The consumption of genetically modified foods has been a subject of heated debate among scientists, policy-makers, journalists, and consumers. At present, many people express concerns about the safety of these products, especially long-term effects on human health. In particular, one can mention such possible threats as horizontal gene transfer and allergenicity.
Apart from that, it is often said that the risks of using genetically modified organisms for the production of food have not been fully examined because existing research methods are very limited. This is one of the reasons why this issue attracts the close attention of the public, especially medical workers. Overall, it is possible to argue that people can consume genetically modified foods because there is practically no scientific evidence which can confirm the claims about the dangers of these products.
Moreover, the goods are usually less expensive, and they can be of great use to people with low-income level. This is the main thesis that should be elaborated in more detail. However, producers must inform buyers whether they are using genetic engineering methods because consumers have a right to make an informed decision while choosing among different products. These are the main questions that should be discussed.
First of all, it is important to examine the claims about the health risks of genetically modified foods because in many cases, these claims are not supported. In particular, many journalists and consumers often speak about the possibility of horizontal gene transfer. In other words, they suppose that the genes of organisms or plants can be passed to a human or even his/her descendants. This is why this issue has often been discussed in mass media.
However, such cases have never been registered in the course of scientific studies (Shaw 271). Admittedly, researchers managed to conduct experiments on horizontal gene transfer; yet, this transfer is the result of numerous artificial manipulations that have not been observed in a natural environment (Shaw 271).
Moreover, there is no theoretical framework which can explain or substantiate the mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer from a plant to a human being. As it has been said before, such events do not take place in natural conditions. This is one of the first issues that can be identified. To a great, the allegations about the dangers of genetically modified foods are not supported by specific evidence. This is one of the main points that can be made.
Additionally, concerns have been raised about possible allergic reactions to genetically modified foods. This issue is also of great concern to medical workers and scientists because allergenicity can indeed imperil the life of a person. Nevertheless, one should mention that the consumption of many food products can entail the risk of acute allergic response (Jumba 26).
For instance, one can mention fish, wheat, eggs, soybean, or milk, and they are in no way related to genetic engineering (Jumba 26). Nevertheless, journalists do not speak about these problems. Apart from that, the producers of genetically modified foods conduct various tests which can determine whether a specific biological element can cause an allergic response (Jumba 26).
Moreover, they have developed techniques which can eliminate allergens (Jumba 26). Admittedly, scientists should conduct further studies that can examine the effects of these products. They need to take every precaution to safeguard the health of consumers. Genetically modified foods are not more dangerous than conventional foods. Therefore, there is no reason why people should refrain from buying these products. This is one of the main arguments that were put forward.
Certainly, one can object by arguing that the harmful effects of consuming genetically modified foods can manifest themselves only in the future. Similarly, it is possible to note that at present scientists may lack the technologies that can identify the side-effects of these products. Therefore, the potential dangers of genetically modified foods cannot be easily dismissed.
This is one of the issues that should not be disregarded because researchers have to recognize the limitations of their knowledge. However, this argument can be applied to different innovations that are widely used today. For example, one can mention new drugs that can benefit a great number of patients. The scientists, who conduct clinical studies, can only prove that there are no overt side-effects which can imperil the health of a person.
Nevertheless, they cannot say that a certain medication will never lead to any complications. This claim cannot be fully substantiated. However, journalists and policy-makers accept these risks. Moreover, the activities of pharmaceutical companies are considered to be quite ethical.
This problem is not widely discussed in the press. In turn, genetically modified foods are also subjected to the scrutiny that is aimed at identifying various side-effects. This is why people can consume such foods. Overall, the production of genetically modified foods conforms to the ethical standards, established in the community because researchers take sufficient care to safeguard consumers against possible risks such as allergenicity. This is one of the aspects that should be taken into account.
Moreover, it is important to mention that the use of genetic engineering enables agricultural companies to save their costs because they use plants that are more resistant to different weather conditions (Freedman 43). Apart from that, the use of these techniques can yield larger crops (Freedman 43). Therefore, the foods produced in such a way can be less expensive. This is one of their main advantages. In turn, many people with low-income level can benefit from this opportunity.
Moreover, these products can be of great value to those countries in which people suffer from starvation. So, one should not overlook the economic benefits that are brought by these technologies. Thus, the consumption of these foods can be justified. However, one should take into account that such products should be clearly labeled.
In other words, buyers should know whether they are purchasing genetically modified foods. This issue is important because a person should be able to make an informed decision while selecting among various products. This is a requirement that sellers should meet. To a great extent, this is one of the ethical obligations that they should fulfill.
This discussion illustrates that genetically modified foods can be a valid alternative to many consumers. At present, researchers often speak about the risks associated with such products. The main issue is that these concerns have not been backed up by evidence. Moreover, existing theoretical frameworks do not support the allegations regarding the risks of genetically modified goods.
Furthermore, these products can greatly benefit people when their purchasing power declines. This is why genetically modified foods can be used by modern consumers. These are the main aspects that can be identified.
Freedman, Jeri. Genetically Modified Food: How Biotechnology Is Changing What We Eat, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2009. Print.
Jumba, Miriam. Genetically Modified Organisms The Mystery Unraveled, Boston: Strategic Book Publishing, 2010. Print.
Shaw, Ian. Food Safety: The Science of Keeping Food Safe, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Print.