GMOs

by Sadie Goodwin

What is a GMO?

GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially altered in a laboratory. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals, or even humans. They are present in many different types of food, but the most common GMOs are typically in crops or produce.

Benefits of GMOs

GMOs have many benefits, including the ability to produce more crops. Between 1996 and 2012, crop biotechnology was responsible for an additional 122 million tons of soybeans and 231 million tons of corn. GMOs also allow farmers to grow more crops using less land. This is because GMOs can alter the plants so they are able to grow in various types of soil. GMOs have made plants more resistant to weeds and other diseases. Additionally, in the last eight years, GMOs have reduced the amount of pesticides used by 8.8%. This makes the food healthier for humans and saves farmers millions of dollars each year. Recent studies have also proven that food with GMOs have better texture, flavor, and nutritional value.

Risks of GMOs

Using GMOs can have many risks to the health of people who consume them. Studies show that humans and animals who ingest GMOs have had long term health problems such as organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Since GMOs were introduced, the percentage of Americans with food allergies has gone from 7% to 13%. Additionally, once GMOs are used on a crop, it is nearly impossible to remove them which could pose a threat to future generations. GMOs can also harm the environment by reducing bio-divertisy by eliminating habitats and polluting water resources. The process of inserting these genes have also resulted in new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

Should GMOs be labeled?

In my opinion, I believe that it is important for GMOs to be labeled. Although they are beneficial for farmers, it is important for people to know what is in their food. For certain illnesses, doctors may prescribe non-GMO diets. Finding foods without GMO would be much easier if they were labeled. Many people believe that GMOs are related to serious health risks such as allergies and chronic illnesses, and try to avoid them. Additionally, some environmentalists do not consume these foods because they believe that GMOs have negative effects on ecosystems. I believe that it is necessary for foods with GMOs to be labeled in order to help those that are trying to avoid them.

Sources

Economics, PG. "GMO crops benefit environment, farmers, developing countries."
Corn and Soybean Digest. Penton Media, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
<http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/issues/
gmo-crops-benefit-environment-farmers-developing-countries>.


"10 Reasons to Avoid GMO's." Institute for Responsible Technology. Ed. Jeffrey
Smith. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
<http://www.responsibletechnology.org/10-Reasons-to-Avoid-GMOs>.