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Genetically Modified Organisms

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1. Introduction

Appreciating life is not as simple as it once was. An apple a day will no longer keep the doctor away because that very apple may have endured a scientific procedure known as genetic engineering. According to the Associated Press (AP) “[there is] a clear link between the use of pesticides sold by Monsanto and a growth in health problems in Argentina.” During Dr. Damian Vernassi interview with the Associated Press, he underlined the potential health risks that are linked with genetically modified organisms. Dr. Vernassi who is a member of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rosario identified that. “glyphosate, a synthetic compound, which is marketed as a safe herbicide by manufacturers, actually poses serious health hazards confirmed by both laboratory and epidemiological studies.” Some of the effects include endocrine disruption, DNA damage, cancer, birth defects and neurological disorders (Openearthsource). Not only is the chemical’s residue found on GM (genetically modified) crops, it has also been detected in the air, rain and groundwater, the true toxicity of glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup—is the leading reason behind a groundbreaking approach to research and discovery. If urban communities are allowed the opportunity to learn about the harms of the food industry, then they will avoid the detrimental side effects caused by genetically modified organisms and participate in the newfound culture of urban farming. In order to completely shield Americans from the troubles of a genetically altered organism, it is necessary that they are presented with the simplicity of organic gardening in urban scenery. The harms caused by GM (genetically modified) crops and the international approaches used to limit their exposure will be underlined. As well as an urban approach to farming, that if established could improve the lives of the 79% of Americans (KFF) that live in urban communities.

Genetically modified organisms have been an ongoing discussion in the international society since the 1990’s when the regulatory framework was crafted in the European Union that created obligatory labeling for everything genetically modified organisms. Rendering to the World Health Organization: “Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be described as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not take place naturally.” The technology is often called “modern biotechnology” or “gene

technology”, sometimes also “recombinant DNA technology” or “genetic engineering”.

Figure 1. Percent of GE Crops Grown in U.S.

The World Health Organization stated that. “Biotechnology allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, also between non-related species". Labeling in the EU is mandatory for products derived from modern biotechnology or products containing GM organisms (WHO). The legislation also addresses the problem of accidental contamination of conventional food by GM material.

In 2001, the European Commission adopted two new legislative proposals on GMOs concerning traceability, reinforcing current labeling rules and streamlining the authorization procedure for GMOs in food and feed and for their deliberate release into the environment. Genetically modified foods leave a crippling effect on the world's soil. Currently, the United States is undergoing a similar process regarding GMO labeling but unlike the European Union, GMO’s is deeply rooted in American society. The release of GMOs into the environment and the marketing of GM foods have resulted in a public debate in many parts of the world. Many

fear the loss of the organic seeds and feel that in time the use and distribution of genetically modified crops will be the faith of the world.

Activist groups like the “Non-GMO project” are fighting for the purity of our food sources. They are concerned about the undesirable level of control of the seed markets by chemical companies like the world-leading producer of GM Crops, Monsanto.

Sustainability groups that focus on the agriculture and biodiversity benefit of seeds depend solely on the use of valuable crops, both in terms of good crop protection practices as well as from the perspective of society at large and the values attached to food. Interest groups like “Organic Consumers Group” fear that as a result of the interest in the chemical industry has in seed markets, the range of varieties used by farmers may be reduced mainly to GM crops. This would

impact the world’s food supply as well as the long run of crop protection. For example, with the development of resistance against insects and the grown tolerance to certain herbicides the exclusive use of herbicide-tolerant GM crops would make the farmer dependent on these chemicals. Thus, leaving the ancient practices of farming in the hands of Monsanto. These groups fear a dominant position of the chemical industry in agricultural development, a trend that is far from sustainable.

In an article written by Bryan of Colorado State University he underlined how 60-70 percent of the food available to American consumers have at least one genetically modified organism encrypted in its ingredients. Which is an unsympathetic reality because of the health risks associated with genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms have shown in lab studies their contribution to tumors, liver failure, cancer, obesity and diabetes. The use of genetically modified organism in time will destroy the earth ability to produce organic foods and human’s ability to live. (WHO) Research done on genetically modified organisms has showed that in time, humans will build resistance to antibiotics and new allergies will surface- due to genetically modified organism’s ability to alter genes. It so rich in science, yet lacking in nutrition. (SEEDS)

The only way to truly escape the harms placed on society by bio-engineered crops is to eat organic, local or learn how to plant your own fruits and vegetables. Urban farming is a futuristic approach to the benefit of safe and healthy eating. Eating fast-food is an easy way to drown under the tides of genetically engineered ingredients. However, gardening is a natural approach that is not only affordable but it also carries the same beneficial factors as buying organics. In some communities, gardening is seemed unrealistic. Yet, that is when the use of community gardens in an urban



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