Research Proposal: Future of Food Genetically Modified

Pages: 5 (1589 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Agriculture  ·  Buy This Paper

GMOs

Should Labeling be Required for GMOs?

The debate over genetically modified foods continues to plague producers and consumers alike. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are foods that have been modified through bioengineering to possess certain characteristics. These plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or increased nutritional content (Whitman, 2000). The debate continues to rage as to whether these genetically altered foodstuffs are the answer to hunger in the coming years, or whether we are simply children playing with something that we do not have the capacity to understand. One of the biggest debates in the GMO issue is whether producers need to use labeling of foods that contain GMOs, or whether they should be treated as any other natural food source. This research will support the position that current regulatory practices concerning GMO crops are inadequate and that stricter labeling laws for GMOs needs to be enforced.

Before genetic engineering, plants were bred using standards cross-pollination techniques to produce improved strains. This method was time consuming, taking many generations to perfect. It was not very precise either (Whitman, 2000). There were many factors that could influence the outcome. With genetic engineering, the researcher can isolate the exact gene sequence responsible for the desired characteristic, such as drought tolerance, or high productivity (Whitman, 2000). Some of the current uses of genetically modifications being used are pest resistance, herbicide tolerance, disease resistance, cold tolerance, drought tolerance, salinity tolerance, nutritional content, pharmaceuticals, edible vaccines, and phytoremdiation (Whitman, 2000). Phytoremediation is the practice of developing plants that can help to clean toxins from contaminated water and soil.

The UDSA is carefully monitoring the development of genetically modified foods by using a similar testing protocol that is used to approve drugs for the human market. As of 2000, there were over 40 plant species that were approved for commercial distribution in the United States (Whitman, 2000). As the population of the world continues to grow, so does the interest in genetically modified foods as a potential solution. However, there are those that do not agree.

Safety Concerns and GMOs

Producers, such as Monsanto claim that GMOs are as healthy, if not more so in some cases, as the foods that were produced by hybridization. Currently, many countries around the world have some type of testing before GMOs can be marketed. These tests include harm to both humans and the environment (WHO, 2009). However, despite these claims and assurances, concerns regarding pubic safety still exist.

Discussions concerning safety issues and the potential harmful effects on humans have been largely theoretical. The key concerns have been allergic reactions, gene transfer to non-GMO crops, and outcrossing with domestic species (WHO, 2009). To address the issue of allergic reactions, the World Health Organization and other governing bodies discourage the use of the most common allergenic foods. Gene transfer occurs when the genes from the spliced material enter the body through the gastrointestinal tract and splice themselves into the human body. The possibility of this occurring is believed to be so low that it is not a realistic concern (WHO, 2009).

Of the three key threats listed, outcrossing is the one of most direct concern. The reason stems from the methods used by plants to reproduce. Pollen from GMO crops could easily be picked up in the wind and carried to conventional crops nearby. This makes it difficult to ensure that conventional crops are non-GMO (WHO, 2009). Outcrossing with foods intended for human consumption is not as much of a problem as it would be with crops that were intended for another purpose. For instance, corn being grown to produce ethanol, as opposed to food consumption could have a potential unwanted effect on conventional crops in the area. The introduction of a non-food GMO into the conventional food chain could potentially render the conventional crops not fit for consumption. This is one of the key concerns being raised by many who oppose the use of GMOs (WHO, 2009). Guidance on this issue recommends that a certain distance be maintained between GMO and conventional crops to mitigate this risk (WHO, 2009).

It is difficult to make a blanket statement as to whether GMO foods are safe or not. Every food must be assessed on a case-by-case basis (WHO, 2009). In addition, the risks associated with outcrossing must also be assessed according to the crop and according to specific site conditions. One of the key difficulties in assessing the dangers of GMOs is that it is difficult to trace them in the general human population. It is difficult to determine if GMOs are causing disease in the general population, as many people have no ideas as to whether they're consuming GMOs or not. When one goes to the grocery store, one cannot clearly identify GMOS. The GMO head of cauliflower looks identical to the conventional head of cauliflower. Sales are an indicator of levels of consumption, but there is no way to track GMO consumption in the individual. Therefore, the only evidence that is being used to assess the safety of certain GMO foods are the short-term studies conducted in connection with a potential GMO food's introduction into the market.

Support for Labeling Laws

To take sides on the safety issue or the potential long-term affects would be difficult. There are studies that claim that many GMO foods are safe for the consumer. However, one must consider the source of the information and the credibility of the research methods. It can be assumed that any GMO that is currently on the market has been tested and meets USDA requirements for human consumption. However, this is not enough for many consumers. In Europe, the introduction of GMO foods met with a greater resistance than it did in the United States (WHO, 2009).

Consumers understand that GMOP foods have been tested and are deemed to be safe. However, they still question the lack of research regarding the potential long-term effects. GMOs have not been on the market long enough to make claims as to the potential long-term effects of them on humans or on the environment. These public concerns have had a significant impact on the marketing of GMOs in Europe (WHO, 2009). Concerns were so fervent that it led to a ban on the approval of any new GMO products until further until better risk assessment techniques have been developed for them.

GMOs were advertised as the "cure" for supplying humanitarian relief to impoverished parts of the world. However, governments in these countries have placed a ban on the receipt of commodities that use GMOs. In the end, it is the consumer that will ultimately decide the fate of GMOs and their place in the market. The current position of the World Healthy Organization concerning GMOs is that there is not clear winner or loser in the battle over GMOs. They are critical over the current methods used to assess risks, calling for uniform methods and controls to help assess the real and perceived risks associated with GMO food crops (WHO, 2009).

Concerns over GMOs have led to the notion that the consumers have a right to be informed when they are purchasing crops that are GMOs. Currently, there are no specific labeling requirements for GMO crops in the U.S., but in Europe, any food containing a GMO must be labeled as such (Ng, 2008). In addition, the UK and other EU countries are urging others to follow in their requirements to label foods that contain GMOs (Ng, 2008). They feel that it should be up to the consumer to decide. In the U.S., GMO producers have fervently opposed labeling requirements, maintaining that it would give those promoting non-GMO crops and unfair advantage, similar to the effect of organic labeling (Raab & Grobe,… [END OF PREVIEW]

Four Different Ordering Options:

?
Which Option Should I Choose?

1.  Buy the full, 5-page paper:  $28.88

or

2.  Buy + remove from all search engines
(Google, Yahoo, Bing) for 30 days:  $38.88

or

3.  Access all 175,000+ papers:  $41.97/mo

(Already a member?  Click to download the paper!)

or

4.  Let us write a NEW paper for you!

Ask Us to Write a New Paper
Most popular!

GMO Genetically Modified Organisms Term Paper


Genetically Modified Foods Harmful or Helpful Research Paper


Genetically Modified Foods Thesis


Thumps Up for Genetically Modified Food Essay


Agriculture and Genetically Modified Food in the Development of Third World Countries Pros and Cons Term Paper


View 113 other related papers  >>

Cite This Research Proposal:

APA Format

Future of Food Genetically Modified.  (2009, March 25).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/future-food-genetically-modified/6526

MLA Format

"Future of Food Genetically Modified."  25 March 2009.  Web.  19 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/future-food-genetically-modified/6526>.

Chicago Format

"Future of Food Genetically Modified."  Essaytown.com.  March 25, 2009.  Accessed July 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/future-food-genetically-modified/6526.