Being a citizen of today you have probably heard of GMO’s, and the international controversy surrounding the GMO products. But have you ever stopped to wonder what GMO’s are, and where you stand on the matter? We will explain what they are and how they are being used, and you decide for yourself.
GMO is the short for Genetically Modified Organism, and can be applied to anything “alive” that goes through genetic engineering, i.e. the manipulation of genetics to alter certain traits. Scientists have been experimenting with genetic engineering for a while, and have come up with some pretty amazing things, but the question at hand is whether they are safe or even ethical.
Viruses, bacteria, plants, animal and even humans in some cases have in some way been genetically engineered, or exposed to a form of GMO. But in recent years, instead of finding cures for several diseases that might infect crops and kill them out, the farming industry has been investing crops which can resist viruses, pests, pesticides and even droughts. To alter an organism in this way you will have to manipulate its DNA, every living things’ blueprint. So the final outcome is always a mutant, a living organism with a genetically engineered mutation making it a relative of its parent organism, but not an offspring.
Now even though most developed countries and the European Union have either completely banned GMO product from being put on sale for the public, or have made mandatory labeling laws, the United States have no such laws. GMO products can be labelled as natural and free range, because the engineering happen on a DNA level before the organism is even born in most cases. The fact that scientists have spoken out about possible long term effects GMO’s might have on humans, have not stopped corporation from lobbying the non-labeling act from remaining in use.
Some of the GMO’s that can be found on shelves today are corn, soybean and dairy products, and even the patented GloFish, a fluorescent fish breed, created for the sole purpose of being a glowing pet.
This has pushed companies that don’t use GMO products to label their food as organic, which means that they have been grown like in the good old days, using none or safe amounts of pesticides, growth hormones and/or genetic engineering.