Genetic Modified Food (GM Food) Essay Example

7GENETIC MODIFIED FOOD

Genetic Modified Food

Genetic Modified Food

Genetic modified organisms can be defined as organisms such as food crops that their genes have been altered so that they acquire new characteristics. The changes made to such foods include resistance to pests and diseases, greater absorption of light, stronger tolerance for climate, different ripening speeds to name a few (Asher, 2014). Such changes lead to higher living standards, increased incomes, better productivity and improved environmental outcomes. Despite enjoying the success of the new ideas, products and technology, many people in Australia fear these changes will turn into agriscience backwater. The concept of genetic modified food is considered by some people as a bad idea and some states in Australia have banned the production of crops not native to the country (Asher, 2014). Suffocating regulations and state-based marketing restrictions undermines Australia’s ability to hold on to the GMOs concepts. For this, Australia has grown to become GM change laggard. This paper will urge some reasons why Australia should embrace the GMOs concepts.

There has been a debate about the safety of genetic modified food. According to a poll from Pew Foundation, a large number of scientists, almost 90% consider GM food to be safe (GM, 2015). Scientists argue that every food that exists has been modified in some way. Many years ago our ancestors undertook cross mutation of corn to form different corn varieties to yield better quality harvest. Generally, after more than 40 years of commercial use in cheeses, wine etc. and after 20 years of research and rigorous peer review by scientists, every major scientific firm across the globe has concluded the genetic modifies crops are safe to eat (GM, 2015). However, there are a number of people who are upset of the new technology embraced by people. Therefore, they see new technology interacting negatively with nature. The psychology of risk perception notes that people are more afraid of human-made risks more than natural risks. This is why some people perceive genetic modified food as unsafe for consumptions. Since GM foods are new in the market, regulators take precautions when assessing their safety quality. FSANZ is responsible for carrying out safety assessments where new genetic modification is assesses individually with regard to its potential impact on the safety of people (FSANZ, 2015). The GM food is compared to similar, commonly eaten foods from nutritional, toxicological, essential point of view. Any differences detected between GM foods and commonly consumed foods are examined to find out if they pose any safety concerns. When GM foods cause any unexpected effects to people such as allergic reactions, they would not be approved. Nevertheless, to date no safety concerns have been identified.

One of the major risks facing Australia is its inability to embrace the latest Genetic Modified Technology (Asher, 2014). It risks losing its international competitiveness, it ability to unlock its agricultural potential and its agriculture’s best scientists. International agriculture markets are very competitive and thus increasing productivity is vital for maintaining and boosting long term market share. Therefore, if Australia does not embrace the world’s best practice, it would lose international market share to its competitors. One important characteristic of the Genetic modified concept is its ability to positively change the nature of organisms (Asher, 2014). GM technology open up new areas of agriculture, kill pests and diseases, lift agricultural yields, help gains fix their nitrogen to name a few. For instance, with regard to rice in Australia, 40 per cent of the harvest is lost to disease (Ronald, 2015). With the GM technology, a gene can be engineered into rice variety that is susceptible and highly resistance to pests and diseases. GM provides an opportunity where one is able to grow what he or she wants in the most economically possible way. Australia will be amongst the successful agricultural producers if it plays a host to the best agricultural technology. In contrast, there are some sources that consider GM as a dangerous technology. For instance, the use of GM technology has led to low quality food in South Africa (GM, 2015). It is thus considered expensive and reduces bargaining power of small farmers. However, these arguments are based on short-term considerations but do no not account for long-term benefits. GM technology can be used to solve long-term agricultural problems in general.

GM technology is an important tool that will solve future agricultural challenges. In 30 years to come, the population of people will be more than nine billion and the demand for quality, quantity and diversity of food will grow dramatically. This is why GM is considered an important tool that will assist humanity solve future challenges (Pazanno, 2012). However, for small-scale farmers with little margin for risk, GM technology is problematic. To start with, these farmers are threatened by the large-scale farmers in competing for prices. GM technology is within a public institution that lacks control and transparency (GM, 2015). Nevertheless, such arguments are not helpful since it is founded upon present day observation. As problems become big, the toolbox should also be expanded. Certainly, the way this technology was initially developed could somehow exclude some parts of the population. However, the response is not intended to suppress the technology but to make farmers have access to it and benefit in return (GM, 2015).

To sum it up, the genetic make-up of plants and animals have been manipulated in generating traditional cross bleeding. Australia lags behind in implementing the GM technology. GM foods have been reached and found to be safe by a number of scientists. Besides, although some farmers consider GM technology as dangerous, it is an important tool and will be able to address future agricultural problems owing to the increasing population and demand for quantity and diversified food. GM technology has the ability to lead to higher long standards, increased farm incomes, lower input costs among other benefits. Even though its concepts and features are new, fundamental nature remains the same and represents the future revolution in agricultural affairs. For the last 20 years, Australia has ignored the GM technology reality. This situation should not continue any longer and it is time to join the revolution.

References

Asher Judah 2014, Time for Australia to join the GM revolution, Abridged version, retrived from: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=16899&page=0

FSANZ 2015, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), retrieved from: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/gmfood/gmoverview/Pages/defaul

GM 2015, Is opposition to genetically modified food irrational? Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-32901834

Pazzano, C 2012, ‘Factbox: GM foods in Australia’, SBS, 15 November, viewed ???, <

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2012/11/15/factbox-gm-foods-australia>.

Pamela Ronald 2015, The Case for engineering our food. Ted talk. Retrived from: (http://www.ted.com/talks/pamela_ronald_the_case_for_engineering_our_food/transcript?language=en)