3 December 2003
Genetically Engineered Food Crops: Safety Overshadowing Risk
Genetically engineered (GE) food crops have caused heated debate in the food industry for many decades and have caused many consumers major concern. According to Dr. Carroll Rawn, a biology professor at Seton Hall University, genetically engineering food entails taking genes from a certain crop and inserting those genes in the DNA of another. This process changes the nucleotide sequence of the crop and, therefore, its characteristics. The debate lies in the question of whether these changes are beneficial for the productivity and quality of the harvest. Jeremy Rifkin argues in his article, “Science and Technology: O Brave New World,” that GE foods are not beneficial for the environment by stating, “Virtually every genetically engineered organism released into the environment poses a potential threat to the ecosystem” (247). On the other hand, the internet article, “New Research Confirms Environmental Safety of GE Crops,” argues, “A comprehensive review of international research conducted on areas of potential concerns related to genetically engineered (GE) crops concludes that such crops do not provide unique ecological risks and may contribute to ecological benefits such as increased biodiversity.” Increased biodiversity means an increased number and variety of crops farmers are able to produce, which has many benefits, specifically feeding starving people around the world. Thus, it is clear that, while genetically engineered food crops do introduce some dangers to consumers and the environment, their benefits, specifically pest, herbicide, and disease resistant capabilities and the new opportunities they provide through biodiversity, clearly outweigh these risks.
The ultimate goal of genetically altering food crops is to change their traits in a positive way, such as helping the crops to develop a...