The Whole Picture
All living things need food for survival. Food is an essential part of humans lives, and will continue to be forever. Whether it’s a Snickers candy bar or just an apple, every food has nutrients that will help living things grow and evolve. Food on its own, has evolved from the very beginning. A Granny Smith apple that we all know and love has not been the same size and shape from the beginning of time. Humans have genetically manipulated each and every food without most of the public knowing. This also plays a part in humans evolving. For example, in 3000 B.C. the average height of a man was 5’3 and women were 5′ according to Jared Diamond’s The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race. Now, worldwide men on average are 5’8-5’9 feet tall while women are 5’3-5’4 feet tall. Nowadays, humans and many other living things are going to need bigger portions of food, and more nutrients to survive. Foods thousands of years ago would not be enough for humans to survive in 2021. Since this is the case, why does the public, overall, look down upon genetically engineering foods? Most of the public are so used to seeing the same foods over and over again that they get accustomed to these foods. They think that is how every food should look. Then once this certain food has a deformity or is just different from what they are accustomed to, they will not eat it. This can be defined as food neophobia, aversion to new foods. As people age they are likely to stop trying new foods and just have the food they were exposed to when they were younger. “As children age, they tend to be less willing to accept new foods,” Elena Faccio states in Exploring Consumers’ Attitudes toward GMOs, Insects and Cultured Meat. If we would have any chance in switching to genetically modified foods, we would need to start giving these foods to younger children. This just shows that people will not even give genetically modified foods a chance because it is different from what they are accustomed to. Neophobia “seems to be a negative predictor of willingness to taste non-traditional ethnic foods,”Faccio states. Food that is genetically modified, does not taste or even look any different from everyday foods. If anything scientists could construct any food and make it tastier or a more appealing shape. They are not looking to change the taste or look of staple foods because they do not want it to look any different. If genetically engineered foods are completely different from what the public are used to, then genetic engineers will have no chance in the public changing to their product.
All foods have been “genetically” modified in any way, shape, or form since the beginning of time. Either most humans have neglected to notice this, or they simply do not know unless a food is labeled “GMO.” In The mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods in Brazil: Consumer’s knowledge, trust, and risk perception, it states that Brazil is the second biggest producer of GM foods worldwide. Brazil mostly genetically modifies contents in staple foods like soy and maize. In 2003, Brazil passed a regulation stating that “both packaged and bulk products in natura that contain or are produced using GMO above the limit of 1% should be labeled and the consumer should be informed about the gene donor species at the place reserved for ingredient identification.” Meaning the public needs to be notified about what scientists genetically changed to their food. Since every food is “genetically modified” than every food should be labeled accordingly. This will never happen, but it is definitely necessary. However, according to Mariana Piton Hakim, “in 2018, soy production was valued at 120 billion Brazilian Reais, while maize production amounted to 40 billion Brazilian Reais.” Showing that this country relies heavily on genetically modified foods. For the most part it seems to be working. Brazil has already adapted and are ready for the future. If any problems arise they will already be able to solve them and move on.
Genetically modified foods has a negative connotation from the public. If it is not because they are scared to try different foods, then it is most likely that they are scared to take risks. Everything has a risk that humans will not know the consequence until later in life, and then we adapt and evolve from those mistakes. Genetically modifying foods are yet to show any signs of risks, so as a human race we need to start moving in their direction. If we start using them soon worldwide, we will find the problems and diagnose them earlier than later. Genetically modified foods are food that have their DNA manipulated in some way to benefit whatever the scientists are looking for. For example, most genetically modified foods/crops have their genetic material modified, so they are pesticide resistant. Most of the public do not know enough about genetically engineered crops/foods because they are neglecting them due to their own beliefs. Genetically modified foods are being looked down upon by the public even though the public knows little to nothing about them. Most do not realize that we are going to have to go in the direction of genetically modified foods for survival in the near future. Humans are eventually going to overpopulate and will not have enough food for survival. Genetically modifying foods will definitely aid in saving the human race. Not to mention they can help the environment and cause less plants to die due to pesticides.
GMOs are genetically modified organisms that have the ability to change the world. A more in depth definition used in the scientific field can be described as, “organisms whose genetic material has been modified in a way that doesn’t occur in nature under natural conditions of cross-breeding or natural recombination,” according to the article, Genetically Modified Organisms. GMOs have gained a bad reputation towards the majority of the public, when they can provide positive results. GMOs should be allowed in food production because they are cost efficient, require less pesticides, and have the possibility of ending world hunger. These factors are beneficial to the public in more ways that they could be harmful. GMOs are proven to be non-harmful, illustrating another reason why genetically engineered foods can provide essential changes for the world.
One reason GMOs are beneficial to food production is because they are cost efficient. According to the National Academy of Science, the World Health Organization, and many other major worldwide science organizations, genetically modified organisms have no evidence that they can be harmful to humans, stated by MedlinePlus. Genetic engineering provides a more cost efficient way to provide food for the public. For starters, they have a longer shelf life. This is beneficial because consumers will not have to worry about their food going bad. This shows that consumers will not need to buy more food, or spend more money. “Farmers will lower herbicides used,” Borie Theis Nielsen said in the article Genetically Modified Organisms and World Hunger. This could save money for the economy allowing money to be used in more needed areas. The preservation of food would cause a trickle down effect. If grocery stores make less shipments, they would not have to pay for as many shipments. Drivers would make less trips leading to saving more money. There would not be as much gas used or purchased, leading to less usage of fossil fuels. Not only would the economy be saving money, but they would also be saving limited resources. Using this scientific advancement, GMOs can save money without any unwanted consequences.
Along with being cost efficient, GMOs do not require the use of pesticides. Pesticides are chemicals that are used on foods to prevent insects, fungi, and weeds from destroying crops, (Stephenson, 2006). Although this seems like a good idea, it truly is the opposite. Pesticides are toxic to humans and the environment. Side effects may include cancer and damage the human’s reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. Ingesting these toxins at high amounts can be lethal. Pesticides can ultimately pollute the environment by contaminating the soil, water, and even the air. Too many pesticides can harm humans, wildlife, and neighboring lands. There are older pesticides that have been banned around the world. However, these remains linger in the soils and water for many years. Instead of using pesticides to increase yields, scientists can use GMOs to safely protect crops for these pests. Developing countries are already experiencing deaths from pesticides. They are one of the leading causes of death. If countries continue to use pesticides, they have the ability to end the human race.
Solving world hunger may seem like an unattainable goal, but GMOs have the potential to end this catastrophe. People that suffer from hunger, also face malnutrition. Malnutrition directly correlates with Vitamin-A deficiency. Currently, there are 140 million children that are deficient in Vitamin-A. A portion of these children become blind and die within 12 months of losing their sight, stated by Jamil Kaiser. In order to solve this problem, scientists have begun using biotechnology to create Genetically Modified rice, also known as Golden Rice. These biotechnicians have inserted three new genes into rice that help it produce pro Vitamin-A. Kaiser believes that golden rice has the potential to save many lives including these children.
GMOs were mainly created to fight disease, resist pests, improve health, provide an easier way to produce crops, and finally give humans animals and crops the nutrients needed for survival. The public have been fighting whether or not molecular genetically modified organisms are safe for the public to consume. Most of the public does not know the true benefits genetically modified organisms have on the environment and the whole world. However, the biggest downside to genetically modified foods and organisms is the unknowingness of their side affects. They have yet to be truly diagnosed to be a negative thing. Most of the public think genetically modified foods can be detrimental to their health, and cause major pollution. Genetically modified foods are not perfect, but they would not be even considered if it caused humans or crops to die. According to Why People Oppose GMOs Even Though Science Says They Are Safe, author Stefaan Blancke states that genetically engineered foods are safe to eat and benefit the environment. Genetically modified organisms go through a 7-10 year testing period where they are checked for risks against humans, livestock, wildlife, and the environment stated by the Battelle staff in Five Good Reasons to Support GMOs. Scientists observe any new proteins created by the GMOs that could allergic reactions. Battelle states that “GM food production are among the most tested products in history.” Genetically modified organisms are kept under a microscope until they are completely ready to be released to the public. There are lots of protocols genetically modified foods and organisms need to go through that most of the public are unaware of.
Genetically modified organisms can provide the environment with a ton of beneficial factors. Genetically engineered crops allow farmers to use less pesticides saving their precious crops. Less chemicals used on crops the better. “On average, GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%,” taken from from the article A Meta-Analysis of the Impacts of Genetically Modified Crops. This is a substantial benefit that GM crops provide.
A common fallacy associated with GMOs is that they have less nutrients than the normal food. This viewpoint argues that GMOs create larger foods resulting in less vitamins and minerals. However, genetically modified organisms have not been proven to have less nutrients. Instead, specific foods are designed to contain extra nutrients. According to research done by Kennedy, “a modified form of African corn contains 169 times more beta-carotene than traditional crops”. Along with this benefit, the African corn has six times the amount of Vitamin C than staple foods. This example shows how much of an impact GMOs have on nutrition. Inserting more nutrients into foods may allow for people suffering from hunger to get more vitamins and minerals with a smaller portion. These nutritional benefits may help people suffering from deficiencies around the world. Adding these extra nutrients can allow crops in underdeveloped countries to provide the essential qualities they may not get from the foods they grow nearby.
GM crops undergo tons of tests and provide a substantial amount of benefit to our environment. The public as a whole may not even understand the true power genetically modified organisms can provide. Society does not want to take any risks with GMOs because they do not know the long lasting affects they might have. This is another huge disadvantage that modified crops provide. However, its benefits outweighs the disadvantages. Plus, these disadvantages are not proven to be hurting us or our environment. It’s hard to believe that we have had molecular genetically engineered crops for so long and it has not caused a true problem. These companies providing GM foods and crops are going to be the future of foods. Eventually, the world will overpopulate leading to more of a food drought leading to deaths of lots of our livestock and will cause a trickle down affect in our society. It may be a high risk to start turning completely over to the genetic engineers rather than our staple “non GMO” foods, but every food has been modified in some sort of way. If everything the government had companies labeling absolutely everything that has been genetically modified in past, then we would be seeing everything in stores labeled as, “GM foods.” It may seem unreal for most of the public to look at it in this sort of way, but it needs to be done, so society can move closer towards saving the world and economy. We have taken risks before to better our survival fitness than what is the difference? The true difference is that we have evolved as a society and humans began to develop controversy over different things rather than look at the bigger picture. The world is beginning to change and everyone as a whole society needs to evolve and change with it.
GMOs are a cost efficient way to reduce the use of pesticides, and can potentially end world hunger. This is a huge benefit to society, and can change the world. Using GMOs would allow for less expensive labor in production and pesticide dispersion. Not only do these modifications cost less money, but they also provide food for people in need. Genetically modified organisms open a ton of doors into the future, which can better food production as a whole. GMOs should be allowed in food production because they are cost efficient, use less pesticides, and have the possibility of helping to provide food for the world.
Blancke, S. (2015, August 18). Why people oppose gmos even though science says they are safe. Scientific American. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-people-oppose-gmos-even-though-science-says-they-are-safe/
Five good reasons to support gmos. Inside Battelle. (2021, October 21). Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://inside.battelle.org/blog-details/five-good-reasons-to-support-gmos?keyword_session_id=vt~adwords%7Ckt~%7Cmt~%7Cta~496274902983&_vsrefdom=wordstream&gclid=Cj0KCQiAnuGNBhCPARIsACbnLzrdyN2I-4OClwQryUYRgIkQ_o2Me4MpiniT9FsA4AfL8FdLCdSdNDEaApC3EALw_wcB
Klümper, W., & Qaim, M. (n.d.). A meta-analysis of the impacts of genetically modified crops. PLOS ONE. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0111629
Viewpoint: GMO crops are key to sustainable farming-why are some scientists afraid to talk about them? Genetic Literacy Project. (2019, January 24). Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2019/01/21/viewpoint-gmo-crops-are-key-to-sustainable-farming-why-are-some-scientists-afraid-to-talk-about-them/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAnuGNBhCPARIsACbnLzqNpBP52pa93XYPG1E3w70zgggtT5vam2dGJRVz09XiMDYt9HtWHRMaAqpfEALw_wcB
Faccio, E., & Guiotto Nai Fovino, L. (2019, October 19). Food neophobia or distrust of novelties? exploring consumers’ attitudes toward gmos, insects and cultured meat. MDPI. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/9/20/4440.
Hakim, M. P., Zanetta, L. D. A., Oliveira, J. M. de, & Cunha, D. T. da. (2020, February 1). The mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods in Brazil: Consumer’s knowledge, trust, and risk perception. Food Research International. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0963996920300788.
Must-read: Jared Diamond: Agriculture: The worst mistake in the history of the human race. Equitable Growth. (2016, June 28). Retrieved October 21, 2021, from https://equitablegrowth.org/must-read-jared-diamond-agriculture-the-worst-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-human-race/.
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Borie, Colin, Hugo Hello, and Thomas Theis Nielsen. “Genetically Modified Organisms and World Hunger.”
Jamil, Kaiser. “Biotechnology – A Solution to Hunger?” United Nations, United Nations, 2019, http://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/biotechnology-solution-hunger
M. Kennedy. “Evidence-based pros and cons of GMO Foods.” Insider Health (2020).
Stephenson, Gerald R., et al. “Glossary of terms relating to pesticides (IUPAC Recommendations 2006).” Pure and Applied Chemistry 78.11 (2006).