The Disturbing Truth about Genetically Modified Foods in America

Topics: Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Monsanto Pages: 8 (1725 words) Published: August 13, 2014


The Disturbing Truth About
Genetically Modified Foods in America
West Coast University

Abstract
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) showed up in rural America in the mid 1990s. Many American’s are concerned for the farmers, the environment, and the potential health risks of GMOs and are demanding more studies and tests be done before allowing these organisms to be consumed. People around the world have protested for the right to safe food, however, nothing has been done to change government policies. U.S. biotech companies, like Monsanto, are the first to hold a patent on food and are making sure there are no restrictions to sending GMOs out into the marketplace. In this research paper, I will give you an in depth look into the GMO industry and the effects it has on the environment, the farmers, and our health.

The Disturbing Truth About
Genetically Modified Foods in America
Over the past decade, there has been an outcry over the genetically modified (GM) food industry in America. Some believe that farmers are being forced to use only GM seeds instead of conventional ones. Others claim that GM seeds could have unforeseen effects on wildlife. Still most are criticizing our government’s food safety standards and feel there may be health risks on the people who consume GM foods. Concerns like these and many more regarding GM seeds and foods are being asked by many people. I’m going to discuss the truth about GM seeds and foods and open your eyes to the real effect this industry has on our farmers, the environment, and most of all, our health.

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources and combine them into one molecule, creating a new set of genes. This DNA is then transferred into an organism, giving it modified genes. Genetically modified seeds, such as corn, can then be used to produce everything from high fructose corn syrup to batteries.

To begin with, genetically modified seeds showed up between 1997 and 1999 in America’s Midwest farmland and have been gaining prominence over conventional seeds ever since. Farmer’s have been stuck in the cross fire between government subsidies to produce more crop and the activists fighting to shut down the biotech companies that produce GM seeds. One biotech company that has played a big part in the GM seeds industry is Monsanto. Monsanto is a chemical company, located in Missouri, and the original producer of the toxic chemical, Agent Orange, used in the Vietnam War. It is also the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as “Roundup” weed killer. For the first time in history, companies like Monsanto can hold patents on food. Monsanto’s GM seeds are called “Round Up Ready” because they are immune to the pesticide, “Round Up”. Farmers can then kill nearby weeds with Monsanto’s weed killer without killing crops. However, in order to use Monsanto’s seeds, a farmer must first sign an agreement that limits what can be done with the seeds. Farmers are not allowed to save seeds for the following year, typically done in traditional farming. Instead, they must purchase new seeds from Monsanto every year, and at a price Monsanto sets. If a farmer fraudulently saves or grows Monsanto’s GM seeds, they will be prosecuted for patent infringement (Collins, 2009). In addition, many farmers claim they that have been wrongly accused by Monsanto for the use of their GM seeds, when in fact most of these cases were due to wind drift and contamination of crops that were out of the farmer’s control. Because of the patent, it doesn’t matter where the seeds came from or how it got there - patented holder, Monsanto, now owns those crops which helps give them control of the food...

References: Collin, M. (2009, August). Do seed companies control GM crop research? Scientific American Magazine, 301(2), 28. Retrieved January 4, 2010, from
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=do-seed-companies-control-gm-crop-research
Cummins, C. H. (2008). Uncertain peril: Genetic engineering and the future of seeds. Boston: Beacon Press
Gay, K. (2008). Superfood or superthreat: The issue of genetically engineered food. New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Nadudvari, T. (Producer), & Curry, A. & Nadudvari, T. (Director). (2006). Bad seed: The truth about our food [Motion picture]. United States: UFOTV
Pearlstein, E. & Kenner, R. (Producer), & Kenner, R. (Director). (2009). Food, Inc. [Motion picture]. United States: Magnolia Pictures
Shapley, D. (2007, December). USDA makes a deal with Monsanto: Hey farmers! Buy genetically modified seeds, get insurance cheap. The Daily Green. Retrieved January 4, 2010, from http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/genetically- modified-47122604
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