Genetically Modified Organisms Article Review

Pages: 4 (1150 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Agriculture

GMO

The United States is the world's largest producer of genetically modified crops, and as many as 70% of processed foods on American grocery store shelves already contain genetically modified organisms (WebMD n.d.). In some ways, the debate over genetically modified foods is moot given that the organisms are already a part of the food chain. In the WebMD (n.d.) article, the authors assume a generally neutral stance on genetically modified organisms. Moreover, the author distinguishes between the argument against GMOs because of safety concerns and the argument over GMOs because of consumer rights. Generally, the article presents the case that pro-GMO companies like Monstanto are advocating.

The author points out, for instance, "Monsanto states that genetically modified foods are 'more thoroughly tested than any other food on the grocer's shelves to date' and 'there have been no adverse effects documented from food produced from biotech crops,'" (cited on p. 2). Furthermore, the WebMD (n.d.) author notes that "among industry supporters of this technology are heavy hitters such as the American Medical Association," (p. 2).

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Current genetically modified crops are "one-gene additions," according to industry experts (cited by WebMD n.d. p. 2). These one-gene additions have been deemed "safe," by the same sources (cited by WebMD n.d. p. 2). Therefore, the most critical issue in the debate over whether or not GMOs are safe is the quality of empirical evidence. If the studies on genetically modified organisms suffer from gross internal validity issues, which they do, then any article in favor of GMOs is essentially flawed. When companies hire their own internal researchers to conduct research only with the intention of proving a hypothesis (ie. genetically modified foods are safe), then the research has no internal or external validity.

Article Review on Genetically Modified Organisms Assignment

Another spurious argument used by the biotech industry includes a core logical fallacy: "He says no food is 100% safe -- genetically modified or not -- and the odds of having an adverse reaction to a genetically modified food are slim," (cited by WebMD n.d.). Such a stance ignores degrees of safety and downplays the importance of the argument itself.

Industry experts in the United States also defend the government's stance against labeling genetically-modified foods as a matter of consumer protection. "Labeling isn't an issue as far as that is concerned," claims one insider. In fact, labeling is a major concern for industry insiders. The only reason why biotechnology lobbyists advocate against labeling of GMOs is because they understand the potential for a consumer backlash. The American government understands how enormous the biotechnology industry is and would not want to thwart its prosperity. The author notes, "Public opposition has had some effect, as seen in Europe, where the EU has banned genetically modified foods despite the U.S.' wishes," (WebMD, n.d. p. 4).

In an article by the World Health Organization (WHO 2010), the issue of genetically modified foods is also treated with a high degree of objectivity. Reasons cited in favor of genetically modified crops include improving crop protection against pests and the elements, thereby increasing crop yields. In fact, "The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides," (WHO 2010). Moreover, genetically modified crops actually contain stated toxins: "Insect resistance is achieved by incorporating into the food plant the gene for toxin production from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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