The Pros Of Genetically Modified Foods Argumentative Essays Example

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Arguably, the best option for feeding the burgeoning global population remains genetically modified (GM) food because of their pest resistant, disease resistant, and cold tolerant plant characteristics providing a proactive means for feeding the six billion and growing numbers of people worldwide. Pragmatically, taking this view on the argument according to Bharathan, Chandrashekaran, May, and Bryant (2002) who explain, "Projections for population growth and food production suggest that food production has to increase at an average of 1.5% per year to postpone a major food crisis until after 2030" add to the critical issue of assuaging world hunger. Developing countries thus, take on the burden of these productions. The food surpluses of developed nations today does not assure it can or will have any benefit to those nations with starving people as populations increase (p. 181).
Swaminathn (1997), Wambugu (1998), and the Nutfield Council on Bioethics (1999) argued "that GM technology certainly has a role to play in less-developed countries (as cited by ((Bharathan, Chandrashekaran, May, & Bryant, 2002, p. 181)." Food made better because of altered DNA seeds making them resistant to disease, growing bigger, and larger crops drives the pro argument of this controversial global issue.
At the same time, the main arguments against GM foods provide the other side of the issue as, "Much public debate has arisen concerning the safety of such products and indeed the need for genetically modified foodstuffs in the well-stocked larders of the Western World according to Tuohy, Rowland, and Rumsby (2002, p. 181)." Therefore, understanding the facts underpins the purpose of the argument presented here; focusing on the data establishing the realities of the continued development of GM food further establishes the credibility of this move to feed the global community.
Pro Argument
Among the most common of the GM, foods grown are cotton, soybeans, cotton, maize (corn), and rapeseed oil and remain ingredients in even more common foods. Sweeteners in food derived from GM foods including field corn as well as corn syrup substitute cane sugar in products such as snack foods, sodas, as well as breakfast cereals. High contents of protein found in soybeans provide good things for the human body to the extent baby foods contain this genetically changed product. Numerous kinds of animal feed contain GM food sources such as canola oils and cottonseed (, 2011).
GM Food is Not a New Thing
Stewart (2004) reports the United States growing GM plants since 1996 for American consumption, "with no corresponding ecological ill effects." In fact, according to Stewart, arguments aside about irresponsible scientific dallying with nature, "One would be hard pressed to find a reputable practicing scientist predicting an ecological disaster for a realistic deployment of a transgenic crop (p. 41)." explain as much as 60 to 60 percent the foods on American grocery shelves derives from GM ingredients (2011).
Tuohy, Rowland, and Rumsby (2002) explain in the 21st century, supermarket shelves globally now carry some of the first GM food products now available. Growing confidence among consumers confidence in both the safety and view of GM technology meeting the world hunger needs, the global community can look to the scientific ability applying genetically engineered processes to other products as well. The role of GM food production generates broadening of this scientific technology to other product use (p. 181).
This prospect for GM engineering applied to other products also offers genuine benefits to the consumer in not only safer, but also more wholesome foods. Verrips and vand en Berg (1996) explain how "the development of 'functional' foods may well play an important role in human health and disease prevention, consumer acceptance and demand for such products may grow (as cited by Tuohy et al., 2002, p. 181)."
Safety Monitoring
Phillips explains how advances in scientific applications in the field of genetic engineering allow precision for controlling the genetic alterations of plants (and animals). "Crop plants, farm animals, and soil bacteria are some of the more prominent examples of organisms that have been subject to genetic engineering." Consequently, agricultural benefits of GM reveal reduction in food and drug production costs, better food quality within its nutritional make up, larger yield and security of crops, reducing the need for pesticide use, and of course, the medical benefits connected to the growing global population (2008)
Phillips also advises the benefits of GM products reveal advances in developing crops maturing faster as well as tolerating boron, aluminum, salt, frost, drought, as well as the other environmental stressors. In turn, this allows plants ability to flourish in adverse conditions formerly impossible. Other applications of GM with food types such as salmon produce larger, faster maturing crops (2008) According to the United States Department of Energy (2007), Mad cow resistant cattle are another of the advances through application of GM processes (as cited by Phillips, 2008).
Science takes GM food product safety as part of the process. In doing so they agree testing the parent, second, and third generation of GM food crops allows monitoring at the molecular level for proteins toxicity harmful to humans as well as the nutrients, allergens, and anti-nutrients (Martens, 2000, p. 14). Noteborn, Peijnenburg, and Zeleny (2002) explain that safety monitoring data collation requires directing the assessment align with the kind of genetic modifications connected to a related consequences of the GM process. Thus, identifying any unintended effects of GM plants take place on a case-by-case procedure. "The application of innovations in molecular genetics research will help to define the conditions under which the new food products can be marketed." Noteborn et al (2002) advise, "The present approach has generated a sound scientific basis for the evaluation of the potential of unintended effects in GM crops and derived food products." Results of this safety procedure provide opportunity assisting legislators as well as regulators monitoring for any necessary improvement in applying safety regulations (p. 89).
Noteborn et al (2002) explain:
The (safety test) results may assist regulators and legislators to test and, if necessary, to improve the applicable regulations. Moreover, the technologies described and the results obtained may serve as a general framework for the risk assessment of GM crop plants, and may contribute to a better understanding by the public of recombinant DNA techniques in plant breeding and their implications. (p. 89).
Consequently, Noteborn et al., (2002) conclude the safety testing of GM plant products focus using comparative analysis of critical aspects of the DNA procedure looking at the damaging proteins connection with toxicological profiles provides the necessary safety measures. The focus looks at the GM plant such as tomatoes that humans and animals consume and compare its DNA with the traditional counterpart. "The choice of comparators and of external parameters to support a claim that a GM crop plant presents no unintended effects compared with its traditional counterpart should be based on sound scientific judgment for the crop mean value (p. 89)."
This explanation for monitoring the safety of GM foods and products adds to the body of established benefits of this scientific miracle. Making DNA based better food production, safer growing techniques no longer requiring toxically dangerous pesticides, or disease resistant food seed, further solidifies the pro position for using GM foods and products. Genetically modified plants' ability to withstand lack of water compared to the traditional and organically grown crops alone makes a pragmatic case for the continued use and development of the process. The U.S. government is behind the research and raising crops for larger food harvests assisting the starving global community in the nations' without the resources, economics, and wherewithal for producing traditional food crops (WebMD., 2011).
Opposing Views
Tuohy, Rowland, and Rumsby (2002) explain, "However, because genetic engineering offers such technical advantages to the food industry in the mass production of cheap processed food of predictable consistency and quality, there will be increased commercial pressure to broaden the range of genetically modified foodstuffs available in the marketplace (p. 181)." This adds to the numbers who do not want or trust GM foods and products. Altering nature continues holding numbers in the global community in agreement that GM food is a bad thing. In particular, with over 50 percent of America's foodstuff on grocery shelves containing GM foods, the prudent question remains asking if the benefits of GM plants outweigh any unidentified safety issues (WebMD, 2011).
WebMD further explains in particular, the European Union (EU) continues its claim GM altered foods are not safe because the long-term effects of eating and using such foods and products remain unknown. This fact makes it logical to worry about not only peoples' health but also, the effect on the environment. Adding to the EU disdain for GM foods and products is their contention these benefit only the biotech companies who make exorbitant amounts of money pushing proactive government to change from organic to GM foods in the attempt to ward off the lack of food supplies projected. Further concerns, according to the EU are that scientists admit GM altered foods have limitations for the number of reseeding before the nutritional value become less. Finally, the EU looks at the potential ecological risk that "super weeds" develop, become out of control, and kill food plants (2011).
Weasel (2009) advises how Monsanto in 2004 decided dropping its GM wheat varieties under the pressure of not only farmers, but also mega-consumers like the McDonald's Corporation refusing selling GM designed potato French fries showing the Bt toxin. "The August 2008 announcement that Monsanto planned to divest its rBST operation showed that consumers could turn the tide against a major corporate player (p. 198)." This example remains one of the passionate examples of the consumer wariness but also the farming industry from the trenches of growing America's food. The fact the courts oblige these types of lawsuits reveals a fundamental consideration of the validity let alone legal justification of such actions.
After the 2008 decision, according to Weasel (2008) Oregon's Willamette Valley planting of GM sugar beet seeds announcement (this region supplies 90 percent of America's beet seeds) a lawsuit ensued. This resulted in a coalition of environmentalists and organic seed growers filing in the same "Northern California U.S. District Court" who had issued the "injunction blocking the sale of Roundup Ready alfalfa seeds just a year before." This reveals the ongoing issue against GM crops as a "tug-of-war trajectory between the development of new GM crops and consumer and legal challenges to their use" that "is likely to continue to dog the future expansion of GM crops (199)."
Weasel further explains:
Economically profitable quick fixes and panacean sound bites may benefit big business, but will do little to improve the lives of the majority of those who go to sleep hungry each night One might hope that new tactics will be developed that use such laboratory tools to fine-tune and evaluate the efficacy of methods truly intended, from start to finish, to address the real-life food struggles that lie at the intersection of food, politics, and technology. It is here at this most critical of crossroads encouraging us to learn from the grass-roots level of those living such stories and to pledge not to let politics and power stand in the way of solutions that utilize scientific knowledge and technologies in their most altruistic manner possible. (p. 200-201),
As posited in the introduction of this argument, the best option for feeding the burgeoning global population remains genetically modified (GM) food because of their pest resistant, disease resistant, and cold tolerant plant characteristics providing a proactive means for feeding the six billion and growing numbers of people worldwide. Logically, as pointed out by Tuohy et al. (2002) the continued rigorous assessment of GM foods and products frame winning consumer confidence (p. 110). On the issue of consumer demands for labeling, Degnan (2007) explains the FDA position laid in reasoning the bulk of "information concerning biotechnology-derived status of a food or food ingredient is not material" thus reflecting "the agency’s scientific judgment as to the safety of the technology (p. 29)."
Based on the "case-by-case decisions as to what information is material" the FDA, according to Degnan (2007) looks at the insignificant and trivial facts concerning product content in its labeling standards. The consumer desire to know does not prove a legitimate demand in this issue. "In the context of food biotechnology, it thus seems that to establish materiality, at least two questions must be answered" that include GM related information about the materials used such as gluten. Failure in providing this type of information "could fundamentally mislead a consumer about the basic attributes of a food. Finally, Deagan (2007) asks, "What is so different about a genetically engineered food that will render the omission of information about it materially misleading to the consumer (p. 29)?"
The success of some of the court injunctions and lawsuits in isolated incidences by consumer and grower coalition in both Oregon and California only reveal the democratic process at work and not necessarily the fundamental "good" of the process in solving the existing and future numbers of starving human beings globally. Until there is concrete evidence of the bad things about GM, food and products the pros certainly outweigh the negatives. Clearly, at this stage of the long history of using GM foods, products, and even medicines containing genetically engineered components makes the most sense in this argument.
Bharathan, G., Chandrashekaran, S., May, T., & Bryant, J. (2002). 11: Crop Biotechnology and Developing Countries. In J. Bryant, L. B. La Velle, & J. Searle (Eds.), Bioethics for Scientists (pp. 171-198). Chichester, England: Wiley
Degnan, F. H. (2007). 3: Biotechnology and the Food Label. In P. Weirich (Ed.), Labeling Genetically Modified Food: The Philosophical and Legal Debate (pp. 17-31). New York: Oxford University Press.
Martens, M.A. (2000). Safety Evaluation of Genetically Modified Foods. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health. 73 Supl S14-8. Retrieved from
Phillips, T. (2008) Genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Transgenic crops and recombinant DNA technology. Nature Education 1(1) Retrieved from
Stewart, C. N., Jr. (2004). Genetically Modified Planet: Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Plants. New York: Oxford University Press
Tuohy, K. M., Rowland, I. R., & Rumsby, P. C. (2002). Chapter 6: Biosafety of Marker Genes. In K. T. Atherton (Ed.), Genetically Modified Crops: Assessing Safety (pp. 110-129). London: Taylor & Francis.
Weasel, L. H. (2009). Food Fray: Inside the Controversy over Genetically Modified Food. New York: AMACOM (2011) Are Biofoods Safe to Eat? Retrieved from

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