[Note from the instructor: “With GMOs in the news, and a big topic for Hawaii especially, I have my class writing a couple of essays and research papers on whether labeling GMO products should be required. The first essay is on ‘reasons for requiring labeling of foods with GMO ingredients.’ The final submissions are students’ research papers examining what research appears to show about GMOs and proposals for labeling foods with GMO ingredients.” -Danny Wyatt]
“They got bad science down to a science,” said Jeffrey M. Smith, the director of “Genetic Roulette,” and founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology. Many Americans are uneducated about the effects genetically modified organisms have on human bodies; therefore, people cannot make well-educated choices when it comes to the type of food they consume. Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are really simply self-explanatory; it is when scientists take a specific gene trait from one organism and forcefully insert it into another, which is then altering that original organism from being normal. For instance, scientists have taken an anti-freeze gene from fish and forcefully stuck it into strawberries , so strawberries now do not freeze if the temperature drops below freezing during the growing season. Unfortunately, Americans are being deceived every single day of their lives into thinking the products they are consuming and feeding to their children are actually proven to be safe for them. People in the U.S are already at a disadvantage for just living here. According to Marty Kaplan in her article “Being American is Bad for Your Health,” America has the worst health and highest death rates compared to citizens in the other 17 wealthiest nations that make GMO labeling a policy. Therefore, everyone must stand up for what is right and help save the innocent children while parents still can. GMOs need to be labeled for more than just health concerns, but environmental dangers , and consumer rights as well.
Most important, by consuming genetically modified organisms consumers are making both themselves and their offspring vulnerable to the harmful internal health problems that come from eating these foods. Health issues are inevitable when people consume these GMO products. For example, in the video “Genetic Roulette,” Martha Grout, Medical Director of the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine says that from “1996, when GMO crops corn and soy were introduced into the American diet, there has been a serious increase in inflammation and digestive disorders.” As a result, GMOs do not stop at the stomach; they have serious side effects that are genetically passed down through generations such as “allergies, obesity, infertility, eczema, pneumonia,” and many other health problems. Consequently, when physicians recommend a non-GMO diet to their patients, they often see a significant change in their patient’s health. In addition, GMOs pose a more serious danger to children than adults. Children have also been shown to be more sensitive to GMOs and it has been documented to cause birth defects. Specifically, scientific studies show that, “Andres Carassco, who is head of the Molecular Embryology Lab at the University of Buenos Aires ties glyphosate, which is an active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, to birth defects, infertility and sperm destruction” (Huff 1). Parents need to be very careful what they are feeding their children in light of such studies.
Equally urgent are the overwhelming effects GM crops have on the environment. One of the alleged benefits GMO crops exist for is to reduce the use of herbicides. The article “Update: GMOs in Foods,” demonstrates otherwise. It states evidence shows that, “at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University,” GE crops have actually increased the amount of toxic herbicides used on the crops (Ruhs 6). For this reason, GM crops are among the biggest contributors to damaging the earth. Another serious threat GM crops pose to the environment is from the abundance of pesticides and herbicides; GM crops will inevitably destroy nature’s ecosystem. In other words, pesticides used in growing these crops will wipe out insects that are a part of a crucial role to nature’s balance. As indicated in “Update: GMOs in Foods”, bees are beneficial to the environment for pollination. What more will GE crops do to the earth?
Americans deserve the right to raise their concerns about the foods they are consuming. Therefore, foods that contain GM ingredients must be labeled. A positive aspect to labeling products that have GMOs inside them is it will give people options to choose if they want to continue to eat GMOs or not. Americans can make their own decisions rather than have someone else making it for them such as the FDA, which is the organization that is supposed to ensure food safety . In addition, the United States of America cannot say that labeling products with GMOs is unheard of because more than sixty other countries are already doing it. For example, countries like Australia, China, and the European Union have already made this policy. What is the U.S. so afraid of? Why is this country so resistant to simply adding three more letters to the ingredients list on products? What is this country’s businesses hiding from the Americans?
Overall, by continuing to consume large amounts of GMOs, Americans are literally putting their lives up for grabs. From eating products that contain these harmful ingredients, it is not only hurting the person consuming it, but also the person’s offspring as well. In addition, allowing farmers to continue to plant GMO crops is not doing anything positive for the earth’s ecosystem . To emphasize further, consumers have the right to know what they are eating. I Therefore, action must be taken to expose these huge companies such as Monsanto and the brainwashing information they are feeding to the world. People need to take a stand for what is beneficial not only to themselves, but also the entire world as a whole. As a result, consumers must fight for labeling to be required in the United States of America. Otherwise, Monsanto’s goal to eliminate all natural seeds with modified seeds will become reality. In the end, Americans are the ones who will suffer a lifetime of diseases. Another recommendation is to buy organic foods, which consist of products that are non-GMO. In addition, there is a website that will help assist people when they are shopping for food if they are interested in helping better care for their families which can be found by looking up “NonGMOShoppingGuide.”
Huff, Ethan. “GMO pesticides linked to birth defects, disruption of male hormones, cancer.” Natural News, 2011. Web. <www.naturalnews.com>.
Jamil, Kaiser. “A Solution To Hunger?” UN Chronicle 46.3/4 (2009): 70-72. Academic Search Premier. Web. 23 Mar. 2013.
“NonGMO Shopping Guide.” Institute for Responsible Technology. Institute for Responsible Technology. 2010. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. <www.nongmoshoppingguide.com>.
Ruhs, Barbara. “Update: Gmos In Foods.” Environmental Nutrition 36.2 (2013): 1-6. Academic Search Premier. Web. 23 Mar. 2013.