GMOs or genetically modified organisms are foods

GMOs or genetically modified organisms are foods that have changed genetically in order to give it certain properties. They have risen to prominence over the past decade for benefits of quality control. However, the introduction of genetic modification into food sources have sparked a debate whether they are safe for human consumption. The debate about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) has been a controversial topic in recent years because of rising belief that genetically modified organisms are adverse to human health when consumed. Claims commonly used are colloquial “buzzwords” of  the anti-GMO movement, including that genetically modified organism cause autism, something also claimed by those against vaccinations. However, like the anti-vaccination movement that sources one study claiming autism is a side-effect of getting children vaccinated (“Understanding Vaccines”) , those who are opposed to GMOs commonly source only a few studies that have serious problems in the execution. On the other hand, GMOs have been intensively studied for decades and have been found to have no concrete evidence of being detrimental to human health. Forbes’ chronicles the extensive testing genetically modified organisms go through in the United States that includes assurances that the genetically modified crop has “similar levels of protein, carbohydrates, fat, amino acids, fiber and vitamins, as well as a variety of other components” (Dobert, “Think GMOs Aren’t Regulated? Think Again”) as their natural counterparts. Essentially assuring that the GMOs go through years and years of extensive testing before they are allowed in your grocery stores. Some of these tests include making sure that the modified version of the food isn’t significantly different from the original source food as to make certain that no new allergens appear. In fact some GMOs take years for the idea to make it to the field due to scientists running multiple tests over and over again.The agencies that run the tests are well known by most Americans as organizations they can trust such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),  and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA determines if the plant is safe to grow by conducting field trials again and again until they have significant data(Dobert, “Think GMOs Aren’t Regulated? Think Again”). The EPA makes sure that plants wont have a negative effect on the environment or the ecosystem they are growing in. The FDA makes sure that every item in stores are safe to eat and has the authority to recall anything that is not safe for consumption. Since the creation of the framework it has evolved over time to stay effective in assessing the safety of new GMOs (Dobert, “Think GMOs Aren’t Regulated? Think Again”).Thanks to these organizations GMOs have been eaten safely the 20 years these products have been available (Dobert, “Think GMOs Aren’t Regulated? Think Again”). A concern of the public is that GMOs can cause severe health defects, to test this theory out a group of scientists in Seoul Korea conducted experiments on rats by feeding them genetically modified potatoes(Norris, “Will GMOs Hurt My Body?”). One group of rats received the GMO potatoes and the other were fed non-GMO potatoes both groups were carefully monitored during the experiment and upon their eventual deaths had an histopathological examinations (Norris, “Will GMOs Hurt My Body?”). These examinations showed no differences between the two groups organs in addition the tests were run by other groups of scientists who fed rats GMO tomatoes and GMO sweet peppers, all tests showing the same results (Norris, “Will GMOs Hurt My Body?”). Tests have also been conducted on rats to see if eating GMOs would have an affect on their offspring. The scientists fed their rats genetically modified corn and tested the organs and toxicity levels of the rats for four generations and found no health detriments caused by the corn (Norris, “Will GMOs Hurt My Body?”). This shows that you don’t have to worry about GMOs being toxic for future generations. In the early 90s Hawaiian papaya farmers were faced with a major problem in the form of the papaya ringspot virus. This virus spread rapidly and trees infected with the virus at a young age never produce fruit and once a tree is infected it can never be cured (Gonsalves, “Papaya Ringspot Virus”). Farmers had tried quarantine, selective breeding, and crop rotation to stop the ringspot virus however none of these methods proved fruitful.  Due to the rapid spread of the ringspot virus in Puna Hawaii, Puna’s statewide production of papaya fell from 95% to under 78% (Gonsalves, “Transgenic Virus-Resistant Papaya”). With none of the containment strategies working and papaya production continuing to fall a scientist by the name of Dennis Gonsalves from Cornell University had the idea to transfer the coat protein from the harmless part of the virus strain into the papaya’s DNA to make it immune to the virus. The genetically modified papaya was resistant to the ringspot virus and between 1996 and 1997 three federal agencies approved of the papaya with the USDA reporting “no deleterious effects on plants, nontarget organisms, or the environment” (Saletan, “Unhealthy Fixation”).Years passed and no negative effects of the GE papaya could be found(Gonsalves, “Transgenic Virus-Resistant Papaya”). Despite many sources stating that GMOs are perfectly safe to eat there are some who would argue that they aren’t as safe as scientists would have you believe. One such example of this was a common belief that animals fed with GMOs grew cancerous tumors. The origin of this belief stems from a study conducted in 2012 by researchers from the University of Caen in France that claimed feeding lab rats genetically engineered corn caused them to grow tumors (Borel, “GMO Facts: 10 Common GMO Claims Debunked”). However in 2013 this study was redacted due to its faulty test methods such as the sample sizes being too small and using the wrong species of rats (“Scientists react to republished Séralini GMO maize rat study”).The study was republished again in 2014 however many scientists argue that the same problems from the first study are present in the second. David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor of the public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge, said: “The article still does not appear to have had proper statistical refereeing, and the methods and reporting are obscure. The claimed effects show no dose-response, and so the conclusions rest entirely on a comparison with ten control rats of each sex. This is inadequate.The study needs replication by a truly independent laboratory using appropriate sample sizes. I agree with the authors that this whole area would benefit from greater transparency of data and improved experimental and statistical methods.” (“Scientists react to republished Séralini GMO maize rat study”) Another fear of GMOs come from people believing that genetically modified foods are to blame for the increase in several diseases such as diabetes and autism. To see if genetically modified crops were safe for humans reports were compiled from the USA and Canada, who have offered GE crops since the 1990s, and the UK and western Europe, where GE crops are not commonly eaten(Weise, Academy of Science Finds GMOs Not Harmful to Human Health). These reports showed that these diseases have had similar growth in all countries listed proving that there is no substantial evidence linking them to GMOs (Weise, “Academy of Science Finds GMOs Not Harmful to Human Health”). Skeptics of GMOs tend to claim that GMOs lack significant safety testing, this is simply untrue. “GE products are the most researched and tested agricultural products in history”(Hall, “Yes GMOs Are Safe”) . As stated earlier there is a U.S framework for regulation that has been in place since 1986, not to mention agencies from other parts of the world who have also deemed it safe to produce GMOs.   Some critics of GMOs think that genetically changing an organism’s traits is wrong and unhealthy however if this were the case we wouldn’t see orange carrots and today’s corn wouldn’t be nearly as big (Broadwin, “Here’s what fruits and vegetables looked like before we domesticated them”). Farmers have been changing traits and DNA through selective breeding since “the dawn of agriculture” (“Labels for GMO Foods Are a Bad Idea”). Selective breeding allowed carrots to have more vitamin A which is the cause of change in color from the white or purple carrot to the orange carrot (Broadwin, “Here’s what fruits and vegetables looked like before we domesticated them”) . Corn also owes its size to selective breeding, today’s corn is 1000 times bigger than it originally was and now has more kernels than its ancestor (Broadwin, “Here’s what fruits and vegetables looked like before we domesticated them”).    With such a large amount of evidence, the general consensus among scientists is that eating genetically modified food is safe for humans. There also is not a substantial amount of credible evidence to prove that GMOs are unsafe for human consumption or that they should be banned. Works CitedAnswers, GMO. “Think GMOs Aren’t Regulated? Think Again.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 21 Dec. 2015. Web. 22 July 2017.Answers, GMO. “Yes, GMOs Are Safe (Another Major Study Confirms).” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 26 May 2016. Web. 22 July 2017.Editors, The. “Labels for GMO Foods Are a Bad Idea.” Scientific American. Web. 22 July 2017.”GMO Facts: 10 Common GMO Claims Debunked.” Popular Science. Web. 22 July 2017.Lewis, Erin Brodwin and Tanya. “Here’s What Fruits and Vegetables Looked like before We Domesticated Them.” Business Insider. Business Insider, 18 May 2016. Web. 22 July 2017.”Myth: GMOs, GM Foods Are Untested, Unsafe.” Monsanto. Web. 22 July 2017.”Papaya Ringspot Virus (P-strain).” Papaya Ringspot Virus-P – Papaya Ringspot. Web. 22 July 2017.Saletan, William. “The Misleading War on GMOs: The Food Is Safe. The Rhetoric Is Dangerous.” Slate Magazine. 15 July 2015. Web. 22 July 2017.”Scientists React to Republished Séralini GMO Maize Rat Study.” Genetic Literacy Project. 04 July 2017. Web. 22 July 2017.”Transgenic Virus-Resistant Papaya: The Hawaiian ‘Rainbow’ Was Rapidly Adopted by Farmers and Is of Major Importance in Hawaii Today.” APSnet. Web. 22 July 2017.USATODAY Elizabeth Weise. “Academies of Science Finds GMOs Not Harmful to Human Health.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network. Web. 22 July 2017.”Will GMOs Hurt My Body? The Public’s Concerns and How Scientists Have Addressed Them.” Science in the News. 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 22 July 2017.


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