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Genetically Modified Food

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GeneticallyModified Food

Geneticmodification of food is one of the modern technologies that haveplayed a key role in enhancing human life, in spite of the fact thatit is quite controversial. It involves the alteration of the genomeof an animal or a plant with the objective of inducing it with somedesirable features (Klumper 2). Some of the key characteristics thatare targeted by scientists include the level of productivity, abilityto tolerate certain climatic conditions, and resist diseases as wellas pests. The aim of inducing these characteristics is to increasethe ability of the modern society to address emerging challenges,such as an increase in food insecurity and climate change. In thispaper, the topic of genetically modified foods will be discussed. Thepaper will focus on the key benefits of this technology to differentstakeholders and arguments raised against its use.

Benefitsof

Thereare three major parties that benefit the most from foods that aremodified genetically. The first group is comprised of the consumers,who find the opportunity to access cheap products. It helps farmersharvest more from the same piece of land, which enables them to selltheir produce at lower prices and still make substantial returns.This benefit is transferred to consumers. For an instant, one studyindicated that the application of the GMO technology in production ofsoya beans and corn resulted in a decrease in their price in themarket by 6-7 % (American Farm Bureau 1). In addition, the GMOtechnology allows consumers to access food products with nutrientsthat are difficult to find in conventional crops or plants. For aninstant this technology has made it possible to induce vitamin A intoordinary rice (AFB 2). This has enabled the stakeholders to addressthe issue of malnutrition in areas where rice is consumed as thestaple food.

Thesecond group of the stakeholders that benefits from the GMOtechnology is comprised of farmers. Farmers benefit from thistechnology in two ways. First, the technology leads to a significantincrease in the level of crop as well as animal productivity, whichhelp farmers earn more money. This theory of the economic benefits ofthe GMO technology has been confirmed by studies showing that farmerswho adopted the GMO technology in the U.S. increase their financialgains by $ 116.6 billion between 1996 and 2012 (AFB 2). Thesefinancial benefits were attributed to an increase in the productivityof individual crops and animals, coupled with a decrease in the costof production. The decrease in the overall cost of production ismainly realized when farmers plant crops or rear animals that areresistant to diseases since their protection requires less chemicals.Secondly, the technology enables farmers to harvest equal or morequantities from the same pieces of land.

Third,food products obtained through the GMO technology make a significantcontribution towards the national GDP of the countries in whichfarmers have adopted it. Farmers who use this modern innovation areable to produce more, increase domestic supply of food, and exportthe surplus. The exports allow the country to earn foreign currencythat goes a long way in enhancing the national economy. For example,one research shows that the production of foods that are geneticallymodified contributes about $ 76 billion to the U.S. GDP annually (AFB3).

Argumentsagainst the s

Oneof the key factors that have decelerated the production of food thatare modified genetically is the allegations about their negativeimpacts on human health. Some researchers have identified that theprocess of modifying foods genetically increases their ability totransfer certain proteins across species (Office of the AuditorGeneral of Canada 1). This implies that crop or animal proteins couldbe introduced into the genome of the people who consume the GOMs. Thealteration of the human genome has been associated with the risk ofthe development of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer andgenetic disorders. Crops and animals that have been modifiedgenetically can also produce novel toxins that can harm consumers.

Thesecond concern that has been raised by the stakeholders regarding thefood products that have been modified genetically is their negativeimpact on the environment and the ecosystem in general. A studyconducted using animal subjects indicated that potatoes whose genomehas been modified have the capacity to destroy the gastro intestinaltract of rats that consume them, leading to their death (OAGC 1).This research finding suggests that the world’s reliance on foodsthat have been modified will result in a serious disruption of theecosystem through the extinction of some animals as well as plants.

Conclusion

Theincrease in the supply of food products that have been modifiedgenetically in the market has been controversial for many years. Theissue has attracted many stakeholders who provide opposing viewsregarding the benefits or the negative effects of consuming thesefoods. There is sufficient empirical data showing that these foodshelp consumers get more nutrients and access cheap products. However,the allegations that the increase in demand for the geneticallymodified products can affect the ecosystem, human health, and theenvironment negatively should not be ignored.

WorksCited

AmericanFarm Bureau. Biotechgrassroots toolkit.Washington, DC: American Farm Bureau, 2016. Print.

Klumper,W. and Qaim, M. “A meta-analysis of the impacts of geneticallymodified crops. PlosOne9.11. (2014): 1-7. Print.

Officeof the Auditor General of Canada. Federallaws, regulations, and policies on genetically modified organisms(GMO).Ontario: Office of the Auditor General of Canada, 2016. Web.