Lin Liu Argumentative Essay Should GM food be prevented from widespread use? For thousands of years, people work hard to produce fruits, vegetables, meats…so that they could get away from hungry, absorb nutrition, and live in the earth. Every day, we eat a lot of food, but do we really know what we eat? We prefer fresher and healthier food; however, do we certainly consume natural foods? The answers are possible to be no. We are not sure about these questions because we do not know what ingredients inside the food we eat are. Currently, a lot of food has already been changed their tastes, appearances and nutrition due to the biotechnology, and more and more genetically food (GM food) is available on the market without specific markers. At the same time, the widespread use of GM food becomes controversial. Although GM food has better taste and quality, higher resistance to pesticides and herbicides, larger yield than natural breeding food, and supporters of GM food claim that it can reduce world hunger effectively, I believe that widespread use of GM food should be banned because it has negative impacts on human’s health, potential risks on environment, and it is not the solution to world hunger as well. According to World Health Organization (2002), biotechnology, which is also known as gene technology, or recombinant DNA technology, allows scientists to transfer certain selected genes from one organism, such as animals and plants, into another organism. In this way, the genetic material like DNA will be altered enforcedly and change into the form that is desirable. GM food is one application of this modern technology. It allows people choosing the desired genes for food to advance the productivity and eliminating the negative impacts of original food. Recently, the controversies around GM food become one of the main topics around the world. Supports of GM food focus on the benefits it brings on the aspects of quality, resistance, yields. They try to reduce the world hunger by this modern biotechnology. On the other side, people who against GM food claim that GM food has potential risks on human’s health, it may destroy the environment, and they also deny supports’ statement on reducing world hunger. Although the debate continues, the GM food is available on the markets and some kind of GM food, such as crops, are also entered the international markets (Hanly, 2000). Opponents of banning widespread use of GM food argue that GM food increases the taste and quality of original food that satisfies people’s preference, because unexpected genes are moved out of the original food and some new, reasonable or beneficial genes are added to it, so that the new food has better quality. However, they ignore the far more important negative aspects. The potential risks, including causing allergens, transfer of antibiotic resistance markers and even some other unknown effects will harm human’s health directly. In fact, the added genes of GM food will produce different proteins in human’s body. The created proteins won’t change their original properties and will be able to destroy our well-worked DNA structures and functions (“Genetically Modified Foods are Inherently Unsafe,” n.d.). Thus a series of unpredictable results will appear and lead to unexpected outcomes. A test of GM potatoes on young male rats shown that just after eating GM potatoes for 10 days, their brains, livers, and such vital body organs became smaller than before, the functions of their white blood cells decreased unbelievable, and some other important organs, such as thymus, also played disorder. In contrast, the other group of rats that fed with natural potatoes did not show any inverse impact (Smith, 2007). Those symptoms indicated that the first group of rats had abnormal absorption of nutrients, or there were some unknown toxins destroying their normal growth process, and their immune systems were hurt badly. From the comparison, it was no doubt that the difference symptoms between the two groups of rats were caused by their food: GM potatoes, or usual potatoes. If the rats did not feed on the GM potatoes, they would still keep good health conditions. Many people advocate producing GM food due to its high resistance to pesticides and herbicides. In fact, however, the better resistance may bring more negative impacts. First, there is no specific statistic to show that the using of pesticides decreased in amount for cultivating GM seeds. Second, farmers are possible to use more herbicides to kill weeds. They do not need to worry about the hurts of herbicides on their seeds due to the better resistance. Therefore, more herbicides, which actually negatively impact human’s health and harm the environment, will be spayed into the air and soil. According to Benbrook (2004), we found that the actual amounts of pesticides and herbicides used have increased about 4.1 percent each acre since 1996. The statistic suggested the opponents’ claim of this position was incorrect. In addition, genetically modified seeds can become weeds as well. If the GM seeds spread to other places by wind or other reasons, due to its high resistance, they are possible to grow up at that undesired place and thus people need more herbicides, or even need to produce new kind of herbicides to kill those GM weeds (Mellon &Rissler, 2003). Farms, soil, air, other plants, and livings around that plant will be hurt badly, or some species will be even killed. So before finding reasonable solutions, how can we accept the widespread use of GM food? Another argument against preventing producing and marketing GM food is that GM food is possible to solve the food shortage and world hunger problem because it produces considerable yields in a shorter time. However, this viewpoint is no longer correct. In fact, problems of food storage are not good excuses because “enough food is available to provide at least 4.3 pounds of food per person per day worldwide” (Lappé, Collins, Rosset & Esparza, 1998, p. 10). We have already had the ability to produce adequate amount of food and the supply is available completely for everyone in the world to get away from hunger and death. Indeed, we should ascertain that the major reason of causing world hunger is not grain output. The prior consideration on this issue should be poverty, should be the high increasing price (Lappé, Collins, Rosset & Esparza, 1998). The reason people go stave is that the price of comestibles goes up steadily so that a large proportion of people worldwide cannot afford it, especially for those people who live in poor countries. Take an example from my own experience. The first time I went to the American supermarket, I was shocked by the high priced vegetables, fruits, snacks, and drinks. How could they be expensive! A small bag of grapes was almost 3 dollar, but it was just worth less than 1 dollar if in China. At that time, I really appreciated my parents because they provided me enough money, or maybe someday I would die of starvation as well. “Americans just don’t care about genetically modified foods…it is not so much that Americans don’t care about genetically modified (GM) food, but they don’t know about GM food” (Weasel, 2009. p. 1). GM food is a new word for some people; however, before they learn it, they may have already consumed the food because sometimes there are no specific markers to distinguish GM food from natural breeding food. “60 percent of Americans believe that they have never eaten GM food,…38 percent of respondents said they would be likely to eat GM food given the choice…54 percent said that they would be unlikely to do so” (Weasel, 2009. p. 1). Although the United State is one of the leading countries in the study of biotechnology, American people still do not intend to eat GM food right now. For most of people, they prefer to consume food after hearing the positive answer from their trusted government, family, and friends, instead of testing first. Currently, the study on GM food is still too immature to definite it as “safety”. While we consider the benefits that GM food brings, we need to pay much attention on the disadvantages of it; otherwise it may results to horrible outcomes, or even disasters. Therefore, we should not produce and spread wide use of GM food before estimating accurate and scientific research results, advancing the security, and figuring out feasible and reliable solutions to balance both beneficial and negative sides of GM food. References Benbrook, C. (2004, October). Genetically engineered crops and pesticide use in the United States: The first nine years. Retrieved November 13, 2009 fromhttp://www.biotec hinfo.net/Full_version_first_nine.pdf Genetically modified foods are inherently unsafe. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2009 from http://www.responsibletechnology.org/utility/showArticle/?objectID=212 Hanly, K. (2000). Genetically modified foods and seeds. Canadian Dimension, 34(2), 12. Lappé, F. M., Collins, J., Rosset, P., & Esparza, L. (1998, October). World hunger: 12 myths (2nd ed.). New York : Grove Press. Mellon, M. & Rissler, J. (2003, June 12). Environmental effects of genetically modified food crops -- Recent experiences. Retrieved November 13, 2009 from http://www.ucsusa.org/f ood_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/impacts_genetic_engineering/environmentaleffects-of.html Smith, J. M. (2007). Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods . Fairfield: Yes Books. World Health Organization. (2002, October 12). 20 questions on genetically modified (GM) foods. Retrieved November 13, 2009 fromhttp://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/bi otech/20questions/en/index.html Weasel, L. H. (2009). Food fray : inside the controversy over genetically modified food. New York: Amacom-American Management Association.