Genetically Modified Organisms

Category: Term Paper

Today’s technological advancement, especially in genetic engineering, agriculture, and science has changed the way of growing and making food. The scientists have not fully studied the consequences of the use of genetically modified organisms yet. Thus, they try to assess and mitigate the risks of consuming this type of food.

There is a controversy over the benefits and drawbacks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Their genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering, optimizing agriculture or promoting the production of fertilizing substances (Phillips, 2008). The most widespread organisms subjected to such alterations are agricultural plants, farm animals and soil bacteria.

The advantages of genetic engineering in agriculture are the increased crops yields, cheaper food production, less need for the usage of pesticides, enhanced quality of the products and higher food security (Phillips, 2008). Scientific studies prove that these alterations are carried out to produce nonprotein and nonindustrial products. They also state that animals are genetically modified to increase their disease resistance (Phillips, 2008). Moreover, scientists’ researches show that GMOs may be used as clean fuel and even vaccine producers.

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However, it is important to understand that not all GMOs are the same and not all of them are safe. The products that people consume contain ingredients that manufacturers “generally recognize as safe” (Waltz, 2015). However, they do not even consult the Food and Drug Administration. The federal law allows the producers to self-regulate the ingredients of the products. Some of the manufacturers take advantage of such regulations and eventually their food may present a public health hazard (Waltz, 2015). Alteration of the natural state of products may not only put people at risk, but also cause imbalance of ecology. Today, the European Union does not support American decisions on producing genetically modified products. Thus, it is evident that GMOs will never be globally acceptable (Seeds of change, 2015).

The manufacturers of GMOs often misinform their customers and this requires additional measures to prevent risks and gain control. Producers deceive consumers by putting fake labels on the products, making people believe they are safe, promising people that the food is organic, natural, and even gluten-free. In order to change this state of affairs, scientists claim that expert appraisal gives people the real knowledge about the value of the products (Devos, et. al., 2014). The approval of products by the Food and Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization can change public perception of GMOs and assure people of their safety.

Nevertheless, there are still a lot of people who do not trust GMOs, even with the safety testing, because of the religious or ethical beliefs (Phillips, 2008). There are constant debates over the right to intrude into nature with foreign matter. People suggest that inserting plant genes into animals even for their own good is immoral. These people want all products to be labeled in order to know what to purchase. They are afraid to confuse the goods and pick a GMO product instead of a non-GMO one (Phillips, 2008).

Undoubtedly, there should be governmental regulations of genetic engineering in place. The Food and Drug Administration works closely with Congress, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other governing bodies to set food-labeling standards. The FDA together with the government can make huge changes in food consumption. There are two types of GMO regulations: process-based and product-based (Araki & Ishii, 2015). Even though the former is stricter than the latter one, they are both significant. The government should regulate the detailed procedure based on scientific assessment of GMO risks to human health. It should also evaluate the risks of GMO based on the final product (Araki & Ishii, 2015).

If the government of the United States interferes with the process of GMO regulation, it will create only positive effects. Business companies will label their products in an appropriate way, and the scientists will create GMOs according to specific standards. If people knew that the government regulates the production of genetically modified organisms, they would be more confident about what they consume.