GMF- Genetically modified foods is one of the typical examples where signs collide with tradition and with the fear of the unknown. In fact GMF, as it is normally called, is nothing more than the development of seeds that have been manipulated from a genetical perspective to make them either more productive in terms of yield or stronger to deal with diseases or other problems that affect the development of crops in general. This is indeed a dramatic advance provided to us by signs, which will allow more people to be properly fed, and to have a faster eradication of the famines that are still present today. Scientists have been working already for centuries on how to produce stronger and better producing crops. Hybrids are undoubtly a common element in the world of living plants either by pure coincidence of nature or by the hard work of scientists who have been pursuing different alternatives for seeds, plants and trees. For example, 99% of the fruit we eat today is produced by trees that have some form of hybrid contexture which makes them much more effective in producing their respecting produce fruits and etc.
Why therefore, do we see such lively debates about GMF these days? This is mostly because of the lack of information, and maybe some imbedded interests that do not want to see such significant progress in agriculture and food production. On the other side of the equation, the argument states very firmly our lack of knowledge about the long term consequences of eating these foods produced out of genetically modified seeds in the human body. Who is right, who is wrong? We honestly do not have yet the perfect answer to this question. On one side we know that GMF resolves many of the food problems that affect less economically developed countries, and that it is also making food accessible to a much brother segment of the population at more affordable prices. On the contrary what could be the long term health consequences of eating food produced from GM seeds?
There are many theories about these, but nothing has yet been proved in terms of the actual harm, if any, that they could originate. Interesting enough is the perspective of the European Union, or EU, who has been a strong opponent to GMF. On one side is the argument of highly responsible health professionals who state that under the current scientific knowledge it is uncertain if the products originated by GMF, could in fact oppose or not a health threat to the population. Therefore until we clarify this question mark we should make sure that the population does not take the risk derived from the consumption of these products. On the other side there are critics who state that the EU want to avoid the farther growth in crops that GM seeds will lead them towards, and therefore increase the over production of certain agricultural products of crops that the EU will have to subsidize. In fact we all know that this is one of the critical Achilles’ heels, of the already huge EU agricultural budget.
Farther intriguing is the question that arises with respect to less economically developed countries which are facing significant shortages of food. Should they permit the consumption of genetically modified foods, or not? One school of thought is that doing so will allow us to avoid many news of deaths caused by hunger and therefore it will be of vast contribution to the weakest members of this society. Others argue that allowing them to do so will expose them to health risks that are yet undestined. The most intriguing part of this debate is that the big promoters of GMF are the United States of America, where they are permitted the production and consumption of these goods. It is reasonable to believe that if the USA allows the production and consumption of these products it is because they are fairly confident that as far as known, there are no significant concerns with the health related issues that are linked to GMF’s. More so, some in the USA argue that the EU, strong opponent to GMF, is basically intended to avoid the glut of crops that GMF will generate as well as the weakening position they will face in front of its most traditional food export markets in Africa and Asia.
There are fair arguments on both sides of the question and nevertheless it looks like the balance is globally tilting towards the acceptance of GMF as a healthy and efficient approach to make food available to every human on earth.
* U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Human Genome Program. “Human Genome Project Information.” Ethics. 06-09-06. MGP. 23-05-07 <http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/gmfood.shtml>.
* Wikipedia Contributors. “GMF.”. 07-06-07. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 23-05-07 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Genetically_modified_food&oldid=136513089>.
* Campbell Jonathan L. “50 harmful effects of genetically modified foods.”. 2006. CQS. 23-05-07 <http://www.cqs.com/50harm.htm>.
* Williams, Gareth/ Paul, Nick. Biology for you. -: Nelson Thrones, 2002- Page 293.
* On the 29th of May, I asked my father about any knowledge he had on GM foods and he gave me a few ideas to include in my essay. HE also found some article from newspapers that I could look at. Thanks to him I now understand how serious the issue is currently in our society. MARIO DELL’ORO
* Palmerini, Chiara. “Ogm, pericolo ridimensionato.” Panorama-Mondadori 27/1/2006: pg. 17.
* Not said. “GMF, good or bad?” The New York Times 02-07-03, World News
* David Leonhardt. “Talks Collapse on U.S. Efforts to Open Europe to Biotech Food.” The New York Times 20-06-03, World News
* -. “Assobiotec: No a geni animali in alimenti.” Corriere della Sera 11-05-07, Canale Salute
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1 -. “Nature publishing group.” gm crops: time to choose 16-10-07. Gm Foods. 24-05-07 <http://www.nature.com/nature/focus/gm/index.html>.