3rd-Essay.docx

squeegovernorBiotechnology

Dec 3, 2012 (4 years and 4 months ago)

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Kim
1


Kun Ho Kim

Essay3
-
Argument

Is Genetically Modified Food harmful for Humans?

Outline (Plan C)

I. Introductory Paragraph

II. Background Paragraph

III. Counter
-
argument #1+Pro:

GM food s
aves the poor from the hunger (n
ot
really helpful, lack of financial
situation is the main reason)

IV. Counter
-
argument #2+Pro
:

It is e
asier for people to cure through eating the
vaccine food (potential for

causing health issues
-
allergy,
unknown
impacts on

human health)

V. Counter
-
argument #3+Pro:

S
tronger pesticide
k
ill
s

harm
ful Insects (a
lso kill
beneficial insects, threatens biodiversity on the Earth)

VI. Conclusion
:

P
eople should take attention on what GM food is and how it
affects to people; the
role of government is necessary




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2


Is Genetically Modified Food harmful
for Humans?

These days, we are living in technology age
with
many scientifi
c innovations. Since
Industrial revolution, we could freely handle the sophisticated machines such as
automobiles

and use various natural energy sources such as sun, or wind to develop our life.
As
many things have been changed by mechanical industry, food industry also has grown
thanks to the development of science. Food is
, for sure, required

factor because it make
s
huge amounts of energy for human survival. Today, many people argue about genetically
modified food which is made by gene crossing. According to Lynne Brown

(2003)
,
many
people do not know the exact effect of GM food: “
who has been involved in surveys of

public attitudes toward GM foods, 25 percent of the American public thinks genetically
engineered foods are fine, 25 percent is against them and 50 percent is undecided
” (p. 103)
.
There are many people who hold a middle ground opinion or have doubts. Alth
ough GM
food can solve the social problems of malnutrition in the world, cure people through less
cost by providing the food in which vaccines are input, and produce herbicide
-
resistant
food for famers, I believe that GM food has also many risks and causin
g many problems
because GM food
has the potential for increasing economic gab in society, threatens
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human’s health by inadequate scientific knowledge, and causes disorder in biodiversity by
killing non
-
target organisms, not only harmful but beneficial.


T
he term “GM food” is commonly used to mention new types of food using biology
techniques different from existing food. GM food is defined as

food in which the genetic
material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally


(WHO, 2001). Since it
was
introduced on the commercial scene in the early 1990s, genetically altered organisms have
been released all over the world. The food is
even
available on the international market
today and it becomes more prevalent in the United States. Some people des
ire to raise the
rate of production of the
crops to solve the social issues by producing enhanced nutritional,
therapeutic, and insect damage
-

resistant food. However, Richard Lewontin (
2000
), a
Harvard geneticist, said in New York Times that “we have such

a miserably poor
misunderstanding of how the organism develops from its DNA that I would be surprised if
we do not get one rude shock after another” (p.
1
). Even though we are not aware of what
happens, we will face very dangerous situations
in the future

because of artificial food
which is created against natural law. Although many people are not interested in whether
consumption of GM food should be allowed or not, we need to participate in discussing to
save ourselves in ordinary life.

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Many people claim that GM food with enhanced quality of nutrition can not only
solve the social problem of malnutrition but also save the poor from hunger and painful
starvation through artificial mass production. Moreover,
t
he introduction of GM food
prov
ides enormous opportunities for the poor to get higher quality crops with better
nutrition.

However, I believe that the social issues cannot be
settled

through GM Food.
According to Peter Rosset

(1999), the author of New York Times
,

Feeding the world is
n
ot a matter of producing food because enough is available to provide 4.3 pounds to every
person every day

.

Simply
,

they do not have the chance to obtain the food because of pitiful
financial situation. Nevertheless, there is enough food for everyone; the
poor do not have
ability to buy it.
Koushik
Seetharaman

(2005) answers the suspicious question that
“a
vailability is not the same as accessibility
.”

In reality, “Approximately 40,000 people die
each day because of illnesses related to malnutrition, and hal
f of those people are children.
Some 800 million people go to bed hungry each day, and it is not because there’s not
enough food
-
it is because of politics and distribution issues”

(Krista Weidner, 2003). In my
opinion, the reasons of hunger are mainly not
related to food. In case of North Korea, there
are many people that are in need of food supply. Although China and South Korea came
together to donate 1 million tons of food aid to North Korea each year, the nations in North
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Korea are still suffering starv
ation. In other words, we need to consider all variety of
factors including politics, economics, and culture, not just sociality in that they exacerbate
the hungers by further increasing inequality.

Those who have a favorable attitude to GM food insist th
at it will be easier for
people to cure through eating the food in which vaccines are input. The idea is undoubtedly
incredible and innovative. People might pay less cost than before and the method is just
eating the food instead of injecting painful shots
. If, however, it causes other diseases
related to gene’s problems, the situation will be
very
serious. As I explained above, GM
food is made by exchanging the genetic material. In short,
the invisible phenomenon

might
affect human health risks directly, n
ot curing people’s health.

It is always possible that

someone will become allergic to GM food


(WHO, 2001).

One o
f the health issues surrounding
GM food is the potential for allergic reactions through
consumption of certain protein. In the mid 1990’s,
people were seized with allergic to new
GM soybean which is spliced into Brazil nuts. Researchers hypothesized that the seeds
would have increased levels of the specific amino acid. Eventually the tests showed that a
person who is allergic to Brazil nuts i
s allergic to the new type of GM soybean. Therefore,
they concluded that protein is likely to be an allergen because food contains p
rotein from a
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gene derived from
allergenic food. Because allergic reactions happen when the immune
systems overreact to spec
ific proteins, GM food has the possibilities to cause life
-
threatening diseases to susceptible individuals.

The other issue is unknown effects on human health. There is a growing concern
that exchanging genes in
to

food might have negative
ly

unexpected imp
acts on human
health. Because gene is a very delicate and hard field to study, scientists have not
conquered

the gene. Denise Caruso, a publisher of The New York Times, says that “the
genome is enormously complex, and the only thing we can say about it wit
h certainty is
how much more we have left to learn.” This is the reason that the increase in chronic illness
with unknown etiologies will be linked to genetic biotechnology. The disease by gene
transfer is fearful. We have no recognition to
un
anticipated e
ffects on human
that
“in case
of GM foods and crops, an unknown level of risk is posited to an unknown number of
people as the mechanisms involved are still so little understand (Public Health and the
Precautionary Principle, 2000). There is true uncertain
ty about unknown events. Without
sufficient experience, it is hard to provide exact information about harm. Because genome
problem occurs invisibly inside human body, it is harder for scientists to recognize the
symptoms of the drawbacks of gene transfer a
nd to cure the problem when it passes
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through many generations. Unlike environmental problems, gene problems cannot be cured
once the gene is infected with a negative ingredient.

Some people
who have

positive mind in encouraging GM food argue that fa
r
mers
will prefer to use well
-
endured seeds against noxious insects such as rice insects or plant
lice. In fact, fa
r
mers’ efforts in raising crops cannot be successful when unexpected insects
ruin the crops all the year. Fa
r
mers might hope to grow the geneticall
y modified seeds to
avoid the worst situation; not harvesting any crops because of insects’ damage. However,
using GM seeds against insects
brings

up more dangerous situation in
form

of
environmental hazards in that only GM crops are protected from using p
esticide.
Peter
Rosset (1996) describes precondition of GM food that
“The new genetically altered seeds
require high quality soil, large investments in new machinery, and increased use of
chemicals” (
p. 3)
. Nevertheless the chemical pesticide does not kill

GM crops, it obviously
re
move other beneficial insects.
A study reported in 1997 indicates that honeybees are
harmed by feeding on protein found in GM canola flowers. Their death rate was increased
up to 40% when people use
Bt cotton, a naturally occurrin
g pesticide bacterium. Insects
are the most important organic tools to raise the crops. Agricultural affairs can hardly be a
success without them. In addition, resistance of harmful insects will be increased to oppose
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the

enhanced pesticide.
Robert G. Bel
linger

(1996)
, a researcher at Clemson University
presented that

it is easy to see how resistance can develop so quickly in so many pest
species
.”

According to his article, organisms that cause malaria have become resistant to
drugs used to treat the dise
ase in human. Also the corn earworm, attacking many
agricultural crops worldwide contain
ing corn, tomatoes and
peanuts, is

resistant to
pesticides. In this case, scientists
strive

to develop stronger pesticide to kill the harmful
insects, and the death of non
-
target profitable organisms on farming will be increased. In
other words, this repeating situation related to toxic chemicals will lead to unbalanced
environment

in the future
.



In conclusion, I would like to sum up the opposing argument: genetically modified
foods have the ultimate goal for solving hunger and malnutrition problems in the world,
helping famers to fight harmful insects, and accessing medical treatments. How
eve
r, there
are many challenges; the disabilities of the poor to buy own food,
impacts on death of non
-
target organisms, and uncertain health risks by imprudent gene transfer. GM foods seem
very helpful, but
drawback in use of GM food are

unexpectedly dangero
us to people.
To
end up the debate related to GM foods, the role of the government is desperately required.
Governments around the world constantly regulate to monitor various effects of GM foods.
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In the United States, the attitude is ambiguous because thr
ee different government agencies;
EPA
1
, USDA
2
, and FDA
3
, have different view of GM food. The EPA is responsible for
regulating substances that cause harm to the environment. The USDA is responsible for
GM crops that do not fall under the umbrella of the EP
A. The FDA has been concerned
with pharmaceuticals cosmetics and food products (Whitman, 2000). Because of their
different points of view, they failed to exercise adequate regulatory oversight. In spite of
government’s effort, many people are unsure about
the government’s ability to regulate
these foods. Some people do not lose the opportunities to obtain better foods, and some
people express the anxiety about possible long
-
term effects. There is certain benefit from
eating GM food, but the impact on the fu
ture is not negligible. This is the reason that we
need to apply the precautionary principle: if there is any risk we should avoid it, and since
we do not know whether there is a health
hazard that

is a risk that should
be

avoided
(Weidner, 2003). In short
, I strongly believe that GM foods should be prohibited until it is
adequately tested scientifically. Eventually, flawless and reliable GM foods will be released



1

Environmental Protection Agency

2

United States Department of Agriculture

3

Food and Drug Administration

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over the world when s
cientists reduce the security issues and increase the benefit of GM
food
through scientific investigations.

References

Brown, J.L. and Ping, Y. (2003).
Consumer Perception of Risk Associated with Eating

Genetically Engineered Soybeans Is Less in the Presence of a Perceived Consumer
Benefit
, Journal of the American Dietetic
Association
,

P
.
103

Lewontin, R. (2000).
American people participate in biggest biological experiment ever

conducted
, p
.
1

Krista
W
. (2003).
As more genetically modified foods reach the U.S. market place,

what does the future hold?
. Retrieved from

http://b
iotech.cas.psu.edu/articles.him

Seetharaman, K. (2005).
Does accessibility encourage discrimination?.

Retrieved from

http://www.456bereastreet.com/archive/200508/does_accessibility_encourage_discr
imination/

WHO. (2001).
Ethical, legal and social
issues of GM disease vectors in public health
.


Retrieved from


http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2003/TDR_STR_SEB_ST_03.1.pdf

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11


Caruso, D. (2007).
Change to gene theory raises new challenges for biotech
.
Retrieved
from

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/03/business/worldbusiness/03ihtbiotech.4.647113
6.html?_r=1

Peter
.R
.
(1999)
.

Why Genetically Altered Food Won't Conquer Hunger,

New
York Times

Bellinger, R.G. (1996).
Pest resistance to pesticides
.

Retrieved from


http://ipm
.ncsu.edu/safety/factsheets/resistan.pdf

Ross ,S
.

(2002)
.

Health Committee Enquiry on GM Crops
.

Retrieved from


http://ngin.tripod.com/181102b.htm

Whitman, D,B. (2000).
What are some of the criticisms against GM foods?.

Retrieved from

http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php