alleged, results in permanent alteration of a species and the resultant effects could harm consumers of such tomatoes many years after the initial genetic engineering. This assertion carries weight. If indeed such alterations in the natural genetic makeup of some plants can significantly affect the future consumers’ health, it needs to be considered a health risk. As argued elsewhere in this paper, however, no substantial, tangible evidence has been brought forward in support of this point. This is despite the fact that GM technology has been around for over four decades.
While genetic modification of food became a widely available technology four decades ago, the availability of natural pesticides in organic farming, for instance, has been around for many more years. Hence, for many centuries, human beings have been consuming food that are somewhat modified with no considerable effect on their health.
In summary, genetically modified food is beneficial. Considering the ever-increasing global population and the decreasing supply of food globally, it is imperative that countries and governments across the world embrace the technology, for enhanced food production. The health risks pointed out by anti-GM food activists have not been proved and they remain a mystery. In this regard, genetically modified food is the solution to a prosperous, healthy, Earth.
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