The Debate Over GMOs
The debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is fierce and ongoing. On the one hand, proponents argue that genetically modified foods, in addition to being perfectly safe, can make us healthier and reduce the reliance on pesticides. Opponents contend that not enough research has been done and that the long-term safety effects aren’t known.
This article will go over some of the common points of debate and discuss the claims that both sides make.
1. GMO Safety Research Has Been Limited
Proponents of bioengineered foods claim that there is a scientific consensus that such foods are safe. They point to a recent study in the peer-reviewed Journal of Animal Science, which reviewed over 30 years of livestock feeding studies to show no comparable health differences between livestock fed GE feed and livestock fed conventional feed. Similarly, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Medical Association, National Academies of Sciences, and Royal Society of Medicine have released statements declaring no link between genetically engineered foods and bad health outcomes in humans.
However, opponents point to a recent statement signed by over 300 scientists and published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, which disputes that consensus view. They point out that pro-GMO advocates often overstated both the support they received from organizations like the WHO and the results of studies claiming to prove GMO safety. One other thing to keep in mind: Prior to 2010, scientists were unable to conduct independent research on GM plants or seeds because of restrictive licensing practices. Many scientists also complained that, as a result, seed companies blocked the publication of any studies that showed results hostile to their business.
2. Genetically Modified Ingredients Are Carcinogenic
The claim that GMOs are linked to cancer comes from a 2012 study by Gilles-Eric Seralini. This study fed rats a diet of corn that had been genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup.
According to the study, rats fed this diet were more likely to develop tumors than others. This study was very controversial and was criticized by many other scientists for its statistical analysis, its experimental design, and even the kinds of rats that were used as test subjects; the species of rat used is highly likely to develop tumors when fed an unrestricted diet, and there were too few rats in the control group for a meaningful comparison.
Eventually, the journal that published the study retracted it, and a number of national health and regulatory agencies concluded that the study was insufficiently rigorous to justify any change in policy.
3. GMOs Cause Allergic Outbreaks
One of the risks of GE food is that it could contain genes from foods that are known allergens and that consumers may not know what they’re eating. Imagine someone with a peanut allergy going into anaphylactic shock after eating an apple that contained peanut genes in it! In fact, something like this happened with a batch of soybeans that contained protein from the Brazil nut.
Opponents of GMOs claim that events like these show how unsafe GMOs can be. Proponents, however, point out that the company discovered the allergen during the testing phase and immediately stopped production on it, which shows that the current regulations and safety procedures work.
There have been a number of studies that show that GM crops have a potentially harmful effect on the immune system. These effects could cause autoimmune disorders and make consumers much more prone to allergies than they otherwise would be. Indeed, reports show that allergic reactions to soy shot up dramatically in the UK after the introduction of a genetically modified soy bean.
4. Dependency on Corporations Is Bad for Farmers
Many GMO supporters believe that bioengineered foods are a godsend to developing countries: that farmers using transgenic seeds use less synthetic pesticides that are harmful to the environment and have higher crop yields and more nutritious foods. In other words, GM crops offer farmers in developing countries an environmentally sustainable way to improve food security.
Opponents point out that introducing GE seeds to developing countries makes local farmers dependent upon large multinational corporations like Monsanto who could push those farmers into a cycle of debt, which is bad for food security and local farmers.
5. The Practice Can Results in Frankenfoods!
Genetic engineering allows introducing animal products in plants, which could raise issues for those with dietary restrictions, like vegetarian or vegans, or those who refrain from eating certain foods for religious reasons.
6. Bioengineered Foods Are Bad for the Environment
There will always be unknown long term effects to the ecosystem and biodiversity when inducing change in the natural traits of crops through unnatural means. Many worry that the pollen of genetically modified foods could have unintended consequences for animals that interact with the crops, such as monarch butterflies. They also worry that the introduction of GMOs may be bad for the genetic diversity of certain crops, as the "superior" GM strains crowd out other ones on the market, or that genes from a genetically modified crop could pass to another organism, which raises the possibility that weeds and other invasive species could get the same resistance to pesticides and herbicide that GMOs enjoy.
7. Pesticide-Resistant GMOs Can Lead to "Super" Pests
It’s not a joke: modified genes in engineered crops that resist pesticides can transfer to insects and pests, making them pesticide resistant. These super-organisms cannot be controlled easily, which will create problems in managing their numbers and for crop production in future.
More troublingly, pests and weeds have evolved and adapted to GM crops so that now they are stronger than ever, requiring farmers to use harsher and harsher pesticides—the very problem that GM crops were supposed to solve!
8. The Effects Are Irreversible
All the disadvantages mentioned above are probably irreversible, especially the harmful effects on the environment and human health that are inevitable outcomes to the fast-paced development of biotechnology and genetic engineering. Consuming nutritious food is the best option for a healthy lifestyle that can even reverse the adverse effects of GM food. This may come from organic food as well as supreme supplements that provide quality nutrients and antioxidants.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Hans on November 11, 2019:
Useful for essay. ThX :)
mr attakora samuel on February 23, 2019:
it true GM foods are not good to our health. this article has helped me finish my assignment with ease.
Some dude who goes to bahai in eSwatini on February 03, 2019:
so where are the advantages
mr afrench on October 30, 2018:
give up ur dreams t
heelp on August 23, 2018:
this was so helpful for my assignment
apple on August 23, 2018:
Rachel on June 03, 2018:
It's useful for our class debate
Ugandan Knuckles Broda on March 31, 2018:
Broda, You do not smell like Ebola, I spit on you
Unknown on March 27, 2018:
Great information on this website. it was very useful in my inquiry project
shayla on January 28, 2018:
it is usefull for my homework
Alex Heath Wilson on January 18, 2018:
I really like this =-)
Syd McMaster on January 18, 2018:
I loves this
Nithish on December 11, 2017:
It is useful to me in my work
DEDE on December 11, 2017:
THES IS SOVERY GOOD TO HELP ME IN MY WORK
bob on December 04, 2017:
very good helped me with my work
Sedi on November 18, 2017:
Gud points but what about advantages? I need them
Curry God on September 06, 2017:
Very Good will make good curry yes,yes
Srinekef on September 06, 2017:
VEry GOod will make good curry, yes yes
ww on June 25, 2017:
So where exactly are the advantages?
a7hr4 on February 19, 2017:
this is very helpful
talia walace on December 08, 2016:
real good work it really helped me with my science project
thanks a lot for posting this
Djisei on April 18, 2016:
Aparna Ramesh on November 08, 2015:
thanks for posting this article
Veratau. wariraki on September 01, 2015:
Brilliant points discussed there ;)
Genetically modified foods may sustain food security but is it really?.When u think globally not everybody is secured with food. Even there's a great number of people feeling hungered in their own developednation yet they are called citizens ..well that's in sustained economic countries, just imagine how life is in some of the African nations.. To conclude, truly genetically modified foods do not sustain health...
Wale Cletus of Papua New Guinea... on August 26, 2015:
Genetically modified food is forcing people to die on the spot.... That's not a naturally products that will sustain our life longer... It has more bad effects of GM
Shruti Shah on August 24, 2015:
i had really given up hope of finding anything on this topic but here i am! this is SO helpful. although, you stated that it can cause cancer.i dont think that anything that may or may not be should be used for stating the disadvantages.
regardless, this is awesome. keep it up and i'll be looking out for more of your articles :)
Shobhit shukla on August 22, 2015:
it is very helpful for my debate
Shashan shukla on August 22, 2015:
very helpful for me
John on February 26, 2015:
You are using discredited information for GM foods to cause cancer. This is still unknown and no definite links have been found so stating that it 'can' is completely incorrect. You should source your material properly and read peer reviews of reports and not just blatantly believe what you read and misinform the public.
M.l on October 04, 2014:
this is all speculations and opinions. none of these tou posted has scientific concensus to suppost it. You should educate youself more.
Blank on August 25, 2014:
You do make some great points, I must admit.
But some things just don't add up or haven't been proven, for example; that Genetically Modified Foods cause cancer. Although, it's true that the long term effects have not been tested or looked out for. The testing of GMO foods has not been done enough. You make some great points, thank you for this because it really helped with my assignment.
Although I am still sitting on the fence about this subject.
caitlin on May 23, 2014:
great information for my spring homework . hehehe (; meow
caitlin on May 23, 2014:
tina on May 23, 2014:
great information for my holiday homework.
Daniel on February 27, 2014:
Interesting and unexpected :)
d on February 20, 2014:
when did u post this info?
kiobby on December 19, 2013:
wrong is wrong
Risky on December 04, 2013:
I think we are killing our selves for money and power. This is just equal to murder but this murder is approved by the authorities of a nation. Scientist must create their own seed and not to utter the seeds nature has given. people must think positive stop being greedy.
teqqqie on November 11, 2013:
thanks for the info! I am writing a paper on GM foods; very good starting point
Amamini on September 20, 2013:
great information's for my work
Thank you !!
Vijay on April 24, 2013:
It is very difficult to link GM foods with Cancer or any other ailments so the Bio tech companies get away promoting deadly stuff.Today these companies themselves have directly or indirectly promoted crop diseases, viruses etc. to promote their chemicals and products so much that there is no plant in the world that does not need pesticide / fertiliser if you want to tackle the hunger Government should de hoard and distribute, the simple Biblical truth is the more you give out the more will grow will it become a reality. For those who are having a pipe dream that they can live off their home grown garden soon these companies will come knocking at the door step for royalty or face lawsuit for the crops in your backyard may well have been contaminated.The only way is to clip their powers by saying no IP rights for food items.In the case of BT cotton it came in because it was not direct food crop but it has caused havoc and took the lives of poor farmers who paid for it with their lives-the harvest was poor, the resistant to other diseases were poor added to the fall in cotton prices.
pramodgokhale from Pune( India) on November 09, 2012:
In India we grow BT cotton and fetching high price and government is promoting these seeds.There is no forum to discuss and media is hired by companies ,then whom we trust?
GM food or similar food how to resist them. The topic is interesting. I keep on reading and tell my friends who are engaged in farming that is their livelihood.
Thank you for the hub.
Kilie Steel from Iowa on November 07, 2012:
I can't wait for the day when more foods in the supermarkets are labeled as GMO or Non-GMO! Coming from a small town, our farmer's market isn't very big nor do we have much to choose from. I would love to grow my own food someday and become more independent of GMO foods and companies like Monsanto, but for now I only have a one-bedroom apartment! What a great article!
my name is doof and you'll do what i say on November 03, 2012:
ok this was pretty helpful for my project
KellyMediaBest from Tampa, Florida on September 26, 2012:
I think if more people looking into what actually makes up the food they are eating, they would be shocked into eating more whole, clean foods. I honestly believe the reason there are so many diseases and cancer cases out there is because of the chemicals pumped into some of the most popular food products on the market. Just like people never knew about the dangers of smoking until they were demonstrated, the same can be attributed to genetically modified food.
Bill Miller on September 13, 2012:
I totally agree, we are taking y too many risks nowadays with our foods! Just go back to the good old days where they were fresh from the ground and plants!
Melis Ann from Mom On A Health Hunt on August 18, 2012:
All excellent points. I have written many hubs on the side effects of GMOs and how to avoid them. The thing I really like to tell people is that there is a difference between natural genetic modification (the kind that mother nature decides makes sense) and the kind where humans are playing with DNA.
Tibetan on May 01, 2012:
please write more about this topic.
Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 15, 2012:
Brilliant pioneerio, I actually like the new picture better anyway, far more relevant to the topic. I loved your article regardless and urge you to keep up the great writing :)
Abeer Gh (author) from UK on March 15, 2012:
Thanks mistyhorizon2003 for your comments. I changed the cauliflowers picture to something more related to GM. Thank you so much for taking the time and reading this post :)
Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 14, 2012:
I loved the topic and what you wrote, very good and important subject, but I just suggest you might want to change the photo used for this hub. The reason I suggest this is because orange or purple cauliflowers are not normally genetically modified crops, and are frequently higher in antioxidants than normally coloured ones, (this also applies to may other unusual coloured vegetables). I would hate people to be put off from buying, eating or growing such coloured vegetables because they 'assume' the odd colour means they must be genetically modified.
Otherwise a great informative hub article :) (spoken as a keen prizewinning vegetable grower myself).
RSamuel92 from Greece on March 12, 2012:
Awareness is the best thing we can do for now. Tweeted it to enlighten others! ^^
Abeer Gh (author) from UK on March 11, 2012:
Thanks a lot for for your comments and for reading this piece :). I enjoyed writing this topic as I believe the long term effects of GM are yet to be discovered, and NO; genetic engineering is NOT the answer to food starvation in developing countries, rather it is equal distirbution of resources between rich and poor countries! GM will only make rich countries grow richer and poor countries delve deeper in poverty.
Natasha from Hawaii on March 11, 2012:
Voted up and awesome!
Too bad we don't have to be notified when foods do use GMOs. Also awesome is that new, modified salmon that eats corn is just as good for you as feedlot beef. Hooray.
RSamuel92 from Greece on March 11, 2012:
Thank you for posting this! People have no idea what is on their plate and believe that if it is FDA approved everything is fine. While there are probably more adverse effects to GM foods, you managed to summarize the basic issues that directly affect us. No one cares about human health, as long as it is profitable big corporations and governments approve without thinking of the future results.
Healing Herbalist from The Hamlet of Effingham on March 11, 2012:
There are so many disadvantages, how did you ever get it down to 10. This, and many other reasons is why I grow my own food...heirloom style