Genetically Modified Foods
Today we face a big debate on whether or not genetically modified foods are safe to eat. I’d like to believe genetically altered foods were for the greater good and provided an easier, cheaper way to produce healthier food, and while it does produce easier, cheaper food, that food is a concern to our health. What exactly is it that they are putting in our food to harm us? Why isn’t the FDA protecting us from these harmful chemicals and changes in our food? Is it really such a big deal? Really, it depends on who you are and if you care to take notice to the chemically altered and processed foods entering your diet. Plenty on this controversial topic is still to be further studied into, but enough has been found to make me lean towards the fact genetically modified foods aren’t safe to eat and they could lead to many health issues we see present today.
The most basic definition of GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other even other plants and animals—already doesn’t sound too appealing. What’s even scarier is essentially all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand the many herbicides farmers use and even produce its own insecticide. While that sounds great, we’re also putting those same chemicals into our bodies. Doesn’t that seem just a bit startling? Ingesting the same chemical that kills off insects and other such pests.
Another frightening study was made on rats exposed to genetically modified corn and Roundup herbicide. A French study—the most comprehensive GMO safety assessment ever conducted—was done involving 200 rats and spanned over 2 years, which was the life expectancy of the rats used in testing. They separated all of the rats into 10 groups: Three groups having their regular diet replaced with varying levels of Roundup-Ready corn that was treated with Roundup in the field; three different groups received the same diet but with untreated Roundup-Ready corn; the last three groups didn’t eat any genetically modified corn, but their drinking water had small amounts of Roundup herbicide; and the last group, the control group, ate two-thirds of standard rat-chow and one-third non-GM corn. The results were horrifying. Researchers say the results showed “severe adverse health effects, including mammary tumors and kidney and liver damage, leading to premature death” from the Roundup-Ready corn and Roundup herbicide. Almost all of the ill effects had manifested by 90 days. In each group, there were 10 males and 10 females; by the end of the study, results showed the males to have liver congestion and necrosis from 2.5 up to 5.5 times higher than the control group, and many of the females had developed large tumors. Overall 50 to 80 percent of the rats receiving GM corn and/or roundup had died prematurely compared to the 30 and 20 percent in the control group. Fact is, GMOs are scary.
Now we come to the question: Why isn’t the FDA protecting us against these harmful chemicals and substances? Ignorance. Again and again the FDA has declared that genetically engineered foods are in fact safe to the public—even in the face of disagreement from its own experts. Agency scientists have cautioned these genetically modified and chemically filled foods are risky to our health. The FDA did admit to operating under a directive “to foster” the US biotech industry and that directive advocates the premise that bioengineered foods are essentially the same as others (Druker). The scientists at work resisted this conform repeatedly warning that genetic engineering does differ from conventional practices. Another hot topic has come up, again involving the FDA and this time GMO Labels. The FDA has made the decision not to require Labeling of genetically engineered foods. This doesn’t put the many pleading families, farmers, consumer groups and green organizations at any more ease. If a company does wish to label its product as “GE-Free”, they have to go through the extensive and expensive process of having their product tested, certifying it, and then finally labeling it. If GMOs are supposedly “safe” and “harmless”, why should it matter whether a company wants to label their product or not? Just another thought to ponder over.
Finally we come to the part where we have to make our own decision. Is GMO safe? There’s not much running from it now either way, just about every food we consume has been genetically altered or processed in some sense. It’s just up to us as the consumer to decide whether or not we’re going to try to stray from the chemically-infused foods and find other resources, or are we going to just take what we are given and try not to worry so much rather or not our food will eventually kill us.
Druker, Steven. “FDA Documents Show It Ignored GMO Safety Warnings from Its Own
Scientists.” Synthesis/Regeneration Winter 2000: 31. Academic OneFile. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
Genetically Modified Crops: Hope vs. Hype. Films On Demand. Films Media Group, 1999.
Web. 16 Nov. 2014.<http://digital.films.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?aid=740&xtid=11206>.
Philpott, Tom. “Longest-running GMO study finds tumors in rats.” Mother Earth News Apr.
May 2013: 13. Academic OneFile. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
“So What Exactly is a GMO?” UWIRE Text 5 Dec. 2013: 1. Academic OneFile. Web. 17 Nov.
Technology has come a long way by aiding us with improved research, better communication and in several other ways but every good thing has its downfall and unfortunately technology has also helped us to isolate ourselves from the real world. Focusing in on technology’s effects on students, we have come to see a lot of this nowadays.
Students are assigned all kinds of work and projects in class which are to be researched for. While handheld encyclopedias and books may be useful but they are often outdated and so online encyclopedias, books, and other means of research—which are constantly being updated—have really become a necessity to our students today. The many online resources make researching a much simpler task than it used to be.
Students also benefit from the technology drastically improving and making simpler ways of communication—from calling, texting, emailing, video chatting, and just about everything else. These advances in technology have been very beneficial to students. With it right at their fingertips, students can easily get a hold of teachers almost immediately and receive help on their assignment or something they didn’t understand in class. This also goes for family, friends and even tutors, or any other person they need to get in contact with.
Even with all of the great and wonderful benefits of technology, it still holds us back in some ways. A great disadvantage to technology is the simplicity and isolation it gives us. Going home to the great distractions of the TV, phone, iPad, and other such devices, people often find themselves developed in all of it for hours at a time. Especially students who sit back and hide behind a computer screen to escape the real world—it’s really debilitated many people from the way they interact with others.
Overall technology has been a really great thing—especially to students. For one, technology is constantly updating its resources to make research so much simpler. Technology with its vast amount of ways to get in contact with someone for help, or whatever need-be, it has made communication a lot less difficult. Now of course every great thing has its pros and cons, depending on the way someone chooses to use it. Quite often technology is used as a means of distraction, especially amongst teens and students.
Sitting in my grandparent’s cozy little living room, I listen to them chatter on about the good ‘ole times and how everything is so different now. They could go on for hours at a time just talking about their everyday life. From jokes about the old telly, fresher foods, the simplicity of not worrying about playing out late at night or even locking your doors; life seemed so much simpler. I think about the things they’ve mentioned and how it differs from the life I live today.
Then−Waking up in the morning to the smell of fresh toast and eggs, father typically rushing off to work, and mother tending to her studies, it was the start of a brand new day. Looking for something to wear was simple enough. Girls wore dresses to school every day; they were not allowed to wear jeans or pants. Boys also kept it simple with long pants and their shirt tucked in. After eating and getting ready you’d still have just a bit of free-time to spare. Of course, with there being only 3 television channels to flip through in the morning, there wasn’t too much to watch. But it also wasn’t such a time-consuming task. The schools were fairly close and times were much safer and so you could walk to school and back without any fear or worry. After school, you could drop by the Dime Store and with 25 cents and buy an entire bag of candy. Movie tickets were 50 cents, so if you had saved up allowance, you could maybe catch a movie too.
Now−Waking up in the morning to grab your phone off the charger and check the latest news, the weather, or update your newsfeed, you struggle to leave the bed. Breakfast tends to be whatever you can find in the pantry or can grab on your way to work or school. A prepared and cooked breakfast tends to be on a special occasion, or weekend. Today, we have endless channels on the television to choose from, and if that isn’t already enough, we have Netflix, Redbox, online sources, and endless other ways to satisfy our entertainment needs. As for school and or work, there are plenty of means of transportation to get there and back. Unfortunately walking isn’t so much a safe thing to do anymore, and with all of the ways of transportation, it may be an inconvenience.
We have come a long way from where we were a few decades ago, with all kinds of advancement in technology and transportation and in plenty more areas. Just about everything has changed. Food. Clothing. Entertainment. The safety of the world we live in nowadays and the world we used to live in. While I do love and appreciate most of it all and how far we’ve come, sometimes I think I would like to go back to those simpler times.
When I was a child I loved watching Scooby Doo with my bowl of cereal every Saturday morning. I would always go throughout the show anticipating who the scary monster would be. Today I joke that Scooby Doo was the reason I enjoy criminal investigation shows so much. I find it fascinating when the investigators or agents can create a profile for their bad and it usually ends up being right. Just like in Scooby Doo, they would slim down the probable candidates for scary monster and sometimes they were right–and sometimes they were totally wrong, but that was sort of the fun of the show because you too could participate in figuring out their town monster. Nowadays I watch things such as Criminal Minds for the same effect, to figure out who the bad guy is. Of course it’s much darker and gruesome than Scooby Doo, seeing as Scooby Doo is a children’s show; but that’s all a part of growing up I suppose and being allowed to watch the “scarier” stuff. Though I must admit, I did recently have a Scooby Doo marathon.. so maybe I haven’t entirely finshed growing up 😉