During centuries, human societies depended on traditional breeding techniques, which allowed them to supply members with adequate nutrition. Such methods as hybridization and plant grafting had satisfied people for thousands of years as they improved all characteristics of products (“Genetically Modified Food”). However, with the progress made in all spheres, humanity could not leave the food industry without breakthrough innovations. First, it invented mutagenesis, the method that achieved unprecedented outcomes using using radiation and chemicals, and then, still more threatening for the mere survival of human species, transgenesis.
The latter demonstrates advances in the development of human technology on an unbelievable scale; this technique implies that people have found ways to impact the plants and animals at the genetic level. GM organism is genetically modified, which means that its genetic code is changed by purposeful intrusion (“Genetically Modified Food”). Such techniques as gene splicing or transgenic technology create the combinations of genes, so nature has nothing to do with the received plants, animals, or other organisms created in this fashion (Kromka). Although there are several advantages of growing genetically modified foods, disadvantages of this type of products are more crucial as they directly threaten the state of human health.
At first casual glance, genetic engineering can seem just a breakthrough in the food technology that provides a perfect solution to the problem of human nutrition across the globe. Thus, as DNA of any plant or animal can be modified according to need, it opens limitless possibilities of growing any food in any amounts (“Genetically Modified Food”). Besides, the traits reached in GM products overpass any other breeding technique because transformed genes protect plants from pests and viruses reducing the need for toxic pesticides and herbicides. This implies protection of water, soil, and the surrounding environment, in general, from ecologically harmful influences (Qaim; “Genetically Modified Food”). One more benefit of genetic engineering is the possibility to biofortify crops with the vitamins of the most pressing need. There is an experience of biofortification of rice, corn, sorghum, cassava, and banana plants with vital minerals and vitamins, which produces a favorable impact on human health (Qaim). At the same time, health risks of GM products are even more prominent than advantages. Furthermore, they have not been studied thoroughly yet, so people are under threat that is not known, as the devil without a face. Comparatively new method of breeding can be a time bomb whose explosion should be prevented to preserve the human species.
Fortunately, modern society is becoming more and more health conscious, and GM foods do not belong to the options of the healthiest standards. There has been a growing tendency in American society, in particular, to produce and consume increasing amounts of “natural” labeled products. For illustration, in 2013, consumers spent more than $40 billion purposefully seeking foods with “natural” labels (Kromka). Logic and sound judgment prompt obvious conclusion that GM products, or GMOs, are the direct opposite of this tendency of modern people to make food choices in favor of organic and natural options. There is a grave barrier, though, in the contemporary society not only in the US but also in Europe and throughout the world to the decision of many people to stick to naturally-based nutrition.
Specifically, the commercial gain has motivated state economies to approve GM plants for general use. Thus, US has allowed ten GM crops and 120 GM seeds for use in the food industry and commercial contexts, including 90% of all corn, cotton, and soybeans (“Genetically Modified Food”). Furthermore, the so-called processed foods, which are so popular in American society, contain ingredients produced based on genetic modification technology. Correct estimations are showing that 75% of processed foods contain GM ingredients (“Genetically Modified Food”). This situation reveals the severity of the problem of healthy nutrition. In spite of people’s increasing tendency to choose healthy food options, the spread of GMO is catastrophic and impossible to control. It reminds of a disaster that has reached the point where it has gone completely out of control. Therefore, the methods of dealing with GM production should correspondingly be radical, up to complete banning of this method of growing.
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