The nutrition and ethics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been debated for decades, eventually gaining the attention of President Obama who signed a law in 2016 requiring food manufacturers to disclose which of their foods contain GMOs. While consumer groups lauded the new law’s transparency, there are loopholes that allow manufacturers to avoid disclosing some foods that have been genetically modified. If food agencies like the Federal Drug Administration allow these types of foods to be exempt, are they really that harmful?
GMOs: Harmful or Beneficial?
The truth is humans have been genetically modifying plants and animals for thousands of years. Our ancestors did this by selectively using seeds from plants that flourished best in the soil. As each generation of crops passed, their traits became more pronounced in their offspring, resulting in bigger, more plentiful harvests.
Genetic engineering is not entirely different except for obtaining desired results through genetic manipulation by scientists instead of breeding. The genetic modification process has created larger, more robust plants and fruits and even made some immune to pests, reducing the need to sterilize crops with harmful pesticides.
The most important question posed by critics of GMOs is, “Is food that comes from GM crops different from food that comes from natural crops?” Federal food agencies evaluate GMO foods to determine if they’re healthy for consumption – if they find a food that’s been distributed to consumers isn’t fit for consumption, they often penalize the food manufacturer with fines or even legal suits. After 30 years’ worth of studies, researchers have found GMOs generally carry the same risks and benefits as non-GMO plants.
However, critics claim GMO plants made with insecticides are harmful to the human body. The genetic chemical used to kill insects is a naturally occurring chemical that destroys insects’ digestive systems when they feed on the plant, killing them in the process. However, this chemical doesn’t affect humans. Humans consume products that are toxic to insects daily, including beverages like coffee.
The Downside of GMOs
For all the good that GMOs can do, there are also negative aspects. Some GMO plants produce terminator, or sterile, seeds, meaning GMO plants are incapable of naturally reproducing, forcing farmers to purchase new seeds just to create a single generation of crops. Scientists also argue that the spreading of GMO DNA can infect other crops, however, creating buffer zones to segregate GMO and non-GMO plants can solve this issue.
Get Product Liability Representation with Hardy Wolf & Downing
Regardless of GMO safety, if you believe you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a product made by a food manufacturer, Hardy Wolf & Downing is here to represent your case. We have extensive experience in product liability cases and aggressively advocate on behalf of clients who have been injured due to unsafe products. Our firm works with qualified industry experts across the country who can provide crucial testimony to a product’s design or manufacturing defects.
Contact Hardy Wolf & Downing today to schedule a legal consultation with one of our attorneys.