Genetically modified organisms pose a series of beneficial factors, yet – at what risk? Companies like Monsanto are booming in the global market as these chemicals and modified seeds are seen as a fix-all solution for better crop production, yet studies show that their impact on the environment may be greater than some believe. Genetically modified foods have been on the market since the early 1990’s. Today most foods in the United States contain GM ingredients. GM foods helps impoverished and developing countries, are more nutritional than traditional foods, yet attribute to negative effect in biodiversity, and may cause harmful health effects. World leaders should make an effort to find a balanced medium for both organic and modified organisms.
GM foods helps impoverished and developing countries. Countries with the opportunity to grow genetically modified foods are able to feed their low-income citizens and keep them from malnutrition. The world population has topped 7 billion people and is predicted to double in the next 50 years. Ensuring an adequate food supply for this booming population is going to be a major challenge in the years to come. The food and drug administration or FDA, has approved over 40 seeds and plants for genetic modification. These genetically modified seeds are the only answer to this growing population. This means more for the common people, because when there is mass production of an object prices tend to lower. In Africa for example, the benefits outweigh the harms. Keep in mind that genetically modified crops help increase yields and reduce input costs thus, growing more food in less time, with less money, and labor. This could be a huge step towards a solution to end starvation in Africa. These foods will not only produce to be more in quantity but can also have a longer shelf life with less labor and natural materials (water, soil, and energy) to produce. These modified food crops can produce the needed better nutritional foods that African people need. It gives an increase in food security for the developing and starving Africa (IUNS).
Genetically modified foods have been engineered to become tolerant of pesticides and herbicides. This in turn creates an issue as farmers are able to spray their fields, without fear of ruining their crop. The usage of chemicals in today’s agricultural industry has allowed for the mass production of crops at a lower rate of corruption due to the absence of rodents, and insects that normally would destroy fields. The industry has multiplied its usage of pesticides over the past decade, however the past decade has also seen that bee populations have been on a rapid decline. Pollinators such as honeybees, have a much greater impact on the environment, and even world. Scientists have dubbed the phenomenon Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD,(vanEngelsdorp) and have been searching frantically for a cause. A direct link to glyphosate can be seen as a cause. The active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, (Motta) can disrupt learning behaviors in honeybees and severely impair long-term colony performance. The loss of pollinators like the honeybee will have disastrous effects on the global food supply. Pesticides can reach human consumption. A study found glyphosate in nearly 70% of rivers and streams they tested in the Midwest (Scribner). Glyphosate is a powerful pesticide. This means new bees will likely have lower overall foraging rates, which could have long-term negative consequences on colony performance. In fact, it could lead to the disappearance of the colony altogether. For humans, the pesticides can even lead to birth defects. Another study found glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Round-Up pesticide in mothers breast milk (Sustainable Pulse).
Engelsdorp, Dennis et al. “A Survey of Honey Bee Colony Losses in the U.S., Fall 2007 to Spring 2008.” Ed. Nick Gay. PLoS ONE 3.12 (2008): e4071. PMC. Web. 22 Oct. 2018.
Scribner, E.A., Battaglin, W.A., Dietze, J.E., and Thurman, E.M., 2003, Reconnaissance data for glyphosate, other selected herbicides, their degradation products, and antibiotics in 51 streams in nine Midwestern States, 2002: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-217, 101 p.
Battaglin, W.A., Thurman, E.M., Kolpin, D.W., Scribner, E.A., Sandstrom, M.W., and Kuivila, K.M., 2003, Work plan for determining the occurrence of glyphosate, its transformation product AMPA, other herbicide compounds, and antibiotics in midwestern United States streams, 2002: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-69, 18 p.
Motta, Erick V. S., et al. “Glyphosate Perturbs the Gut Microbiota of Honey Bees.” PNAS, National Academy of Sciences, 9 Oct. 2018, www.pnas.org/content/115/41/10305.
Sustainable Pulse. “World’s Number 1 Herbicide Discovered in U.S. Mothers’ Breast Milk.” Sustainable Pulse, 27 Apr. 2014, sustainablepulse.com/2014/04/06/worlds-number-1-herbicide-discovered-u-s-mothers-breast-milk/#.W83dUy-ZMUF.
Iuns. “Statement on Benefits and Risks of Genetically Modified Foods for Human Health and Nutrition · International Union of Nutritional Sciences.” International Union of Nutritional Sciences, 8 May 2012, www.iuns.org/2012/05/statement-on-benefits-and-risks-of-genetically-modified-foods-for-human-health-and-nutrition/.
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