Genetic modification of anything requires the introduction of alien genes into a species, to modify it and this is certainly not a natural process. For example, GM Soya has been modified using genes that will make it resistant to certain herbicides, such as roundup. Although this may seem like a good thing on the surface, what happens when the pollen from these GM foods is passed on to native species? Aspects like this seem to have been overlooked. It is also a worry, because genetic engineering can be very unpredictable and the damaging effects of GM foods irreversible; if left unconfined it could get out of control.
It is possible to end up creating harmful characteristics such as toxins unawares. This doesnt necessarily condemn GMOs but it proves the unpredictability of genetic manipulation. The establishment for GM foods is keen to cover up any findings, which may turn people against GM foods, (possibly due to the huge profits involved). One particular scientist, in a report from the Rowett Research Institute, had been independently researching the effects of GM potatoes on rats.
What his studies found was that they had a detrimental effect on the immune system and the growth of the rats. However when the establishment found this out, this man was reduced from being a well-respected researcher to a mad cap scientist. Although it is agreed that genetically modifying grain to include beta-carotene (vitamin C) may aid hunger and poor eyesight problems in third world countries, there is a large-scale scandal going on among large biotech companies, who want to increase their already large profits.
GM food production, gives larger firms a loop hole in which they are able to abuse the power of modifying these crops to their own specification. Recently, there have been reports that these companies have developed doomsday seeds, which they want to sell onto the world market particularly the struggling third world. These seeds have been genetically modified, so that once they have grown, the seeds they produce will genetically destroy themselves.
These seeds may be an excellent money-spinner for the firms who sell them, but surely it is morally and ethically wrong to sell such seeds to poor and starving countries? The companies also have the added leverage over other seed producers because they are able to genetically modify their plants to grow faster and thus their seeds are cheaper than others. These people in the third world will eventually be forced into a downward spiral of having to buy new crops every year, because they are unable to afford the more expensive normal seeds.
And what would happen if these genes happened to escape into the environment? GM genes may spread into wild populations with unpredictable and potentially harmful consequences; In this case, they may even cause crops to produce sterile seeds, which could have an adverse effect on the ecosystem. If we are to have confidence in GM foods, then larger businesses should be kept out of research. The way GM foods are being exploited by powerful corporations is a threat to democracy.
These crops are unsustainable in light of longer-term plans and the great majority of the GM market is focussed more on profit rather than improving our diet. Insufficient testing has taken place to ensure their safety for public consumption. Research should be carried out independently, to assess whether such foods would be a benefit to our society and the effects it will have on the eco-system. Only then should they be allowed onto the market.