The first commercialization of GMO food was made in 1994, a non-soft tomato developed by the U.S. company Calgene. However, despite 25 years passing since GMO food was commercialized, controversy over GMO food development continues. When GMOs were first introduced to the public, people thought that in the near future there would be perfect foods like Ambrosia and Nexar, the food eaten by the gods of Olympus. It has been expected to be a fundamental solution to the global hunger problem with the increase in innovative production. Contrary to expectations, however, GMOs are showing a growing number of side effects. The reason is that GMOs are fundamentally ‘Man-made’ manipulated organism. Now, let’s look at the various side effects of GMO food.
First, GMO food creates confusion in the ecosystem. Naturally all foods reproduce seeds through fruit. And before bearing fruit, crossbreeding is done through pollen. The problem is that GMO food genes are passed on to the non-GMO food, essentially a type of crossbreeding. If crossbreeding occurs, there are chances that genetic modification will occur in non-GMO foods. These uncontrolled transformations inevitably have an adverse impact on the ecosystem. Nature undergoes a process of evolution over the course of centuries, or at least a few decades. This evolution is stable in a direction optimized for the surrounding ecosystem. However, in the case of GMO foods, it is able to cause confusion because it was created without consideration of the ecosystem. Also, GMO foods destroy the food chain in the ecosystem. According to the research by the European Environment Agency, GMO foods inevitably cause fatal damage to organic crops, creating super weeds and exterminate wild animals. It is common for GMO foods to be designed to have strong resistance to pesticides and herbicides. With this strong tolerance, producers will use stronger pesticides and herbicides. At first, the weeds and pasts will not be able to withstand pesticides and herbicides that are strong in insect damage and weeds. However, over time, pests and weeds will develop strong resistance through evolution. As a result, producers will strengthen the pesticides and herbicides. During this process, non-GMO varieties that cannot withstand strong pesticides and herbicides will go extinct, resulting in a uniform number of species.
Second, GMO foods have not been fully tested for potential dangers. Although commercialization of GMO foods has taken place and there has been no clear evidence that GMO foods are harmful to humans over the past 25 years, neither has there been a clear safety test. The reaction within the human body with ingested GMO food and the potential problems with other proteins are still unknown. GMO foods destroy the stability created to match the surrounding ecosystem during the process of artificially manufacturing to insert or delete new genes. In addition, if unstable genes accumulate in the long term in the human body, they can cause allergies or risk birth of deformed babies. Thus, the short history of 25 years is not enough to guarantee safety. As an example of showing instability in GMO technology there is a GMO dietary supplement including L-tryptophan produced by Japanese firm Showa Denko. Some people in North America who took this GMO dietary supplement suffered from EMS, killing 35 people with chills and muscle pain, and exposing some 1,500 people to potential dangers. As a surprise, the factor that caused the disease within this dietary supplement was very small, at 0.01 percent of the total mass. As such, the safety verification of GMO foods must be done sufficiently as it could come as a great danger to humans no matter how few. Thus, current GMO foods that are not sufficiently tested for safety are likely to threaten the lives of humans.
Third, GMO foods undermine that fairness of the food market by giving certain companies exclusive rights. To develop GMO, a company must invest a lot of capital, time and technology, and is granted patent rights, a legal right if it succeeds in development. As a result, a high entry barrier in GMO food causes a particular company to form a kind of monopoly. In addition, GMO food has a much higher viability than non-GMO food and better unit costs and production per unit, resulting in many producers choosing to grow GMO seeds. This not only reduces seed diversity but also increases reliance on multinational companies. One may wonder what the problem is with this phenomenon is. However, it is worth noting that Monsanto Company, which accounts for 90 percent of the global share of genetically modified crops, invests the most in “no reproducing of seeds” among their R&D counterparts. In other words, this is a strategy to get producers to buy new seeds from businesses to grow new crops, resulting in the eventual unification of seeds and further consolidating monopoly on certain multinational companies. The main purpose of a company is to generate profits and are less focused on the good of the people. Nevertheless, companies maintain scarcity of food by adjusting supply to maximize profits based on their position in the food market. The following series of processes will force the seeds to be unified and producers to become dependent on multinational companies that produce those seeds. And based on these monopolies, multinational companies will manipulate output and prices to maximize profit, thereby undermining the fairness of the food market.
Recently, consumers have been paying a lot of interest to safe eating as many people seek ‘well-being’ foods. However, GMO food has yet to be verified for its safety. Black-and-white proof of the safety of GMO foods is needed since there isn’t clear evidence yet that it is harmful. Furthermore, GMO food creates confusion in the ecosystem and hurts the fairness of the food market. Of course, there is no denying that GMO foods have many advantages. However, before accepting GMO foods, objective and sophisticated research results should be presented to address the current potential risks.
A type of essential amino acid derived for the LMO microorganism
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