We all enjoy a cold glass of milk with homemade cookies, a refreshing pop on a hot summer day, and a juicy cob of corn in the summer months. But, do we ever wonder what is really in our food? Because genetically modified foods do not have to be labeled, you will likely never know if the food you are consuming is genetically modified. With genetic engineering, transferring genes from one species’ DNA to another is just like taking a page out of one book and putting it between the pages of another book. Biotech food is not the answer to global food security and should be strictly regulated and labeled because of its various detrimental effects on human health and the environment. Humans should be educated about the food they are consuming.
When genetically modified foods were first introduced approximately twenty years ago, many saw it as the answer to world hunger. People argued, “by developing pesticide and herbicide resistant crops, farmers would be able to increase their yields and decrease their costs” (Suzuki). Instead of answering the world’s increasing hunger problem, bugs and weeds have grown to become resistant to the widespread applications of chemicals. It is a cycle: “more spraying means more cost to farmers, more damage to the environment, and more health concerns.”
Absent mandatory labeling, consumers wouldn’t reasonably assume the food they are eating is genetically engineered, like soybeans engineered not to die when sprayed with weed killer or a salmon that has anti-freeze DNA from an arctic eel. Unlike the strict safety evaluations required for the approval of new drugs, the safety of genetically engineered foods for human consumption is not adequately tested. There have been NO long-term studies conducted on the safety of genetically engineered foods on humans. The issue of GM food safety was first discussed at a meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and biotech representatives in 1990. The "substantial equivalence" concept was proposed in early 1996. The adoption of the concept of substantial equivalence allowed permission to market and sell new foods without any safety or toxicology tests as long as they were not too different in chemical composition to foods already on the market. To decide if a modified product is substantially equivalent, the product is tested by the manufacturer for unexpected changes in a limited set of variables such as toxins, nutrients or allergens that are known to be present in the unmodified food. If these tests show no significant difference between the modified and unmodified products, then no further food safety testing is required.
Environmental problems are well documented, including biodiversity loss, a massive increase in pesticide use, the emergence of super weeds and super bugs that are threatening millions of acres of farmland, and the unintentional contamination of organic and non-GMO crops. Firstly, toxicity is a huge issue surrounding chemical pesticides and herbicides, used commonly with GMOs, in addition to the toxicity inherent to these plants. GMOs may be toxic to non-target organisms, bees and butterflies being the most talked-about examples currently. Bees are hugely important in the pollination of many food crops, but are unfortunately extremely