The Monster of our Generation

In Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein, a doctor unknowingly creates a monster by piecing together dead body parts. When his creation starts killing off his loved ones, he discovers that science can create a danger to society.

Genetically modified (GM) foods are the hidden monsters of our generation and American consumers deserve to know what foods they eat are genetically modified.

In order to produce plants that are genetically resistant to pests – in a quicker, simpler way than natural breeding – plant geneticists discovered a way to isolate a specific gene and insert it into another strand of DNA, creating genetically modified foods, according to Deborah Whitman, senior editor of CSA Life Sciences. The process sounds innocent, but studies have shown that GM foods pose great health and environmental risks.

For example, a 2011 review by Environmental Sciences Europe found that liver and kidney problems resulted from genetically modified corn and soybean diets in several studies on mammals. In 2005, research by the Russian Academy of Sciences found that “more than half of the rats that were fed GM soy died within the first three weeks of life, six times as many as those born to mothers fed on non-modified soy,” according to projectcensored.org. Furthermore, since the introduction of GM soy in the United Kingdom, there has been a fifty percent rise in soy allergies in people, according to globalresearch.ca.

Genetically modified foods also pose a risk to the environment, including unintended harm to other organisms, according to Whitman. The genetically modified plants can also cross breed, creating potentially harmful combinations of genes which could not occur naturally.

Yet GM foods are prevalent in Americans’ diet – they are in roughly 80 percent of the processed foods sold in the United States and Canada, in the form of corn, soy, cottonseed or canola, according to the Mother Nature Network. Therefore, most Americans have eaten genetically modified foods, but are not aware of it, since the FDA does not require genetically modified foods sold in the United States to be labeled.

Genetically modified food advocates claim that the disease and pest resistant plants would help end world poverty by creating a more stable and efficient food source. But just as pests developed resistance to DDT, insects might resist genetically modified crops as well, according to Whitman.

The European Union has already begun to enforce regulation on genetically modified foods, so the United States should follow suit. The FDA should enforce stricter regulation on GM foods, and should not put them on the market if studies point to health and environmental risks. There is no reason why American consumers should let companies trick them into unknowingly consuming genetically foods that are potentially harmful to them. Citizens should ask more questions and spread the word about GM foods; as consumers we have a right to know what it is in the food that we buy.

In Frankenstein, when the monster sees that its actions have led his creator to a depressing death, it realizes its mistakes and commits suicide. But this genetically modified food monster unfortunately does not have a heart or a soul – all the more dangerous to you and our earth.

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