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Genetically engineered foods have been a very controversial subject for many years. I think the new GMOs are more harmful than they are helpful. They pose many health risks to humans. They also greatly threaten the environment and some butterflies. There are many unknown effects of the crops, and there are economic concerns. Bioengineers think that the GMOs can help in many ways. They can be engineered to have pest, herbicide, disease, cold, and drought resistance. Nutrition and pharmaceuticals can also be added to the crops. There might even be a solution to end world hunger, but the potential damage it can do still outweighs the benefits.


Genetically modified organisms refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques. These plants have been modified to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides and pests. Growing GM foods such as B.t. corn can help eliminate the application of chemical pesticides, but consumers do not wish to eat food that has been treated with pesticides because of potential health hazards. Crop plants genetically engineered to be resistant to one very powerful parasite could help prevent environmental damage by reducing the amount of herbicides needed (Whitman). These crops could greatly help the environment.


Some crops are also engineered to resist cold and drought. An antifreeze gene has been introduced into plants such as tobacco and potato. These plants are able to tolerate cold temperatures that normally would kill unmodified seedlings. Creating plants that can withstand


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long periods of drought or high salt content and soil and groundwater will help people to grow crops in formerly inhospitable places (Whitman). These crops would help out many of the third world countries that are suffering from hunger.


Crops can also be engineered to contain more nutrition and pharmaceuticals. Rice does not contain adequate amounts of all necessary nutrients to prevent malnutrition. If rice could be genetically engineered to contain additional vitamins and minerals, nutrient deficiencies could be alleviated. Blindness due to vitamin A deficiency is a common problem in third world countries. “Golden” rice containing an unusually high content of vitamin A could help this problem. Researchers are working to develop edible vaccines in tomatoes and potatoes (Whitman). These plants would save many lives in poor countries if they work like they are expected to.


These GMOs can also be used to help put an end to world hunger. Besides boosting the nutritional content of food, researchers are developing crops that can be grown in arid countries or in regions with poor soil. Some seeds could produce drought-resistant, salt-resistant, and heat-resistant crops that can be grown in the third world countries. Consumer and environmental groups say poverty causes hunger in developing countries and that new types of crops will do little to relieve the situation unless poor farmers can pay for them. The idea of using biotechnology to feed starving people has come to the fore recently because the industry is trying to win over U. S. and European skeptics. Biotech opponents believe that developing countries should place a greater emphasis on inexpensive, traditional agricultural techniques- like rotating crops to enrich the soil- instead of using potentially costly technology that could pose environmental risks (Hosansky 56). Even if crops were engineered for third world countries the


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countries would not have enough money to buy the seeds.


Genetically engineered foods have not been tested enough to be put on the market yet. Nearly two-thirds of the products on our supermarket shelves contain genetically engineered ingredients. GE foods remain poorly studied; scientists simply cannot say with any authority that they are absolutely safe for human consumption. Many scientists believe that GE foods have been rushed too quickly to the market before adequate testing has been completed to ensure public health. Scientific bodies say that there was insufficient research into the potential allergic effects and toxicity of genetically engineered foods. Gm foods could cause serious risks to human health (TheCampaign.org). GE food companies should wait until they know if the GE food is safe for them to put it on the supermarket shelves.


Genetically engineered food may trigger harmful allergies in people. Genetic engineering may involve the transfer of new and unidentified proteins from one food and into another, with the potential of setting off allergic reactions. The allergies can potentially result in life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Without labeling people with allergies will not know if they are eating foods that contain genes from other foods to which they are allergic. In 16, scientists were stunned to discover that soybeans engineered to include protein-rich genes from the Brazil nut also contained the allergenic properties of the Brazil nut. Scientists have also discovered that B.t., a bacterium that has been spliced into millions of acres of corn, potatoes, and cotton, may produce allergies in people (TheCampaign.org). Much more extensive testing is required to ensure that those who suffer from allergies will not be affected by these foods.


Genetic engineering may create new toxins harmful to human health. Scientist say genetic


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engineering may produce new toxins, with potentially devastating results for humans. In at least one case, disaster has already happened. In 18, a genetically engineered version of tryptophan, a dietary supplement, produced toxic contaminants. Before it was recalled by the Food and Drug Administration, the mutated tryptophan wreaked havoc. Thirty-seven Americans died, 1,500 were permanently disabled, and 5,000 became ill with a blood disorder, eosinophila myalgia syndrome (TheCampaign.org). These peoples’ lives are more important than genetic engineering.


Genetic engineering may be linked with a resurgence of infectious diseases. Infectious diseases were responsible for one-third of the 5 million deaths from all causes in 15. Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is now estimated to affect 10 million each year with million deaths. At least 50 new viruses attacking humans emerged between 188 and 16. Toxic shock syndrome is now invulnerable to all known antibiotics (TheCampaign.org). New diseases will keep coming if genetic engineering is not stopped or corrected.


Genetic engineering can do much harm to the environment. Some of the companies that boast that genetic engineering can do wonders for the environment are the same ones that have invented such deadly pesticides such as DDT and Agent Orange. These pesticides, it was promised, would help the environment; instead, they turned into environmental disasters. GE corn may be deadly to the Monarch butterfly. Half of Monarch caterpillars that are milkweed leaves dusted with GE corn pollen dies within four days. The surviving Monarchs that ate the genetically mutated corn pollen were much smaller and had smaller appetites than the control Monarchs, which ate normal corn pollen or no pollen at all. Already, GE corn is being grown on 0 million acres of American farmland, right in the heart of Monarch’s migratory route between


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Mexico and Canada (TheCampaign.org). If Monarchs keep dying at this rate, they will be extinct in a number of years.


Genetic engineering can contaminate the environment. We should be extremely concerned about genetically modified fish because of the danger that they could escape into the wild. If a GM fish escaped or was released accidentally in to the wild it could never be recaptured. This fish could breed with wild populations and devastate the existing natural balance with its modified behavior. Scientists fear the GMOs will be spread, by bird, insect or wind, to non-GE crops and to the wilderness, and unlike other kinds of waste, genetic contamination cannot be cleaned up, or contained (TheCampaign.org). If GMOs are spread by animals the environment will suffer much damage.


GE food companies boast about all the benefits of genetically engineered food, but they do not say much about the hazards of it. GE food uses less pesticides, which helps the environment, but it also does more damage to it. GE foods may have a few benefits, but when u look at the big picture there are much more hazards than benefits. If GE food companies have all this technology they should be able to make food that does not harm the environment or people. It would be better to just grow crops the original way and not risk thousands of peoples’ lives instead of risking all their lives for a few benefits. I definitely think that the genetic engineering of foods should be stopped.


1. Hosansky, David. “Biotech Foods.” The CQ Researcher. 0 March. 001 4-7.


. “The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods Issues.” TheCampaign.org. http//www.thecampaign.org/issues.php.


. Whitman, Deborah B. “Genetically Modified Foods.” CSA.com. April 000. Cambridge Scientific Abstracts. 000 http//www.csa.com/hottopics/gmfood/oview.html.


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