The Issues Surrounding The Consumption of Genetically Modified Foods

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1604 words

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Why is it that Genetically Modified Foods are grabbing recent headlines and vilified by many? Most people are already aware of organic foods, even if they don't understand how they are different. However, this new craze is all about the recent engineering and production of genetically modified or engineered foods (G.M.O. or G.E.), and the implications that come along with them. A genetically engineered food is a product that has had its DNA artificially altered in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria, in order to produce foreign compounds in that food. The correct scientific term is “transgenics” and this type of alteration is not found in nature, it is experimental. Recent F.D.A. and U.S.D.A. regulations have been passed that say some of the G.M.O. and G.E. foods, in fact, meet safety regulations. However, this is a very controversial issue in America today and not everyone is accepting those claims, especially since the amount in food was once limited. G.M.O. “foods” are linked to an increase in allergies, tumor growth, decreasing crop yields, and are harmful to us all across the board. The people of America should be warned that their access to the knowledge regarding these harmful products being in their food is no longer a requirement by the government, but a privilege, and is slowly diminishing.

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The fact that “G.M.O.'s have not been proven safe and the long-term health risks on humans of genetically modified foods have not been adequately investigated” (Gillam) should spark a little interest in all of us. It definitely sparked interest in me. Three years ago I learned about what G.M.O.s are and how they impact our environment, but what really struck me most about the topic is that there are only inconclusive tests to show the long-term consequences of consuming these kinds of food products. Since G.M.O.s were introduced into the commercial food supply in 1996, it is impossible for tests to show that G.M.O.s really have no impact on our health. As a consumer, that really upset me because I really don’t know that the food I am feeding my body will have harmful effects. I never want to lose the availability to know what is in the food I put in my body, and I think most people can agree. A current study taken in 2012 by CBS/NYT found that 89% of Americans are cautious to apprehensions related to G.M.O. foods and want them to be labeled, so why have we yet to see regulations for them to be labeled?

With the recent increase in genetically engineered foods, we will be eating more G.E.'s than ever. “There has been cross-breeding of natural crops and species with those that have been genetically engineered. Cross-breeding is guaranteed with alfalfa and very likely with corn. When ethanol corn cross-pollinates feed corn, the results degrade the feed corn. When G.E. alfalfa cross-pollinates organic alfalfa, that alfalfa is no longer organic” (Bittman). What Americans, and people all over the world are starting to realize, is the high saturation of G.M.O. in the food industry. This brings us to one of the most concerning arguments, that “The organic dairy industry is going to suffer immediate and frightening losses when G.E. alfalfa is widely grown, since many dairy cows eat dried alfalfa (hay), and the contamination of organic alfalfa means the milk of animals fed with that hay can no longer be called organic.” Soon, a majority of the earth’s animals will be raised on this feed, which makes it almost impossible to find anything G.M.O.- free. Likewise, “when feed corn is contaminated by G.E. ethanol corn, the products produced from it won’t be organic” (Bittman). At the current rate we see G.M.O.'s being incorporated into our world’s food supply, they are going to be unavoidable, particularly since the government has stopped enforcing the requirement that any organic food with five percent or more G.M.O. in it must be labeled so. If that just applies for organic food, what about the food that isn't organic? “The F.D.A. and the U.S.D.A. is not requiring any of these products or foods containing them to be labeled as genetically engineered because they don't want to 'suggest or imply' that these foods are 'different'”(Bittman). The U.S.D.A. joins the F.D.A. in not seeing genetically engineered foods as materially different, but on the other hand, it limits the amount found in organic foods. Even the most recent bill proposed to the Vermont Senate last week states: “that foods made with genetically engineered crops "potentially pose risks to health, safety, agriculture, and the environment" and should be labeled” (Gillam). The government is not doing everything in its power to protect the health of its citizens, but rather providing us with biased tests and information.

“Last October, a group of 93 international scientists issued a statement saying there was a lack of empirical and scientific evidence to support what they said were false claims the biotech industry was making about a "consensus" on safety. The group said there needed to be more independent research as studies showing safety tend to be funded and backed by the biotech industry” (Gillam). This shows that the testing being provided and relied on to assure that the safety of G.M.O. and G.E. food is safe, are from the companies that make the G.E. products. So, validity and credibility of the health reports of these goods are majorly questioned. “A majority of our food already contains G.M.O.’s, and there’s little reason to think more isn’t on the way. It seems our 'regulators' are using us and the environment as guinea pigs, rather than demanding conclusive tests. And without labeling, we have no say in the matter whatsoever” (Bittman). Europe's food has to be labeled if it contains .9% or more G.M.O. and “In the absence of strong health and safety data, many national governments across the world have taken steps to minimize the presence of G.E. food within their borders. Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and Luxembourg have enacted bans on the cultivation and import of G.E. products, and nearly 50 nations worldwide require that all G.E. foods be labeled as such” (Dahl).

The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of G.M.O.s. Even though the government is claiming these are safe, we are smart enough to look at scientific evidence for ourselves from credible sources, and make our own decision whether or not these foods are good for our health. For example, “the milk from GM bovine growth hormone treated cows, that the F.D.A. had declared safe to drink, has more of the hormone I.G.F-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)?which is linked to cancer” (APHANA). By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. This is how allergies are formed to different foods. As the gene pools continuously get more and more contaminated with other kinds of DNA, our bodies react differently, often times in an allergic reaction. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a G.M. plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

If society acts now, there is still hope for the future food supply. The first step is to stop supporting companies that use G.M.O. in their products by just simply not buying the products. This is anything containing corn, soy, aspartame, papaya, canola oil, dairy, rice, cottonseed oil, peas, and alfalfa that are not labeled G.M.O. free. Write to these companies or call them, let them know exactly why their product no longer meets the standards upheld in America. This nation deserves better. Along with that, submitting a bill to the state that proposes that all food sold in the state must be labeled if it contains G.M.O. is great starting place. It will create a base formation group for protesting against what is being hidden from us as consumers, and show that we care about our health and what is in our food.

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America needs to stand up and declare that G.M.O. foods be labeled so. Who wants to eat food that has been altered in a lab with a bunch of gross bacteria? Not very many people, and now that the government is allowing companies to sneak harmful products into “healthy” foods, there is a definite want for it to be labeled. According to, 75 percent of processed foods on the shelves of America contain G.M.O. This is a strong point, and the blame is put on the agencies we are supposed to be able to trust in our country. The controversy over the difference between 100% organic food, and G.M.O. or G.E. foods makes consumers feel unsure of these products, as well as the government. The areas to look for further research on how to prevent and stop the mass producing of G.M.O. include the, or, where they even supply personalized shopping guides to help you and your family get wholesome, quality, non-GMO foods. America has standards to uphold, and by federal agencies not enforcing the standards the American people are asking for puts our nation’s health at risk. Americans can't trust the government to regulate the food industry, and it simply comes down to that. We the people need to act now, support or join groups that are actively fighting against the government for our rights. We need to demand conclusive tests, we need to demand clarity in the food industry, and we need to demand the labeling of G.M.O. products and by-products for the health and safety of the future generations.

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The Issues Surrounding the Consumption of Genetically Modified Foods. (2018, October 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 2, 2023, from
“The Issues Surrounding the Consumption of Genetically Modified Foods.” GradesFixer, 16 Oct. 2018,
The Issues Surrounding the Consumption of Genetically Modified Foods. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 2 Oct. 2023].
The Issues Surrounding the Consumption of Genetically Modified Foods [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Oct 16 [cited 2023 Oct 2]. Available from:
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