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The term GM food is most commonly referring to crop plants created for human consumption using the biology techniques. A variety of techniques is used. According to experts, "GM is the alteration of the genome of plants grown for food in order to produce crops with specific advantages." (The Tomato of Tomorrow, n.d) These plants have been modified in the laboratory to improve traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content. The first transgenic plant was created in 1983 (Genetic engineering, 2000). The first commercialization of GM plant in the United States was another ten years after that (Genetic engineering, 2000). The main reason of why we need GM foods is that the number of the world population is increasing very fast. The world population has topped 6 billion people and is predicted to double in the next 50 years (Whitman, 2000). Ensuring an enough food supply for this booming population is going to be a major problem in the future. There will be more extreme weather, more demand for food, meat, and water, a changing climate. We have to look widely to find a way to solve this problem and GM foods can be one way of solving the problem so we shouldn't ban GM foods and the experiments.
GM foods also have many other advantages. GM foods provide pest resistance, herbicide tolerance, disease resistance, cold tolerance, drought tolerance, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, better quality food crops and better crop yield. Nearly 40% of the world's food crop is lost every year to insects, fungal diseases and spoilage (The Tomato of Tomorrow, n.d) these lead to the use of chemicals but by genetically modifying plantsÂ will make the farmers and primary producers do not have to use large amounts of pesticides and chemicals to the plants and the surrounding environment. Genetically modifying plants work asÂ bio herbicides and bio pesticides so it is friendly to the environment and it helps conserves the soil, water and energy. Developing crops that are resistant to specific herbicide and pesticides may decrease the amount of pesticides used in food production and the remaining levels in the environment (Genetically modified foods, 2008). Some plants are modified to yield higher protein or nutrient levels this will help to reduce malnutrition. For example, the soybean gene 'Ferritin' has been inserted in the banana cells to make protein that enhances the stores iron in banana fruit pulp (New banana breed, 2010). In Asian countries, rice has been increased with iron and vitamins that may ease chronic malnutrition (ORNL, 2008). There is also a research of the removal of allergens, such as the protein in peanuts that causes allergy to some people (Genetically modified foods, 2008) and this protein-removed peanut can be eaten by those who are allergic to peanut. The world's growing population means that we need more land to produce inexpensive, safe and nutritious foods to help feed the increasing in population. The land that can be used to grow crops must be suited for cultivation and in the future there will be less land which suited but by genetically modifying plants, the plants can be grow in the formerly harsh land. For example, GM food can create some plants that can withstand long period of high salt content in soil and ground water (Whitman, 2000). By genetically modifying plants can also make the plants strong enough to withstand the extreme weather condition, such as tobacco and potato, the unmodified seeds of tobacco and potato would normally killed by the cold temperatures but after modifying it can survive in the cold temperatures (Whitman, 2000). Countries whose lands were previously too poor to be used for agriculture would be able to grow their own food, leading to increased food security. This will make the efficient use of land. From the research, around 80% of American processed foods contain some form of genetic modification. These products include foods, feeds, medicines and vaccines (The Tomato of Tomorrow, n.d). Now there are many crops that have been modified for examples, maize or corn, wheat, rice, canola, chicory, squash, potato, soy bean and alfalfa.
GM food is a very useful technology that has such massive potential benefits which can be one way of solving the issue on food security of growing population. However, there are still some people who disagree with this. The reasons why some people don't want GM food to be allowed are because of the safety issue, accidental harm to other organism, etc. Many people afraid that GM foods will have an effect on human health, such as allergens, transfer of antibiotic resistance markers, and the other unknown effects. The World Health Organization has concluded that the risks of antibiotic resistance gene transfer to be very small. As genetically modified foods are quite new, we're not quite sure what the long term effects of these foods will be. That why we still need to do more research about it and shouldn't ban all the researches and the experiments and the governments should be involved, especially in the areas of safety testing, regulation, international policy and food labeling. People should not be scare of the new technology, I agreed that GM food should be closely monitored and regulated but that doesn't mean we have to ban all of them. I think that genetic modifying of plants has much to offer as long as we aware of the possible benefits and the problems that will followed, and that's true even for the traditional methods of farming. But people in some countries such as Australia don't have to worry about the GM foods product that they are going to consume because there is The Gene Technology Act 2000, the Gene Technology Regulator must not authorize the product unless the product are safe and free of any possible risks to protect public health and safety, and the environment (Arguments for and against gene technology, 2008). All the genetically modified foods must be tested before it can be sold in Australia and New Zealand (Arguments for and against gene technology, 2008). What GM supporters may need to do now is to guarantee the concerned public about the safety of such developments as well as how genetic modification can further be used to help people instead.Â
In conclusion, the GM foods should not be banned. People, organizations and governments should give support to the company to do research on this, for the better result in the future. If we continue the research, in the future we may have a powerful and fully developed biotechnology but if we stop here we have to find other way of feeding the ever increasing number of people in the world. So far, genetically modifying foods seems to be the most powerful and the most successful methods of all. It has many benefits to human, animals and environment. GM foods have potential to save money, eliminate scarcity, reduce hunger and malnutrition, and to help protect and preserve the environment. However, we must continue it with caution and detailed research to avoid causing accidental harm to human health and the environment. Development of GM food would possibly ensure a safe and healthy way of GM food in the market and would probably solve the problem of food security of the world's increasing population.