Whether good for us or not, genetically modified objects have infiltrated our food supply. While the official verdict is still out, current research on animals shows unfavorable effects. However, due to the lack of human studies labeling is not mandatory which makes it difficult for consumers to make educated choices.
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that around 90% of all products consumed in this country are produced with genetically modified organisms. These include plants that have been genetically modified to be pest or antibiotic resistant, to display properties not usually associated with the non-GMO plant such as exotic colors or resistance to wilting, or increased growth capacities. (Armenakas, 2013)
Genetically modified plants are resistant to pesticides and require more such spraying. The Monsanto corporation is the leading producer of genetically modified seeds AND pesticides. This excess use also increases pesticide resistance of other organisms in the vicinity of the ones being sprayed. This not only creates super pests due to the survival and adaptation of the fittest, but also increases the carcinogenic load of the plants being sprayed, which we ingest.
Randomized controlled trials have shown that laboratory animals are three times more likely to develop lethal tumors and cancer. They also develop kidney and liver disorders, fertility problems, birth defects, neurological problems, and premature death. Control groups fed natural food did not experience these effects. (Armenakas, 2013)
The Monsanto corporation is the main producer of genetically modified seeds, introducing potential conflict of interests when weighing the welfare of customers against potentially lowering the bottom line. Corn, sugar, and soy are the top GMO foods and are largely genetically created. Since these ingredients form the basis of most processed foods, most foods which come in box contain them and are unknowingly ingested at high rates.
The genetic materials that are introduced in the plants have not been investigated or tested for toxicity in humans and are not yet under federal regulation. Right now the FDA calls these products “substantially equivalent” to natural foods. Therefore labeling is not considered necessary and is in fact actively fought against by manufacturers and many users of these products. In Europe, citizens are well educated on the use of GMO seeds and have virtually destroyed this market; 90% of these objects have disappeared from European countries. It is natural that producers of these seeds would be strongly opposed to labeling. (Armenakas, 2013)
GMO seeds are patented making them more expensive. Excess seeds cannot be stored and new seeds must be purchased every year by farmers. When only one such company has such control over farmers and has such strong influence on determining availability, a monopoly is easily and unknown to us formed. This lack of regulation kills competition making it even more difficult for farmers to stay in business and to plant non-GMO seeds. Labeling foods which contain these ingredients would create more choices, healthy competition, and give the consumer the ability to decide for himself.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of these objects is the fact that they do not reproduce themselves. They must be produced by humans, or rather corporations, introducing dangerous implications of who holds the power of providing foods and at what cost.
Armenakas, S., Alexiades-Armenakas, M. Genetically Modified
Organisms in United States: Mandate for Food Labeling. Food and Nutrition
Sciences. (2013, August) Retrieved 2/21/2014 from
2/21/14. Document URL: http://search.proquest.com.ezp-02.lirn.net/ docview/