Genetically modified food! Courtesy of Jeffrey Smith - responsibletechnology.org

Genetically modified foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are organisms that have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. Genetic engineering techniques is the direct human manipulation of an organism’s genome (this is what holds an organism hereditary information) using modern DNA technology. These techniques are much more precise than mutation breeding where an organism is exposed to radiation or chemicals to create a non-specific, but stable change. Other techniques of breeding by human’s modification of food organisms include selective breeding, plant breeding, and animal breeding. This all means that genetically modified food are basically experiments that have been researched for the possible effects on the human body. Everyday people are eating genetically modified foods without even knowing it or what these types of food could cause consequences long-term or short-term. Anyone, organization, or business should give food buyers a choice by labeling genetically modified foods and granting people the chance to know, research, or learn what him or her is consuming into their body.

Food, genetically modified means that the original DNA structure has been changed. DNA is known to be like a blueprint of each living thing. Genetically modifying foods leave space and opportunity to alter the DNA, which causes for the qualities or the characteristics of the living thing, plants for example, to be changed. For plants, the goal of genetically modifying the organism aims to make plants such as corn or soy beans resistant to the herbicides, killing all of the weeds but not affecting the actual crops. Dr. Steve Windley from purehealthmd.com said researchers have raised general concerns with the safety of genetically modified foods, because there is a basic lack of published knowledge on the exposure of the possibility for long-term and short-term effects on humans from genetically modified food.

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Dr. Windley stated that researchers are concerned what effects might come by affecting the DNA of these crops. What happens to the crop? What happens to the animals and the humans who eat them? Are these plants causing problems now? Can the bacteria and viruses used to alter the DNA in these plants also affect the bacteria in our gut? What happens over time with our gut now that we consume genetically modified food? All of these questions cannot be answered, because no one is concerned enough to research these possibilities. Dr. Windley says that crops that are genetically modified tend to have much higher levels of herbicide residue. There is a rapidly growing concern that these genetic mutations will lead to more allergies.

We don’t know what we are eating, but everyone should have an opportunity to know exactly what their consuming in their bodies. Dr. Windley presented evidence that includes a demonstration of a person who was not allergic to the wild soy plant; however, was indeed allergic to the GMO (genetically modified organism) soy. Some research has been done to prove GMO foods can negatively affect the immune system and inflammation in animal studies. One of the main scientists commissioned to study GMO crops was Dr. Arpad Pusztai and worked on publishing research with GMO potatoes. Dr. Pusztai work showed precancerous changes in the intestinal tracts of rats along with other changes to the liver, brain and testicles. This gives more reason why we should conduct research on the human body from the consumption of genetically modified foods.

From a study, “Categorizing genetically modified food products: Effects of labeling on information processing,” by Petra Tenbult, Nanne De Vries, Ellen Dreezens, and Carolien Mantijn; states advocates claim that labeling will ensure that consumers have more complete information, enabling them to make more informed choices. Knowledge defines us as a culture, individual, or person. Enabling labels for GMO products will categorize what foods are genetically modified, how they’re grown and what they’re grown with. Petra Tenbult suggests “classification enables us to use our knowledge about categories and to make sense of individual members of the categories. Ellen Dreezens suggests, “People activate different aspects of their mental representation depending on which aspects are relevant.” If people are aware of genetically modified foods, they could have a choice to rather consume such foods, or stray away from them; but the ultimate power is held in the people’s hand. A survey was conducted and thus asked U.S. respondents “If the USDA/FDA made a public statement about the safety of biotechnology would you have a lot, some, or no trust in the statement about biotechnology?” The response concluded the USDA carried the support of 90% of respondents, the FDA 84%. After generating all the reasons why labeling genetically modified food display common good and the betterment for the human race.  It seems that the right thing to do amongst the citizens of the U.S. is for the USDA/FDA to generate food labels for genetically modified foods, and thus granting the American people a choice on what foods are safe for them to consume.

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