Is it safe or not?
Naturally, as consumers we are first and foremost concerned about the safety of transgenic foods. There have been many claims made about the adverse effects of eating GMOs. But there seems to be little scientific evidence to back those claims. Regulating authorities seem to agree that genetically engineered produce is safe to eat. Is it all a cover up? You'll get a broad range of answers7, depending on who you ask.
To complicate the issue further, many scientists blame the HT varieties for causing the real harm. Researchers link GMOs with all sorts of problems from Autism to sleep disorders to inflammatory bowel disease8. The issue is not with the altered genes or their resulting proteins. Rather those GMOs containing "HT" genes allow our food to be sprayed with the herbicide glyphosate, the active chemical found in Roundup.
Glyphosate has been shown to be toxic to human placental cells. And those toxic effects increase "with concentration and time or in the presence of Roundup adjuvants. Surprisingly, Roundup is always more toxic than its active ingredient."9 The residues from Roundup persist in the harvested crops. For example, glyphosate and its breakdown product was detected in GMO cultivated soy beans10. But neither organic nor conventionally cultivated crops showed such contamination.
Something else to ponder is that glyphosate is a registered antibiotic. Doctors are trying to reign in the use of prescribed antibiotics. People are avoiding meat and dairy from antibiotic fed animals. But meanwhile, farmers are spraying a known antibiotic all over the ground. What damage do you think this is doing to the microbes in our soils? What about the beneficial bacteria in our own digestive systems?
Even if you feel that consuming non-HT GMOs is safe, there is reason for questioning some practices of modern agriculture.
Should safety be the only question?
What if 100% of all scientists in the whole world agreed conclusively that all GMOs on the market are completely safe? What if there were ZERO complications, including NO allergic responses? Would this lay the topic to rest?
Perhaps there are other questions worth asking.
GENE OWNERSHIP: Should anyone be entitled to own a patent on life? If a patent owner's GMOs pollinate an organic growers field, who is at fault? Should the patent owner sue the organic farmer for infringement? Or should the organic farmer sue for contamination? It's like the owner of an iMac having their OSX system infected by a virus that automatically installs Windows. And then Microsoft comes to your house demanding that you pay a licensing fee!
Lifeforms proliferate and spread beyond the scope of our control.
ETHICS: This is a matter of personal opinion. But my view on this issue really centers around the ethics of genetic engineering. Just because we CAN do something, does that necessarily mean we SHOULD?
On one hand, I love science and what it teaches us about the world and our universe. But on the other hand our capabilities should not be the sole factor limiting our actions. Understandably, many people have a different view, especially on GMO technology. But consider a different subject matter.
What about human cloning? What if we could successfully clone a human with ZERO side effects, even enhancing the clone? Should we do it? Would that be ethical? Would it be wrong to create a clone of Elvis Presley? Who determines this? The next of kin? Would you want a clone of YOU, walking around committing crimes?
Science can be used for learning and for betterment of humanity. But humans inevitably debate whether a certain application of science is right or wrong. Is it moral? We each have our own thoughts, based upon our world view.
I believe humans are stewards or caretakers of this planet. It's one thing to research and learn about the fundamental mechanisms upon which life is built. It's another thing to assume a role that was never intended for us. To work outside of the framework of natural reproduction or propagation is a little presumptuous.