Genetically Modified Organisms: The Future or the Fast Track to the Past

Food food food food food FOOD. Food is everywhere. It’s inescapable. It’s vital for life. It makes up a hefty portion of any agrarian economy. For some people, food is everything. Unfortunately for others, it’s merely a dream. It’s clear to see that food is an incredibly important aspect of life on Earth.

What happens when food and science mix? Genetically modified organisms!

The phrase “genetically modified organism” carries some weight to it. Genetically modified foods are going to make someone bleed their insides out their ears, or grow extra limbs. They will however grow more efficiently and have higher yields. Of course there are negative side effects all around , but genetically modified crops have been found to pose little risk to both health and environment.

Problems begin to arise when people are left uninformed about the food they choose to put into their bodies. This can easily be alleviated by labeling whether or not a food has been genetically modified. Food manufacturers have always been able to label their own food according to its origin, but a very unfortunate number choose not to. As of 2014, neither the United States or Canada have laws that require the mandatory labeling of whether a food has been genetically modified or not. On the other hand, products can be labeled with a USDA Organic Seal that notifies consumers that a product comes from a place where all USDA regulations are followed. Compare this to the 64 other countries that have created laws pertaining to mandatory labeling. What’s the hold up?

Both Colorado and Oregon had GMO labeling related bills on their ballots this year, but neither one succeeded in passing. This is substantial progress as the US is to the point where it’s starting to circulate in the states’ ballots. It’s only a matter of time until more headway is made at a federal level.

This still doesn’t answer the question; why’s it taking so long?

Rich people love money.

Following the same path as quite a few hot topics in society today, the primary constraint for the prevention of labeling GMOs is rich people whose only desire is to acquire more money. Since 2010, Monsanto has spent $23,423,000 on lobbying, which most notably went to issues like: agriculture, taxes, copyrights, and chemical industry. It’s not just Monsanto funneling money intro congress though; they are joined by companies like Bayer, DuPont, and Syngenta. All 4 contribute a great deal of money through lobbying, and have a choke hold on the seed industry. It’s these corporations that continue to spend money on making sure that the corporations don’t have to cover up as thoroughly.

What is there to cover up though? Well, there have been no studies that document the true long term effects that the consumption of genetically modified organisms has had on humans. There is still much to be discovered about all aspects of genetically modifying food. Only time will tell the ultimate future of genetically modified organisms, but expect them to stick around for quite some time longer.

Everybody loves Neil deGrasse Tyson so here’s a video with his thoughts on genetically modified organisms:

PSA:

Works Cited

grist (grist). “In Oregon, GMO labeling lost by 800 votes. Now it’s getting a recount .” 29 Nov. 2014, 9:03 a.m. Tweet.

Karembu, Margaret. “The problem with the arguments against GM crops.” SciDevNet. SciDevNet, 6 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

“Monsanto Co.” OpenSecrets.org. Open Secrets. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

P. Byrne, D. Pendell, & G. Graff. “Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods.” Colorado State University Extension. Colorado State University. 25 Nov. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

Tantan Tailgatos. “Neil deGrasse Tyson – Responds to GMO Food Critics.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 1 Aug. 2014. Web. 30 Nov 2014.

USDA. “The Organic Seal.” Image. USDA. USDA. 2002. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

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