Genetically Modified Foods: Are They Safe Or Not?
Genetically modified foods are foods that have had their DNA changed through genetic engineering. Usually, the genetic engineering is done to enhance certain characteristics and diminish others. There has been much heated debate about the safety of genetically modified foods. This essay will detail the arguments for and against its safety, and then weigh up the evidence presented by both sides.
Arguments for the safety of genetically modified foods
The genetically modified food industry and its supporters argue that there are hundreds of studies to support the safety of genetically modified foods. They also point to about 20 years worth of studies done on animals. Another argument for their safety is that all the genetically modified foods currently on the market have passed safety assessments conducted by major food safety bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration. The World Health Organization even has standards for testing the safety of genetically modified foods.
Arguments against the safety of genetically modified foods
Those who argue that genetically modified foods are unsafe cite animal studies in which animals eating these foods have suffered from damage to their vital organs, such as their kidneys. They also point to the possibility that genetically modified foods can create new allergic reactions, because they contain proteins that the original plant does not. This group also says that studies cited by the opposite side are scientifically unsound. They suggest that these studies were funded by the genetically modified food industry, and that there is a major conflict of interest.
Weighing up the evidence
Many well-respected bodies such as the World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration of America support the use of genetically modified foods. They suggest that the genetically modified foods that are currently on the market are safe for human consumption, as they have all passed safety assessments. This, along with the hundreds of safety studies, suggests that genetically modified foods that are currently available are probably safe for human consumption.
Those in favour of genetically modified foods claim that they are safe based on large amounts of data from numerous studies. In addition, reputable food safety organizations support the use of genetically modified foods. However, those who are not in favour of these foods claim that there is enough data from animal studies to show that they pose a significant health risk. Based on the evidence, it appears that genetically modified foods are currently safe for human consumption.