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The Intoduction of
Transcript of The Intoduction of
Repercussions of Ignoring the Issue:
1. Cross-Contamination or Pollen drifting
Modified and non-modified crops are unable to co-exist due to natural forces such as wind, insects, floods, animals, and human error (Smith, J.).
Cross-pollination can cause super weeds, and permanently change or modify organic and non-GMO crops permanently which can then lead to the destruction or possible extinction of naturally grown plants (Smith, J.).
Cross-contamination can also lead to unforeseen costs in recalls of crops as well as hurt our economy. "Contamination of US corn by StarLink in 2000 halted exports and cost about $1 billion in recalls, lost markets, price reductions, clean up, and lawsuits. Five years later, US corn exports again suffered additional losses" (Freese).
What is genetically modified food?
Activist groups claim that sufficient long term impacts are not adequately understood.
"A great deal of research, of varying quality, has been conducted since 1999 in the arena of genetic modification of food. However, many unanswered questions remain, particularly with regard to the potential long-tern impact of GM foods on human health and on the environment" (British Medical Association 3)
Areas that warrant more research are:
Potential for new allergies
Differing effects on those of poor nutritional status
Environmental impact(British Medical Association 3-4)
Why is it a Threat?
"Antibiotic Resistance Genes: A Threat?" Antibiotic Resistance Genes: A Threat? Geo Compass, 12 Dec. 2006. Web. 26 Mar. 2014. http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/safety/human_health/46.antibiotic_resistance_genes_threat.html
Bakshi, Anita. "POTENTIAL ADVERSE HEALTH EFFECTS OF GENETICALLY." Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B.6 (2003): 211-35. Www.globalseminarhealth.wdfiles.com. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. http://globalseminarhealth.wdfiles.com/local--files/nutrition/Bakshi.pdf
"Biotechnology Regulatory Services." Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. United States Department of Agriculture, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wps/portal/aphis/ourfocus/biotechnology
"Biotechnology: Genetically Engineered Plants for Food & Feed." US Food and Drug Administration. N.p., 31 May 2013. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/Biotechnology/default.htm
"Genetically Engineered Foods Food Safety of Genetically Engineered Crops." Http://biomedsci.cornell.edu. Media and Technology Services at Cornell University, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. http://biomedsci.cornell.edu/graduate_school/shared/gradschool/Outreach/Genetically_Modified_Organisms/fs10_foodsafety.pdf
"Genetically Modified Foods and Health: A Second Interim Statement." British Medical Association. British Medical Association Science and Education Department, Mar. 2004. Web. 03 Apr. 2014. http://www.argenbio.org/adc/uploads/pdf/bma.pdf
"Genetically Modified Foods." Public Health Association of Australia. Public Health Association of Australia, 2007. Web. 04 Apr. 2014. http://www.phaa.net.au%2Fdocuments%2Fpolicy%2FGMFood.PDF
"GMO: Harmful Effects." GMO: Harmful Effects. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. http://enhs.umn.edu/current/5103/gm/harmful.html
"Health Risks of GMOs." Natural Revolution. Natural Revolution, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. http://naturalrevolution.org/gmo-resources/health-risks-of-gmos/
N. Passeri et al. " Influence Of Farming Technique On Cropland: A New Approach For The Ecological Footprint." Ecological Indicators 29.(2013): 1-5. Academic Search Elite. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.
Johnson, Nathanael. "Ben Adler." Grist. Wordpress.com, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. http://grist.org/food/roundup-ready-aim-spray-how-gm-crops-lead-to-herbicide-addiction/
Lessick, Mira, et al. "Genetically Modified Foods: A Taste Of The Future." MEDSURG Nursing 11.5 (2002): 242. Academic Search Elite. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.
MATHER, ROBIN. "The Threats From Genetically Modified Foods." Mother Earth News 251, 2012: 42-51. Academic Search Elite. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
Marden, Emily. Risk and Regulation: U.S. Regulatory Policy on Genetically Modified Food and Agriculture, 44 B.C.L. Rev. 733 (2003)
Mulcahy, Mark. "GMOs: We Can't Ignore the Consequences." Cooperative Grocer Network. Triangle Park Creative, Apr. 2004. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. http://www.cooperativegrocer.coop/articles/2004-03-16/gmos-we-can%E2%80%99t-ignore-consequences
Pinholster, Ginger. "AAAS Board of Directors: Legally Mandating GM Food Labels Could "Mislead and Falsely Alarm Consumers"" American Association for the Advancement of Science. N.p., 25 Oct. 2012. Web. 04 Apr. 2014. http://www.aaas.org/news/aaas-board-directors-legally-mandating-gm-food-labels-could-%E2%80%9Cmislead-and-falsely-alarm
Qaim, Matin, and Shahzad Kouser. "Genetically Modified Crops And Food Security." Plos ONE 8.6 (2013): 1-7. Academic Search Elite. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
RADAS, SONJA, MARIO F. TEISL, and BRIAN ROE. "An Open Mind Wants More: Opinion Strength And The Desire For Genetically Modified Food Labeling Policy." Journal Of Consumer Affairs 42.3 (2008): 335-361. Academic Search Elite. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.
Ruhs, Barbara. "Update: Gmos In Foods." Environmental Nutrition 36.2 (2013): 1-6. Academic Search Elite. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
Smith, Jeffery M. "Institute for Responsible Technology." - Most Offspring Died When Mother Rats Ate Genetically Engineered Soy. The Institute for Responsible Technology, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/health-risks/articles-about-risks-by-jeffrey-smith/Most-Offspring-Died-When-Mother-Rats-Ate-Genetically-Engineered-Soy-October-2005#_edn7
SMITH, MELISSA. "Food Matters. Go Non-GMO." Better Nutrition 76.1 (2014): 64. Academic Search Elite. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
Verma, Charu, Surabhi Nanda, R.K. Singh, R.B. Singh, and Sanjay Mishra. "Join Academia.edu & Share Your Research with the World." A Review on Impacts of Genetically Modified Food on Human Health. The Open Nutraceuticals Journal, Apr. 2011. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. http://www.academia.edu/542384/A_Review_on_Impacts_of_Genetically_Modified_Food_on_Human_Health
Whitman, Deborah B. "Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?" Proquest. N.p., Apr. 2000. Web. 04 Apr. 2014. <http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php>
2. Round-Up Resistance
GMO crops like soybeans, cotton, and corn are modified to resist the weed killer Round-Up, which uses a chemical called Glyphosate. Glyphosate is found in our water which is regularly tested by the EPA who states that small amounts of Glyphosate are safe to ingest. Because of cross-contamination and cross-pollination humans and animals could unknowingly be ingesting higher levels of Glyphosate (Johnson).
Terminator seeds are second generation seeds derived from modified Round-Up resistant crops that are sterile. These seeds are thought to no longer contain Glyphosate and reduce risk of contamination to other crops and plants. This causes the repurchasing of modified Round-Up resistant seeds from companies like Monsanto (Johnson).
The use of genetically modified Round-Up resistant seeds does not produce more crops than those grown naturally. Corporations, like Monsanto are producing modified versions of seeds to create revenue growth by polluting our environment (Johnson).
3. Drug Resistant Disease and Bacteria
Antibiotic resistant genes are used to create and produce genetically modified plants ("GMO: Harmful").
It is possible for the antibiotic gene to come in contact with the natural bacteria that live within a human and animal's stomach. This can lead humans and animals to become infected with bacteria or other diseases that are immune to antibiotics ("GMO: Harmful").
No regulation has been put into place to stop the use of resistant genes in the creation process of genetically modified plants. The FDA has encouraged biotechnology companies to begin phasing out the use of resistant genes to use as markers in the creation of these plants ("GMO: Harmful").
4. Soybeans: Allergies and Loss of Beneficial Health Protectors
After genetically modified soy was marketed in the UK soy allergies rose 50%. Some tests also show that some humans are allergic to modified soy and not natural soy. Cooked GM soy contains 7 times more of the protein allergen than natural soy ("Health Risks").
Genetically modified soy has lower levels of isoflavones, a natural cancer fighting ingredient in soy, than naturally produced soybeans ("GMO: Harmful").
GM foods are harmful to human health and the environment
To impose regulations that require labels to inform consumers that the food has been genetically modified or used GM ingredients.
Use ecological farming which keeps food production in the hands of farmers and away from corporate control.
2.6 billion small scale farmers already produce the majority of the world's food.
Ecological farming is proven to be more profitable for farmers in studies from Europe, Africa, Asia, and America. (
Legislation could pass a law requiring genetically modified food proprietors to quarantine GM crops, though this would be difficult to do.
The main concerns people have with genetically modified foods are the effects they will have on people who consume them and the environments they exist in. Possible solutions to these concerns are:
The mass production of GM foods could be restricted until more research has been done on the effects.
To prevent the mixing of natural and GM crops routine testing of crops could be established to ensure there is no cross contamination. However, this testing would be expensive and cause food costs to rise.
There is the potential for super weeds to be created through transfer of genetic alterations that promote resistance to herbicide. A canadian farmer observed random plants developing resistance traits that GM crops had been given.(British Medical Association - 4)
“Critics of GM food warn that there is insufficient evidence that these foods are safe for humans and the environment. In particular, the methods used to insert genes into plants could disrupt the functioning of the plant, resulting in changed production of existing substances and the production of completely novel toxic or allergenic substances.” (Public Health Association of Australia)
Most GM crops are modified to either produce their own herbicides, or their own insecticides. This yields more plentiful crops but the drawback is that you cannot wash off these chemicals when it is time to harvest, sell and eat the foods. Normally before harvest farmers would stop spraying herbicide/pesticide on the crops for a specified period of time. With the GM crops this is not possible. (Public Health Association of Australia)
GM foods are not harmful to human health and the environment
"Foods containing ingredients from genetically modified (GM) crops pose no greater risk than the same foods made from crops modified by conventional plant breeding techniques, the AAAS Board of Directors has concluded. Legally mandating labels on GM foods could therefore “mislead and falsely alarm consumers” (Pinholster).
“The Royal Society review concluded that the risks to human health associated with the use of specific viral DNA sequences in GM plants are negligible…” (Pinholster).
“Proponents of GM food argue that gene technology has the potential to be useful in enhancing the quality, safety, nutritional value and variety of food available for human consumption and in increasing the efficiency of food production and processing." (Public Health Assosciation of Australia)
Permanence in the environment
Regardless of if GM crops are good or bad for humans, once we start using them they will be a permanent part of our environment due to wind dispersal.
Since we design these GM crops to be more productive, it stands to reason that in some cases they will take a strong hold in whatever habitat they invade. Poses problems we learned about with alien species.
Any other negatives we may not know about will become long term problems because once you open this can of worms there can be no closing of it.
Impact on farmers
GM crops are protected by patents on the genes inserted into them. Wherever these genes land, they belong to the patent owner or license-holder. If the patented genes enter a farmer’s crop via pollen, seeds spilled from passing trucks or contaminated seed stocks, the farmer must still pay royalties for possessing the genes. Farmers signing Technology User Agreements to officially use these crops sign away many rights and attain liabilities. Farmers are also prevented from saving seeds from their crop. A high proportion of GM crops are dependent on the application of expensive herbicides to work effectively. There are therefore significant concerns about the effect of these crops on farmers’ livelihoods, particularly in developing countries. (Public Health Association of Australia)
Impact on feeding the world
“There should be an end to assumptions that GM crops are necessary to feed the starving, given the complex food distribution, social and economic factors that lie behind such hunger.”(Pinholster)
Poorer countries are not starving because there is not enough food in the world. They are starving because of a complex array of economical and political factors that prevent the food from getting there. Therefore, increasing food production is not necessarily the solution, and likely would have little impact on their situation.
Organic Consumers Association
Union of Concerned Scientists
Activism groups against the use of GM foods are:
There is concern as to whether the modifications done to seeds make them unsafe for consumption.
The main chemical used in the weed repellent Round-Up is glyphosate. The GM seeds are modified to be "Round-Up Ready" or Round-Up resistant. This allows farmers to spray the chemical on all of their crops to kill weeds that grow in between. (Mather 45)
Studies have shown that the consumption of glyphosate can have adverse effects.
“Eight international scientists cited study after study linking glyphosate to birth defects in birds and amphibians, as well as to cancer, endocrine disruption, damage to DNA, and reproductive and developmental damage in mammals, even at very low doses” (Mather 45).
A possible link between health problems like cancer, allergies, and digestive disorders and GMOs is being investigated (Ruhs 6).
“Evidence indicates that [genetically engineered] crops have increased the use of harmful herbicides, thus creating a net overall negative impact on the environment” (Ruhs 6)
Increased amounts of Round-Up have been found in run off due to its increased use and careless spraying by farmers.
Damage to both animals and soil has been noticed (Mather 45).
There is also the threat of creating new, stronger weeds.
Insecticides used on resistant plants may kill beneficial insects.
Crop diversity has decreased because farmers must use the GM seeds to remain competitive. (Ruhs 6).
The use of herbicides and insecticides “can significantly increase the severity of various plant diseases, impair plant defense to pathogens and disease, and immobilize soil and plant nutrients, rendering them unavailable for plant use” (Mather 45).
Possibility of seed monopolies
Monsanto is in control of the majority of GM seeds. (Mather 51)
They control prices of seeds which have been rising.
“The price of a bag of soybean seed, for example, has roughly quadrupled since Monsanto began licensing genes" (Mather 51).
Farmer's face extremely strict regulations regarding the use of Monsanto's seeds.
"Large agrochemical corporations such as Monsanto, are buying up seeds, genetically modifying them, patenting them so farmers can't save and exchange the seeds as they have done throughout history, and then suing farmers who have patented GM crops accidentally growing in their fields because of wind drift." (Smith 64).
The wealth of independent farmer's is decreasing as seed producers increase their profits.
In the United States any genetically modified food must meet the criteria specified by the USDA, FDA, and APHIS
The United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) is responsible for making sure that the modified plants will not become weeds("Biotechnology Regulatory")
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service(APHIS) exists within the USDAs("Biotechnology Regulatory")
Using the Biotechnology Quality Management System(BQMS) APHIS is able to ensure that all research and organizations are in compliance with their regulations("Biotechnology Regulatory")
Specifically they monitor the importation, interstate movement and environmental release of GMO ("Biotechnology Regulatory").
The Food and Drug Administration(FDA) is responsible for judging whether a food is fit for human consumption ("Biotechnology: Genetically Engineered").
What is a stakeholder?
A stakeholder is either a person who owns a significant share of a company, or a person or group not owning shares in an enterprise but affected by or having an interest in its operations, such as the employees, customers, local community(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/stakeholder?s=t)
The first type of stakeholder most people probably think about are the companies that research and develop products involving genetic modifications
These companies and organizations work year round to increase their capacity to profit from GMOs
We feel that the most important stakeholder is actually ourselves.
Like with most controversial topics the citizens are the ones who have to live and bare the burden of consequence from mistakes and oversights.
If things go well, that is great, but it is our job to make sure that we know what is happening with the things we eat as well as the environments we inhabit.
What is the purpose of Genetically Modified food?
It is an attempt to provide the world with "physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food" (Qaim).
Overall increasing food demand, climate change, and land and water scarcity are issue which make feeding the growing world population difficult. GM technology is said to help increase crop yields and decrease food costs (Qaim).
Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs or GM foods
They are plants that have been engineered in laboratories to enhance certain traits.
For example, plants can be modified to be herbicide or insecticide resistant or nutritionally enhanced (Whitman).
Plant geneticists can isolate a specific gene such as the one responsible for drought tolerance and insert that gene into a different plant (Whitman).
Soybeans, corn, cotton, and canola are common GM plants that are grown to be used in production of other foods (Qaim).
There are over 40 approved commercialized varieties of GM plants (Whitman).