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The impact of Genetically Modified Foods

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Introduction

The impact of Genetically Modified Foods Since the introduction of Genetically Modified crops into Supermarket chains in the UK in 1987 of GM potatoes, there have been various reports into whether they harm us, immediately or in the future. The first major concerns about the harmful effects of GM crops were highlighted in 1999 about possible toxic effects of GM potatoes on laboratory rats. This small study printed in The Lancet, conducted by Arpad Pusztai1, caused major uproar all over the world and serious financial, ethical, social and environmental issues were starting to emerge. Whether proving to be true or false, the rumors still cause major problems for companies producing and selling the products, and serious thoughts into the future use of GM technology are still being discussed. GM technology was first introduced to improve the resistance of certain varieties of crops to common diseases they encounter, to enable the growing of the crop in unnatural environments, such as cold climates and resistance to the use of strong weed killers, and to improve a crop so that it produces a higher yield with a higher quality than the natural crop. The major producers of GM crops have been USA, Argentina, Canada and Brazil with a lot of developing countries increasing in the use of GM crops. ...read more.

Middle

This includes scientists disproving any positive news about GM Technology and protestors destroying GM crops all over the world, this of which I believe makes it difficult to find out whether the technology is actually harmful. Even though nothing has been proved, many supermarkets have now reduced the selling of GM products to an extremely small amount of products, these mostly being tomato puree, Soya and maize and they still have to place a non-GM product of that kind nearby4. One cause of this movement could be the recent story covered by The Independent about the damaging effects of GM crops on the environment5. It states that a court settlement has "sealed the fate of GM in the UK - at least in the foreseeable future. They showed the ultra-powerful weed killers that the crops are engineered to tolerate would bring about further damage to a countryside already devastated by intensive farming." This has caused many large companies to find other products rather than having to go through "extensive testing process - and public opposition - that bringing a GM crop to market in Britain would involve." This protest was reported in The Grocer (28 August) about GM protests in Slovakia against the Supermarket Tesco who did not assure Slovakians that Tesco brand food was non-GM. ...read more.

Conclusion

The future use of GM technology does not look as promising as when it was released as a new technique in the 1990's. It was thought by many scientists that the use of these techniques could possibly 'end world hunger' and that it could mean better quality crops, more money for what farmers produce, and therefore helping to poverty in the agricultural community. Fears of many companies involved in the GM industry are starting to unfold. From looking at all sides of the argument I believe that the use of GM products in the UK and in an ever increasing number of countries would need to be confirmed as a safe way to produce products and crops. They would need to be proved that they do not harm humans and the environment in which they are grown in. This factor has resulted in the use of Genetic Engineering to be halted at the rate it is now and will therefore not become widely used for many years to come. People's perceptions of the products are slanted. I personally feel the foods will not be accepted by people for many years, due to these particular arguments and the negatives at the moment definitely outweigh the benefits for the use of GM technology. ...read more.

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