Will GM foods make us more healty or lead to unforseen problems? 


8% of children and 2% of adults currently have allergies to traditional foods. With GM foods, we are introducing new genes into the food supply that code for proteins never consumed by humans. While many GM foods will be safe, we cannot say with 100% certainty that these new proteins will not cause adverse reactions.


GMO’s are science driven, and are based on three decades of research. No new technology can be deemed 100% safe, but the risks can be minimized through testing, and no food product has ever been as extensively as GM foods. When unmodified foods and transgenic foods have been compared, they have been found to be chemically identical molecule by molecule. This is called substantial equivalence. Furthermore, new proteins in GM foods have been fed to mice in concentrations 1000 times larger than what humans would ingest. Scientists also recreate the conditions of the human gut and time how long these new proteins take to break down. The longer it takes, the higher the probability for an allergic reaction to develop. To be approved, a GM food must pass all these tests.


Because of substantial equivalence, GM foods have been distributed throughout the food supply. How can we know that someone’s illness is caused by a transgenic food if they are not separated from unmodified foods? For example, people with peanut allergies can avoid any food containing nuts, but cannot avoid a GM food with a gene from a nut. About 10 years ago, a GM soybean was manufactured with a gene from the Brazil-nut. Had someone with a nut allergy ingested this soybean, they could have experienced an adverse reaction which could not be traced to their allergy. Fortunately, this error was caught and research regarding this GM soybean was halted. Another incident that illustrates the potential harm of transgenic foods is the story of STARLINK corn. STARLINK, which was engineered by Aventis, is identical to regular corn except for the fact that is produces the toxin Cry9C. Although Cry9C was determined to be a potential allergen, Aventis was convinced of its safety and sold STARLINK to farmers to be used as animal feed. The toxin found its way into the food supply and was immediately banned by the FDA. By the time it had been discovered, STARLINK had been found in Japan, Korea the UK, Denmark, and the US.


GMO’s have been in our food supply for a decade, and have not caused so much as a headache. Furthermore, all of our foods are already genetically modified. Take the apple; you can over ten different kinds of apples at a grocery store. These differences have surfaced as a result of cross breeding and other conventional methods similar to genetic engineering.


Yet there is one huge difference between traditional methods of cross breeding and genetic modification. Classical breeders can only cross related plants and animals, but genetic engineering can move genes between different life forms. And since it is extremely precise, scientists can bypass biological barriers.  

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