The development of science and technology has been hailed as one-way man has tackled problems dealing with the earth. One technology that has had an immense have an impact on on crop production has been the development of genetically modified foods. It includes the modification of the genetic makeup of an organism via the incorporation of genes from other organisms. It is intended to enhance the characteristics of specific organisms altering it to showcase certain specific traits. The subject elucidates different reactions from the different quarter in the society. On the different hand skeptic in lobby groups strongly disapprove the technology citing its capability of causing damage to the human health. The following paper seeks to lay out the different pros and cons of the genetically modified food while illustrating its impact on health economy and the environment.
Impact on the Environment
GMOs have been hailed to have greater benefits in improving and enhancing crop protection. The technology has led to the development of disease and pest resistant crops. This lowers the cost of operations in farms as plants require least or no use of the pesticides. This has further created the avenue for the production of high quality and large harvests. On the contrary, scientist cites this as one of the risks to biodiversity (De Vendômois, et al., 2010). The resistance created by these plants is toxic to non-targets organisms such as butterflies and bees which are essential for pollination. This will in the long-term have an impact on the composition of the biodiversity in locations where GMO crops are grown. The toxins released from the plants will affect the bacterial composition of the soil which are essential for the conversion of organic material to nutrients. In the long term, this will lower the quality of the soil to support any crops.
Impact on Health
Despite the GMO crops increasing the food supply necessary for human survival their intake has been criticized for having negative effects on human health. Although these crops have been lauded to help in the creation of food stability in the content emerging research suggests that these crops may have an adverse impact on the human health. The modification of the genetic makeup of these crops to make the pest and disease resistance is bound to have an impact on the individual consuming the products (Dona & Arvanitoyannis, 2009). Studies have found that consumption of GMO foods are prone to have toxic effects such as hepatic, renal and pancreatic effects. The alteration of the genetic makeup of an organism is thought to have an impact on the antibiotic resistance. Through time bacteria develop resistance against antibiotics through natural mutation. Concerns have been raised about the bacteria found in the gut of humans that it could pick the resistance gene from any GMO food consumed. This would have an adverse impact on the health of an individual in case of any bacterial infection.
Impact on the Economy
According to Brookes & Barfoot (2014), GMO foods have evolved into a large marketing just a few years of its inception. There has been an increase in production of crops which has signified a rise in the economic benefits. There has been an increase in the production levels of the maize with an addition of 230 million tonnes since the mid-1990s. There has been an estimated $ 116.6 billion for the 17 years. It continues to provide economic benefits to farmers as they can grow more crops with fewer resources due to the eliminated cost of pest and disease management.
Pesticides are the chemicals used control repel or kill the insect that may attack crops. The extensive use of pesticides infiltrates into the crops leading to accumulation of these chemicals. When the crops consume these chemicals can predispose an individual to diseases such as diabetes neurological and cancer (Dona & Arvanitoyannis, 2009). Genetically modification, however, alters the genetic makeup of crops making them resistance to pest and disease. This minimizes the chance of an attack on the crop which consequently minimizes the number of resources allocated to control pests and diseases. The GMO crops have been therefore preferred by farmers due to this resistance.
The presence or absence of allergens in GMO foods has been an issue of the contest. This an important issue since over 2% of adult and 5% of children are affected by food allergy. Allergy is known to occur when a harmless protein enters the body and causes an immune reaction in the body (Tsatsakis, et al., 2017). Proponents of the technology defend that there have been no allergens that have been directed credited to the use of GMO foods. The WHO cites that no allergic effects have been recorded to relate to GMO foods currently on the market.
Animal studies have been essential in the development of GMO technology. Animals have used as the subject matter for testing of many techniques crucial to GMO. This has raised ethical issues for the process (De Vendômois, et al., 2010). The animals are used for the introduction of the toxic substance in the environment before they are used on human beings. Monitoring of the response that animals have to research on new technologies that are aimed at improving crop and animal production.
GMO technology has raised a heated debate pitting proponent and opponents of the advancement. Pro-GMO scientist cites few impacts of the technology on the human health. They are criticized as being impartial in their conclusion to protect the industry as well as their research funding. Lobbyist argues against the technology quoting that the technology is endangering the sanctity of life and the genetic makeup (Dona & Arvanitoyannis, 2009). They have been criticized as being funded by companies who are against the GMO industry. The conflict, therefore, class of independent scientists who are not in the GMO industry to conduct independent researchers on the actual impact of the technology on human health. This will help in establishing the real truth behind the industry from outsiders. There should be an improvement in transparency about funding of the industry which will be key in establishing the advantages and disadvantages of the industry.
Bakshi, A. (2003). Potential adverse health effects of genetically modified crops. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B, 6(3), 211-225.
Brookes, G., & Barfoot, P. (2014). Economic impact of GM crops: the global income and production effects 1996–2012. GM crops & food, 5(1), 65-75.
Dona, A., & Arvanitoyannis, I. S. (2009). Health risks of genetically modified foods. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 49(2), 164-175.
De Vendômois, J. S., Cellier, D., Vélot, C., Clair, E., Mesnage, R., & Séralini, G. E. (2010). Debate on GMOs health risks after statistical findings in regulatory tests. International journal of biological sciences, 6(6), 590.
Tsatsakis, A. M., Nawaz, M. A., Kouretas, D., Balias, G., Savolainen, K., Tutelyan, V. A., … & Chung, G. (2017). Environmental impacts of genetically modified plants: A review. Environmental Research.