By Krista Rich
The constant debate over GMO chemicals have been a livid argument among society. Genetically modified organisms change certain genes of an organism to improve the quality of the product, but these items can possibly have unknown effects to the human body.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have had their genetic structure altered, with a technique called gene splicing; the gene adds, removes, or modifies traits in the organism. Genetic modifications to these products alter the nutritional content, storage ability, or even the taste. GMOs are used in foods such as corn, strawberries, soy bean, grains, and other items grown from the land. “I believe any foods with a long shelf life at grocery stores have GMOs,” says Freshman Tommy Saunders. So most teenagers feel GMOs aren’t being used in the important foods, so why worry? Consumers are unaware that these chemicals are close to being contained in the foods they purchase.
Using GMO chemicals are highly beneficial to farmers, because they can produce larger quantities in a less amount of time and reduce pesticides. Plus most crops do not grow perfect, so farmers trash most of the production or sell them anyway and the consumers are disappointed. According to Gale Power Search, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) saw this problem and decided to evaluate the tomato with GMO chemicals. Since tomatoes tend to ripen fast or spoil as they are sent across the country, scientists spliced the gene and a more firm tomato was grown. Now farmers, especially those in poor countries like the Philippines, find it ridiculous to not use genetically modified organisms, because all of their problems are solved!
On the other hand, these chemicals are a possible hazard to humans. There are many health risks, and the GMO outcomes have yet to be tested. Some theories say genetically modified crops can be cancerous, cause diseases like diabetes, birth defects, or they can trigger allergies. Most people feel they should not risk their health for farmers’ benefits. Junior Jillian Mignogna says, “I don’t want ‘larger than regular corn’ to give to my future children birth defects.” Another argument says that inserting crops with GMOs cost just as much, if not more than throwing away the unsatisfying products without altered genes.
A big portion of consumers are not aware genetically modified organisms are used in the products they purchase. GMOs have been in use for almost 20 years now, so teenagers’ bodies are almost used to these chemicals. But why are food companies not labeling GMO uses on the packages? They are afraid the customers will be tuned off by the usage of these altered food items because they don’t know the effects. “Food companies should label the items with GMOs,” said Freshman Ciara Spencer, “because we should know what we are consuming!”
Although, some young people’s bodies are practically immune to the GMOs, there are still many dangerous possibilities. Debates over why the chemicals’ effects are just now being brought up are a constant controversy. But if the genetically modified organisms have had no effects so far, could they really be that harmful?