Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are added to the food people have been consuming for the last few decades. Being unnatural, they tend to be welcomed with mixed reactions by the general public. The major reasons being that the consumers have a right to know what the food they eat from the manufacturer's constitutes. Some of them are against eating foodstuffs containing GMOs but still some have no problem with the composition of the food and have no problem if the food containing GMOs is not labeled. The major concerns in peoples minds are if the GMOs have effects on their health and if the GMOs have an impact on the environment ("Ethical Issues," 2016). Both of these concerns are but ethical principles that the people and the scientists are using to demand the food to be labeled and shall be expounded on in this essay.
In the first place, the scientists have raised concerns that the GMOs have not been well studied well so as to determine the long-term effects the products have on the environment and the human health ("Ethical Issues," 2016). In other words, the scientists consider the GMOs a risk. For the effects to people's health, the consumers fear that the products may pose health effects to them. They insist that the food with GMOs may be harmful to their health and they, therefore, consider it as ethical to have the products labeled. According to the consumers, it is their right.
Focusing on human health, the scientists acknowledge that GMOs are products of foreign genes and genomes inserted into the plant cells. They thus involve insertion of this organisms into the DNA of the target organisms. In others, the added organism is a result of DNA cloning from donor organisms ("Ethical Issues," 2016). That means they are all a product of biotechnology which thus is a major concern due to unknown impacts on the human health. The major issue here is that the human beings are now consuming new/ foreign proteins which have never entered the human body before. This definitely comes with uncertainties about what effects they would within the body.
Further, the consumers are aware that some of the GMOs just as any other ingredients (such as nuts) may contain allergens. They fear that these GMOs may cause allergic reactions to them which could be fatal. For instance, the addition of genetically modified organisms into soya beans in a bid to increase the Methionine content in Brazil resulted in allergic reactions similar to those from nut allergies in the people who consumed the nuts ("Ethical Issues," 2016). In other impacts, the GNOs are associated with carcinogenic substances and other toxic substances which harm the human health. The GMOs are further related to nutritional deficiencies in humans. This is an issue that would require labeling of the GMOs as such allergic reactions can affect the consumers.
As already hinted out, the GMOs have come to constitute food additives and are nowadays flooding the market. The food additives, have not been studied for a long time as yet. There lacks enough scientific research on the effects that these additives bear on the human health. Even worse, the effects may be long term and require long periods of time for determination. Maybe if the foodstuffs containing the GMOs will one-day bear risks on the consumer which can be avoided if the consumers know the containing food and avoid its consumption at their will.
Medical agencies such as the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) suggest that the GMOs are a source of chronic disorders such as immune system, autism, and gastrointestinal disorders, affect the reproductive system causing infertility, they result in organ damage and cause accelerated aging of consuming individuals. This calls for proactive measures against the use of GMOs and the basic most measure is the labeling of the food products.
Focusing on the environmental effects, the ethical issues revolve mainly around the pesticides developed through GMOs addition. For instance, it has not been determined what effects the pesticides and herbicides pose on the food crops in their production or postharvest periods. It is advantageous that the GMOs have been successfully used to reduce the resistance of the insects and other pests to the normal pesticides or herbicides by adding the GMOs to the chemicals ("Ethical Issues," 2016). This has helped improve the effectiveness of these pesticides and herbicides.
On the contrary, the same improved chemicals pose a bigger threat to the environment since they can easily result information of new and mutated strains of weeds and pests ("Ethical Issues," 2016). It follows that these mutated pests and herbs will end up making the initially used chemicals ineffective and consequently, the chemicals will be ineffective. The mutated species will now require another series of new GMOs technology so as to curb their spread. This only results in a more complicated research which is expensive and also result in a new problem in agriculture that can reduce food quality. An example of a GMO herbicide is RoundUp which is used for soybeans; there are chances that the herbicide poses other mutational threats to the other plants in the vicinity of the soybeans.
On this token, the developed pesticides and herbicides stance unknown impacts on untargeted species. They may lead to the death of other species that are not meant to be killed, or they may lead to other negative (or positive) effects on these species. For example, a pesticide produced from Bt corn, a genetically modified species of maize, has been observed to have adverse impacts on the Monarch butterfly ("Ethical Issues," 2016). Notably, the butterflies population has reduced in the recent days and this has been attributed to the pesticides. Other organisms such as bees are also endangered by these chemicals which affect the ecosystem especially since the bees are crucial for pollination. On a wider basis, the RoundUp herbicide has been seen to result to damage of the organs, disruption of the endocrine systems, the death of the embryos and other congenital disabilities in the amphibians. This means that though the GMO containing pesticides are advantageous they also pose an unwanted effect on untargeted organisms in the environment.
Insofar, the ethical issues have revolved around the need for environmental and human effects of the GMOs. In this two ethical issues, the issue about human health bears more weight and thus ethical principles that are aimed at observing human health are imperative. The food products containing GMOs should be labeled so that the consumers are provided with the full knowledge of the products they consume.
Most people argue that the GMO containing foodstuffs are completely the same as naturally produced foodstuffs and that labeling the food products to having GMOs only impinges worry and doubt to the general consumer ("Center for Food Safety | Issues | GE Food Labeling | About GE Labeling," 2016). The argument is that if the food is labeled to contain the GMOs, people will think that the labeled food is not normal.' They will get the notion that the food may not be safe for consumption which is not true. However, the fact remains that the safety of the GMO containing food is not yet proven. To cater for the uncertainties about the safety of this food, it is better if the food is labeled. This will ensure that before anyone buys the food, they will get to have the consent of what they are consuming and thus will get to make a more informed decision of whether to consume or not.
Sadly, the agency that is supposed to look put for food safety has not been performing the necessary tests concerning the presence of GMOs. The Food U.S. and Drug Association (FDA) is only depending on the information given to them by the producing companies regarding the GMO content of the foodstuffs ("Center for Food Safety | Issues | GE Food Labeling | About GE Labeling," 2016). Despite the fact that more than 90% of the community support the labeling of GMO foodstuff, the government is not willing to pass such a policy. In conclusion, the food containing GMOs should be labeled so as to avoid consumer deception and avoid possible health risks associated with GMOs.
Center for Food Safety | Issues | GE Food Labeling | About GE Labeling. (2016). Center for Food Safety. Retrieved 6 October 2016, from http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/976/ge-food-labeling/about-ge-labeling#
Ethical Issues. (2016). Macalester.edu. Retrieved 6 October 2016, from http://www.macalester.edu/~montgomery/GMOs2.htm
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