GMF’s: Helpful or Harmful?
In the 21st century we are constantly trying to improve, improvise, and make life easier. Technology advances every year and every aspect of our life has changes with it. Technology has expanded in every field imaginable, including agriculture. Genetically Modified Foods are foods produced with altered DNA. Like every issue and innovation, there is controversy and in these modern times the way we see food is changing.
Recentally in Calfornia, they tried to pass Prop 37 - "Right To Know," which is an initiative that requires food labels to indicate if they have been genetically modified. The People against Prop. 37 (from industry and agriculture), raised over $45 million against the proposition and they were ultimatly successful, for now. The Vote Yes campaign, which was largely backed by consumer groups and the organic industry, raised about $6.7 million to approve the Proposition.
“If approved, California would have been the first state to require such labeling for foods sold in the state, and would have prohibited products containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled or marketed as "natural,” said Sifferlin.
Throughout the world, random and fatal occurrences have happened where GMF’s have seriously effected someone’s health. Recently, a French study linked Monsanto GMO corn to cancer and Russia ended their importation of the crop and plan on ending all GMF’s in the future. During the French study, a group of rats fed on the corn and they all developed tumors, organ damage, and died at a younger age. In response to the incident, “Steven Salzberg wrote at Forbes that ‘the study was designed to fail’ and was flawed from methodology through analysis.” Whether or not the study was designed to fail, engineering our food can have serious health risks and consequeces.
“If there are really that many bad side effects from Genetically Modified Food, they
shouldn’t be legal. It’s crazy enough that we can’t even have them labelled,” said Junior, Jackson Herron.
Many countries have banned GMF’s altogether including Russia, France, Ireland, Japan, and Egypt. Their argument is that GMF’s could alter the environment through cross pollination and cause cancer.
A recent study by Salon newspaper concluded that “the average yield improvements for developing countries range from 16% for insect- resistant corn to 30% for insect-resistant cotton, with an 85% yield increase observed in a single study on herbicide-tolerant corn.”
In the America the fight over GMF’s is whether or not they should be labeled and in other countries the fight is over whether they should be legal or not. Whatever the case may be, one has to start somewhere and although the Prop. 37 was turned down, the need to know your food is growing and it will be harder and harder to press these issues down in the future.
Photo courtesy of: famvin.org