Genetically Modified Food

GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS 5

GeneticallyModified Food

GeneticallyModified Food

Overviewof the Topic

GMfoods have the potential to mitigate problems such as food shortagesthat have affected the world for decades. Nonetheless, the criticismsthat have been raised about GM foods are valid and incisive researchis the best answer to the skepticisms that exist. As much there arebenefits, consumers have the right to understand know what they eat. Labeling provides the opportunity for consumers to make informeddecisions.

ResearchQuestion

Isthere empirical research proves that the benefits of mass productionoutweigh the potential risks that scientists have raised about theconsumption of GMOs?

or the Major issues

GMfoods are increasingly penetrating modern foods market because theyhave economic benefits not present in conventional foods. However,there are concerns about GM foods. Firstly, the separation ofgenetically modified and non-genetically modified foodsisa contentious issue because consumers should have the discretion ofchoice (Fresco,2001). Secondly, ethical aspects of producing GM foods continue tocause concerns because consumers may not view genetic engineering asan enhancement of the natural evolutionary process. Thirdly, theSafety assessment and labeling requirementsforGMO foods cause concerns. In fact, many consumers can pay for theincentive to differentiate between GM foods and non-GM foods.

WorkingThesis

GMfoods have a lot of benefits to the populace, but not without thepotential risks associated with alteration of the genome.Comprehensive tests and labeling are essential in guiding publicchoice regarding GM food rather than leave the decision to anuninformed public.

BasicOutline of the Supporting arguments

Point#1: The increasing world’s population poses a food adequacychallenge where the production should be incremental through anincrease crop yields and intensities.

  • Genetic engineering has the potential to increase crop yields and crop intensities. The area under genetically modified crops increased from 1.6 million hectares in 1996 to 134 million hectares in 2009. The tremendous growth is not possible for non-genetically modified foods.

  • GM crops can help farmers improve yields through yield stabilization and productivity increases because they have a stronger resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.

  • There are vivid examples of GM crops transforming the lives of poor households. The Bt Cotton in India, which is a GM crop, increased in yields almost 60 percent over conventional cotton. The result was an increase in the demand for harvest laborers. Since harvesting is mainly done by women hence, increasing the overall revenue for women in India.

Point#2:GM foods add value across the system from the crop to farmer,consumer by improving the quality as well as the quantity of food,and enhancing the sustainability of production systems because theyrequire fewer inputs than organic foods.

  • Some GM foods resist herbicides applied to destroy weeds

  • Some GM foods can grow in deprived lands that organic crops cannot grow hence, increasing the area of arable land.

Counter-argument

Thesame way genetic engineers have worked hard to improve foodproduction is the same way they should use scientific evidence todebunk some of the following issues that are responsible for theskepticism:

  • GM foods should be assessed in a manner not different from foods produced through other means.

  • People who have food shortages may not have a choice over what they do not have in the first place.

  • The future of GM foods depends on the ability to reduce their price relative to non-GM foods. Hence, the emphasis on the indifference between GM and non-GM foods is unlikely to influence consumers to buy more GM foods.

  • Consumers are always willing to pay for the incentive to differentiate between GM and non-GM foods. Thus, producers of GM foods should label the products so that consumers have a choice.

References

Fresco,L. (2001).Genetically modified crops. Spotlight: Issues in WorldAgriculture. FAO, Rome.