GMOs, otherwise known as Genetically Modified Organisms, are in turn, food that has been genetically altered in unnatural ways in the hope that it will benefit the production rate and profit income. There have been many debates on GMOs in the past few years, and many of them clearly display the risks of eating them. Many citizens continue to buy GMOs, however. In this day and age, it is more than common to see a tomato nearly 5 inches in diameter, when this is nowhere near the size of a “real” tomato. It can be unclear to many people that these GMOs have negative effects in the long run.
The production of GMOs began in 1980 with a court case between a genetics engineer at General Electric and the U.S. Patent Office. The court ruled 5 to 4, and the first GMO, an oil-eating bacteria, was patented (gmo-awareness.com). This was the first event that brought GMOs to the public’s attention. However, the first genetically modified food was the Flavr Savr tomato, invented by scientist Calgene in the year 1994(Wikipedia). A few years later, in 1997, 17% of soy became genetically modified based on the new found technology. Now, in the year 2014, 94% percent of U.S. soy is genetically modified(statista.com). This drastic change was the result of new technology and information regarding GMOs. The Institute for Responsible Technology states that GMOs can cause organ damage, immune system disorders, accelerated aging and more. According to a New York Times article “By ‘Editing’ Plant Genes, Companies Avoid Regulation” by Andrew Pollack, bioengineered crops can even have unintended consequences on the environment as well, such as activating “plant viruses.” If GMOs really have these effects then it is important to educate the public on these side effects so they can really decide if they want to continue buying GMOs.
So why do people still remain to buy and eat GMOs? Because they don’t know how harmful they can be! In the past few years, many studies have been conducted addressing the harmful effects of GMOs on people, like the experiment conducted in Canada in 2011 proving that GMOs can have harmful effects to the blood of a growing fetus. Before then, most people did not know that GMOs were so harmful; they would fly out the market and people did not know what they were buying. This still happens now though. Aren’t you used to seeing big, bright orange carrots that can be as long as a foot? The normal length of an organic carrot is about 4 inches.
It is obvious that GMOs are harmful and people need to be informed about them. If we don’t limit the use of GMOs, then the health of regular citizens in the U.S. could be at risk. As stated by Mrs. Huggins, a health teacher in the North Shore School District, “Most people know what they want, and they will get it. It what they want is GMOs, then they get them, whether or not they know the risks.” This just goes to show how America has left behind old ways, including the natural and plainly healthier way of life by accepting the unnatural and harmful ways, like GMOs. So, it is our job to bring back the old ways and make sure that Americans have the chance to eat healthy, natural food.