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Genetically Modified Crops

Buttel, F. (2005). The Environmental and Post-Environmental Politics of Genetically Modified Crops and Foods. Environmental Politics, 14, 309-323.

Buttel studied the risks of genetically modified crops on the environment. He discovered that when scientists refer to GM crops and foods, they are not always referring to the same thing due to the fact that there are many different term used. Buttel discovered that there are three main criticisms that arise from GM technology. The most relevant one is the risk to the environment and human health. A second criticism that he revealed is that GM is redundant. Some activists believe that sustainable agriculture is a necessary and viable alternative and that the world does not need to turn to molecular biology. The last criticism Buttel makes is that GM is obsolete and that there will be changes in the politic of GM in the next couple of decades. This study is valuable to my chosen topic because it illustrates the notion that GM crops and foods might be undergoing a change in the future, and that there is hope for sustainable agriculture. This harbours hope in the activists who have faith in a world without GM crops and foods.

Campbell, J. (2003). 50 Harmful Effects of Genetically Modified Foods. Retrieved on March 27, 2008 from the World Wide Web: http://www.cqs.com/50harm.htm

Campbell discusses how the most vital problem relating to GM crops and foods is not only the short-term advantages and long-term disadvantages, but the overall effort to control living organisms based on bio-technological views. He informs the reader that there are at least fifty hazards, problem, and dangers that are related to GM foods. There is a long list of risks that are associated with GM foods, including deaths and near-deaths that are dated back to 1989 were a dozen of Americans died and several thousands were badly affected by a genetically modified product. GM foods have also been directly linked to higher risk for cancer and degenerative diseases. Another crucial risk is the threat of birth defects and also a shorter life span. Even though there exist a long list or risks and side effects, the FDA does not mandate any regular testing of the CM products. This article is important to my chosen topic because it clearly depicts the negative effects of GM crops and foods have on the human race. This article illustrates to me that the government should not continue to allow GM products to be consumed by our population.

Isserman, M. A. (2001). Genetically Modified foods: Understanding the Societal Dilemma. American Behavioural Scientist, 44, 1225-1232.

Isserman explores that many issues that are created by genetically modified foods. He introduces two ways that these issues are created; one is the collection of articles that suggest the dangers of agricultural biotechnologies. The second is the collection of studies and articles that propose social problems that may arise from farmer's incentives and public awareness. The articles that Isserman investigate offer a comprehensive overview of society's struggle with the potential uncertainty of GM crops and foods. Isserman goes on to describe how one scientific research that was published in the New York Times warned consumers about the dangers of GM foods and how these products are unlabeled and untested, but the public is still eating it. GM crops and foods is a social dilemma internationally. Many people are very naive to believe that this is a prevalent issue that can or will affect the way they live or even the way their children live. This article is important to the topic I chose because it lists articles that have been published that have collected evidence that GM crops and foods have a negative impact on all the different sectors of our lives. Isserman also says that scientist are often unable to understand why consumers and environmentalists are against the idea of GM products.

Lang, J, & Hallman, W. (2005).Who Does the Public Trust? The Case of Genetically Modified Food in the United States. Risks Analysis: An International Journal, 25, 1241-1252.

Lang and Hallman conduct an in depth study on the importance of trust when relating to genetically modified foods. In any situation, who the public trusts is not very clear. In Lang's and Hallman's article it discusses how the general public in the U.S. have concerns with GM foods. They believed that their study would prove that trust was best described as a concept with two distinct dimensions. Controversially, they found an overall trust dimension that best characterized data. With that aside, they found that many of the respondents to their survey do not trust many of the organizations that have the greatest resources and responsibilities for ensuring safety of GM food. This study is relevant to my chosen topic because it clearly illustrates that the general public remains rather afraid of GM foods. This shows us that the public is aware of the hidden myths and controversial problems that may arise due to GM foods. The U.S. government chooses not to mandate labels on GM foods, and this could be partly due to the fear and mistrust the public has with frankenfoods.

Lieberman, S, & Gray, T. (2007). The role of political myth in the international conflict over genetically modified foods and crops. European Environment, 17, 376-386.

Lieberman and Gray examine the controversial myths of genetically modified foods and analyse the political role played by those myths. They discovered that there are three levels of political myths: factual error, social meaning and political hegemony. The factual error myth is centered on assumptions or stereotypes. The social meaning incorporates social reality and includes positive or negative moral messages. Every myth, whether true or false assumes a life of its own and it develops a political drive that forces it to stay as it is. This is what they referred to as the political hegemony. Gray and Lieberman hope that their myths will succeed in gaining the upper hand in the international conflict of genetically modified foods. This journal article is relevant to my chosen topic because it illustrates the myths of frankenfoods to international consumers. It does this by it's insistence on strict conditions to be met before the genetically modified products can be authorized. This journal increases our awareness of the myths that lie behind GM foods

Neild, B. (2006, September 25). Agroterrorism: How real is the threat? Retrieved on March 27, 2008 from the World Wide Web: http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/


Neild explains how that many people are living in fear. Recently in North America, residents were in fear of catching E. coli from a bag of spinach. Over the past couple of years the population have been warned about many foods that have been contaminated. With many of the GM foods being grown out of the country, many activists fear that some crops may be contaminated. These contaminated crops may be purposely tainted with the hope to create bio-terrorism. This fear of intentionally contaminating crops has not been taken seriously by scientist and bio-technologist. In 2004, George Bush had issued a new policy to protect the countries food from terrorism. This article is important to chosen topic because the government is willing to implement a policy to protect its food from terrorism, but it is not willing to regulate or eliminate GM foods. These GM foods and crops could be just as deadly as a contaminated crop, but the government is not willing to stop production of GM foods, or even label GM products. This makes me wonder if the government has their own agenda when it comes to GM crops and foods.

Oliver, R. (2007, October 30). All About: GM Rice. Retrieved March 27, 2008 from the World Wide Web: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/10/15/eco.about.rice/


Oliver explains how over half of the world rely on rice and that in about forty years the production of rice will have to double. GM crops and foods have lead the public to believe that it can eliminate world hunger and malnutrition. This belief is false and to many environmentalists it sounds too good to be true. Farmers have been breeding rice successfully for centuries and should continue to do so. There is no known research done on the long term health affects of GM rice. In 2006 there was a scare of rice contamination that created a setback for GM industry. Even after the scare, countries still continue to produce GM products. Currently there are five countries that grow ninety eight percent of the world's GM rice. This article is important to my chosen topic because it depicts how rice is the most consumed food in the world. With that said, genetically modifying rice could have a serious impact of the human race. What if the rice we are consuming right now is contaminated and the side effects of the GM rice is an un-curable disease or even death. The GM rice could wipe out half of our worlds population. This GM rice is still being produced in five countries and is being consumed without any research of its side effects on our human race.

Reuters, R. M. (2008, March 8). Banned corn plants boosting productivity. Retrieved on March 27, 2008 from the World Wide Web: http://www.canada.com/windsorstar


This article written by Reuter was recently published in the Windsor Start. Reuter explains how a man from Mexico became the unwitting owner of his son illegal crop. He goes on to explain how the GM corn crop actually saves him money because it uses less water and less pesticides. In 2004 the Mexico's Congress passed a law to permit experimental planting of genetically modified crops, but only in controlled areas. Since 2004 the Mexican government still has yet to implement the law because the government cannot agree on how to regulate planting. One of the main reasons why government cannot agree on a controlled area where the crops should be grown is because the GM pollen can be carried for miles by the wind, and many activists fear that it will cross-pollinate with local organism in the area which could lead to extinction of certain species. Reuter's article pertains to my chosen research topic because demonstrates how one country is aware of the negative side effects GM crops could have on their country and is able to regulate a law against it.

Sadler, T. (2003). Frankenfoods: Whose Values? The American Biology Teacher, 65, 91-92.

In this study the author suggests an approach for investigating the values and ethics related to genetically modified foods. His very unique approach explores the idea of allowing teachers and students to build, analyze, and support their own standings and opinions on GM crops and foods without being educated that their particular opining is wrong or incorrect. The author suggests that teaching the public that GM foods are unnatural is an implicit suggestion and that we should develop our own interpretation on GM foods. This study is important to my chosen topic because scientists are constantly telling the public how GM crops and foods is way of the future, and that the public needs to embrace and accept GM foods. Even though scientists want the public to believe that their product is safe, in reality it has many side affects on humans and the environment. Scientist spend a lot of time on developing GM foods and not enough time studying the long term affects GM foods has on the environment and humans.

Whitman, B. D. (2002). Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful? Maryland: Proquest.

In Whitman's article she describes the advantages and disadvantages of GM foods. She discusses the pros of GM foods as an assurance to the world that there is an adequate amount of food to feed everyone. The benefits of GM foods are: pest and disease resistance, cold and drought tolerance, and alleviation of malnutrition. Whitman also discusses the cons of GM foods, which include: accidental harm to other life forms, human health risks such as allergies, unknown distress on humans, and economic concerns. She then explores that notion of government regulations on GM foods and she discovers that most countries do not mandate any type of policy on GM crops and foods. There are some places in Brazil that GM foods and crops are prohibited. In places where GM crops and foods are allowed, labelling of GM products is not always strictly enforced. This article is important to my chosen topic because it describes how genetically modified foods have the probability of managing world hunger and malnutrition. Even though some scientists believe that GM crops and foods have many advantages, the disadvantages defiantly outweigh the advantages. GM foods have been around for many years, but still there are many people of die everyday from hunger and malnutrition.

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