GMOs: Stamp or Skip?

Kristen Rossi 3/9/15 1A

What ARE GMOs/GMFs?

GMOs and the controversy behind them are a common topic in society, but what are they? GMO/GMFS stands for Genetically Modified Organism/Food. Dictionary.reference.com defines a genetically modified organism as, "an organism or microorganism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/genetically+modified+organism).This means that scientists take the genes of one organism and inject them into a different organism to produce a desirable quality. For example, an arctic fish's "anti-freeze" gene can be extracted and put into a tomato to prevent freezing and increase harvesting season. The debate comes down to this: should products that are genetically modified be labeled? Many people believe that GMOs are harmful and should be avoided at all costs. However, others think that they can be helpful in society.

The Benefits of GMOs

Part of the definition of GMOs is that their DNA is altered so that they exhibit a desirable trait. These desirable traits can be beneficial to both producers and consumers. One example of this is the fact that organisms that are genetically modified look and taste better than their organic counterparts. Therefore, consumers would purchase more of the GMOs and help to improve businesses and make the economy better. Additionally, GMOs require less pesticides and herbicides when they are growing. This saves the farmers money and time while also providing consumers with a healthier product. Therefore, GMOs can help society in several ways.

The Risks of GMOs

When discussing the topic of GMOs, people often talk about how they try to avoid them as much as possible. They have a good reason to do so. Genetically Modified Organisms can pose many health risks to the people who consume them and to the environment. GMOs have the ability to introduce allergens that haven't been seen before into foods. This may trigger a life-threatening reaction in some people. The reason for this is that the proteins from one organism can be transferred to another. A person who is allergic to peanuts and eats a tomato with peanut proteins in it may have a negative reaction even though the two organisms are so different. In addition, the environment is in danger with GMOs. Genetically Modified Organisms can become weeds. Weeds are a threat to the life of the plants around them. Also, GMOs are able to introduce foreign species into an environment. Thus, disrupting the delicate balance of an ecosystem. The many negative aspects of GMOs show why so many people attempt to avoid them.

Top Genetically Modified Foods

Should GMOs Be Labeled?

Due to the fact that there are many negative side effects of GMOs, I believe that it is important that they are labeled. If a food that you are bringing into your house and feeding to yourself and your family can be dangerous, you have the right to know. GMOs can cause allergic reactions, antibiotic resistance, and harm the environment by spreading toxins and upsetting the ecosystem. A large portion of the food in the markets today are genetically modified. Since they appear so often in people's lives, shouldn't GMO's be marked to at least give a warning to the consumer? Without labeling GMOs, everyone is at risk for health and environmental problems. If we are what we eat, shouldn't we know exactly what we are eating?
GMO Benefits

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The Dangers of GMOs

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