Should GM (Genetically Modified) Foods be Abolished?

In my opinion, yes because it’s not natural. We do not eat GM foods (we actually don’t, we go to whole foods), and we’re healthy. Shouldn’t we let the food stay the way it is. It can have negative impacts on the environment as well. Well, that’s my argument. What do you guys think?

Define ‘natural’.

Isn’t just about all food “genetically modified?” Are hybrids not genetic modifications?

The “problem” isn’t the modifications, it’s the monopoly on the seeds held by Monsanto and others. We are just asking for a point source failure.

What, do you think plants like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts evolved naturally?

I’d argue that most of what humans have eaten since the advent of agriculture and domestication is genetically modified. We just used the much slower method of selective breeding for most of our history. Now genetic modification can be done in a laboratory, which makes it seem a little scarier. But we’ve been modifying food crops and food animals for millenia- maize is certainly not natural- it can’t reproduce without human intervention- and a Holstein cow is not going to last very long “in the wild”.

So no, I don’t think it should be banned. In fact, genetic modification has the potential to save millions of lives from starvation and malnutrition. It should go through the same tests that other foods go through to determine that they’re safe.

You seem to be operating under the misapprehension that Whole Foods doesn’t sell GM foods. Well, you’re wrong.

That you don’t realize that everything you eat, including the animals you eat, have all been genetically modified and that this has been the case for thousands of years. It’s just that, as pointed out earlier, we use quicker methods than selective breeding and grafting the clippings of one plant onto another these days.

If we had ‘let food stay the way it is’ humans wouldn’t have ever been able to spread across the globe…and we’d still be hunting and gathering today, which would kind of suck.

So? What’s so great about “natural”? I challenge you to name a dozen foods you eat that ARE natural, meaning that they are unchanged from their wild, undomesticated relatives. Here are some other things that are natural: cancer, viruses, dying at the age of 30, arsenic, and diarrhea.

If you’re going to assert that natural is better, you need to have some definitions and data to back it up.

This is not data. This is an anecdote. This is completely and totally worthless as evidence. At best, you have correlation, not causation, and a sample size of one is going to convince exactly nobody.

Why? If we were trying to feed the planet on the original wild strains, we’d all starve. We’ve been altering our food species for millenia, which has lead to greater yields, superior nutrition, and better taste. Again, if you think this is true, provide an argument. You don’t get to just say “this is how it is” and leave it at that.

Such as?

I think it sounds like you’re a 14-year-old boy who doesn’t really know what he’s talking about.

Neither are antibiotics. Or computers.

Organic food has negative impact on the environment. If the whole world went organic we wouldn’t be able to feed everyone.

Edit: On posting smeghead says everything I want to say, including the cunning insult-thats-technically-within-the-rules I included in my first draft that I removed before submitting. Darnation!

Background on genetically modified foods. It bothers me a great deal that some segments of the left think their vaguely defined or imaginary concerns about purity and “nature” are more important than technology that can prevent starvation and malnutrition and disease for millions of people or cut down on the use of dangerous pesticides. It’s the ultimate first world problem. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a well reasoned explanation of why these foods and products are supposed to be dangerous (sometimes there’s an intimation that manipulating genes is going to magically give people cancer) and there’s the suggestion that it’s not natural even though it’s a more precise version of crop and animal breeding that people have been doing since civilization appeared. Mix in mistrust of corporations and there you go.


Tone it down. Maybe you’re not trying to insult the OP (by using his “sounds like” phrasing) but in GD it’s better to refrain from this kind of comment.[/del]

I used to love the irony of my sister and her crowd expounding on this subject and pining for ‘natural food’…while scarfing down some ears of (organic of course) sugar corn. :stuck_out_tongue: They would look over at me in such genuine puzzlement as I fell off my chair howling with laughter…

The OP is a 14 year old boy.

Cheerfully withdrawn.

I don’t know about the OP, but I don’t want to live in a world without fruit salad trees, which would not be possible but for grafting.

It would surely suck for us, but it’s arguable that it might have been better for the rest of the planet.

I do worry about GM; among other dangers, it tends to reduce biodiversity. Of course, it’s just another step in the farming/breeding revolutions which have changed the planet and led to today’s high human population. In a vicious cycle, the high population means we need technologies like GM.

The argument that early man cultivated cereals, cauliflower, etc., therefore GM is good doesn’t pass the sniff test. One might as well claim that if a glass of wine is good, then we should all drink a barrel of whiskey.

However, I’m somewhat libertarian (very tiny L, please :smiley: ) and don’t know how or whether to outlaw GM in general. I do think there are specific paths that should be discouraged or prohibited…

I strongly agree. Very pernicious – and where government regulation would be appropriate – is Monsanto’s combination of Roundup™ herbicide and Roundup Ready™ crops.

We are going over some of the same ground covered in the Monsanto thread, but what the irrational GM fears boil down to is:

  1. Bad things have happened as a result of technologic advances (true).
  2. Natural = good (generalization that is untrue in many cases; “unnatural” (vaccines, antibiotics, high-yielding crop varieties for instance) is often much better).
  3. New technologies are to be feared and avoided, so we can return to the good old days (which did not exist, at least in the rosy perspective of people ignorant of history).

Concerned enough about potential abuses and unforseen effects to want careful regulation of new GM introductions and good post-approval monitoring? Great, I agree.

Issuing blanket condemnations of new molecular breeding techniques which rely on falsehoods, gross exaggerations and appeals to paranoia? You’ve lost me there.

There are certainly legitimate concerns about GM technology that can and should be addressed and discussed. As with any new technology, it can be used for good things, bad things, and everything in between. However, the OP’s list did not, in my opinion, include any of those legitimate concerns, choosing instead to focus on vague, undefined, and unscientific scariness.

Quite frankly, without humans the rest of the planet doesn’t matter in the least.

“Natural” as synonymous with “healthy” bugs the hell out of me. As many have pointed out already, many unnatural things clearly have health benefits (vaccines, antibiotics). Allow me to argue the other side.

Potatoes are natural plants. They’re nice and healthy. They’ll also kill you. They’re part of the Solanaceae family, a group of perfectly natural plants that can poison you. Potato leaves and stems are poisonous. You can probably get away with eating a leaf, but I suggest you don’t make a salad from them. Potatoes have been bred and manipulated, so let’s move to a more natural plant in the same family: belladonna, or deadly nightshade. A single leaf can kill an adult. It was even a poison of choice in Ancient Rome.

My other favorite natural killer is a quirk of my profession and location. I do health risk assessment in California, where we have soils rich in arsenic. At naturally occurring levels, arsenic concentrations exceed health based cleanup standards. That is to say, naturally occurring arsenic in California soils results in an excess cancer rate greater than one in a million. (Regulators have recognized this pitfall and have ways of screening arsenic out to recognize sites where land users should be responsible for cleaning up arsenic contamination from cases where only background levels exist.)

I’ll refrain from my “all natural” labeling rant, but please stop equating “natural” and “healthy.” There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about GM foods, but “they’re unnatural” is a very poor reason.