GMOs: a Scourge or a Blessing? “We are what we eat. ” Everyone has heard this famous quote or a variation of it, but what do we actually eat? Over the past years a new type of food called Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) has flooded the food market. This new type of food is designed to better resist the climate and to contain more vitamins and minerals for the consumer, yet the debate is still ongoing: are GMOs harmful or helpful? The following text will present both sides of the argument: the GMOs activists and the anti-GMOs activists’ views.
Then I will explain why I support the GMOs activists. To begin with, GMOs activists, sharing a mechanistic worldview, assure us that the genetically modified crops used make the food in our plates are perfectly safe. For them, the safety of GMOs was confirmed by 20 scientists of the National Academies of Sciences, Mechanics and Medicine, a U. S. nonprofit organization, whom spent two years researching the potential dangers of GMOs. After analyzing all the data they’ve accumulated, they concluded that “there doesn’t appear to be any negative impact”.
However, the scientists didn’t stopped there; they also compared the frequency of cancers, obesity, kidney disease, diabetes, food allergies and celiac disease in North America where GMOs have been on the market since 1996 and Western Europe where GMOs have been banned. If GMOs were to affect North Americans surely there would have been a difference in the two data sets, but as mentioned by the report, “no such differences were found” (“The Verdict on GMO…” 71).
Moreover, these researchers aren’t the only ones to claim the safety of GMOs: Mark Lynas, a British writer and ex anti-GMOs activist, explains that he changed his position on GMOs because he realized that there was a “strong scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs, yet [his] colleagues and [him] were making claims against what the scientists around the world were saying” (“GMOS: A Solution or…” 131-132). In an interview, Lynas explains how GMOs help reduce the amount of pesticide and discusses the ethical use of GMOs.
He mentions how he thought there was something wrong in “violating the species barrier” but he realized that viruses do it all the time, making it a natural process that is ethically acceptable (“GMOS: A Solution or…” 132). Lynas explains how GMOs might help solve world hunger as one of the ways to attain that goal is by improving crops and that is exactly what GMOs do (“GMOS: A Solution or…” 134). In summary, GMOs activists claim that GMOs are already in our plates and no negative effect have been observed.
They may be helpful in solving problems like world hunger and it is fully ethical as other organisms already trespass into other organisms’ genetics to survive. However, anti-GMOs activists, having a ecological worldview, claim that the GMOs on the market are not tested for safety, nor are they labeled (Smith 47). They argue that the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has discovered through animal testing that GMOs to lead dangerous health risks from accelerated aging and immune system problems passing by organ damaging and infertility.
According to the physicists of the AAEM, there is a direct relation between GMOs and these health problems (Smith 48). In fact, in 2009, the AAEM urged all doctors to prescribe all their patients non-GMOs diets as, according to them, many of the cases where doctors could not identify the cause of the problem were caused by GMOs (Smith 48). Could one of these problem be allergies? Because another research discovered that GMOs could accidently transfer allergens from one type of food to another, like it was done with the Brazil nuts that contaminated GMOs soybean (“Should You Worry… 5).
Whatever the case is, the AAEM also discovered that the resistant genes of soybean could be transferred to bacterias inside our intestines, meaning that the dangerous proteins in GMOs can potentially be reproduced in our organism even once we have stopped eating GMOs (Smith, 48). Aside of the dangers of GMOs, they are still not the most effective way to produce food. According to Colin Tudge, a British scientist and writer, it has been proved that the best way to farm is the traditional way in which is already produced more than 50% of the world food (“GMOS: A Solution or…” 137).
As a matter of fact, Tudge claims that GMOs have failed to prove that they yield more food than traditional plants and therefore he doubts it can solve world hunger (“GMOS: A Solution or…” 138-139). Thus, according to anti-GMOs activists, GMOs lead to serious diseases that can persist even once we have stopped eating GMOs and they do not produce more food than traditional crops. As a result of these research and these arguments, I find that all the two side do are contradict each other. When one tries to prove that GMOs are safe, the other does the same to prove the contrary.
However, there is one point that both side agree on and that is that GMOs are already on the American market. Starting from that point we can make our own observations. For instance, if it is true that we have been eating GMOs for the past years then surely we will have been affected by its health risks if there are such risks. The problem is that there has been no symptoms of any sort for the last few years neither for me or anyone in my environment just like was observed by the scientists of the National Academies of Sciences, Mechanics and Medicine (“The Verdict on GMO…” 71).
Now I do not claim that GMOs can save us from world hunger, but one thing is sure, they are not dangerous for our health. I do not agree with everything said by the GMOs activists, but I tend to believe them more because the basis of the argument, the safety of GMOs, is most likely to be true. I also tend to believe them more after Lynas’ interview for he witnessed the views of both sides making him, more or less an objective source, and sided with the GMOs activists (“GMOS: A Solution or…” 131-132). Thus, I find myself adopting, the pro-GMOs position for I cannot see any dangers in GMOs.
In conclusion, GMOs are safe to eat and GMOs activists are mostly right on the subject. Even though anti-GMOs activists claim that GMOs are dangerous and that they are the cause of most diseases with unknown causes, those supporting GMOs are backed by researchers and writers whom thoroughly researched the matter and whom have proven that GMOs are more helpful than harmful. However, this proof will probably not close the debate on Genetically Modified Organisms for anti-GMOs activists seem to continuously refuse to see the obvious.