Genetically Modified Foods - Sociology - Research Paper

3174 words - 13 pages

Genetically Modified (GM) Foods
Course: SOCI2374

Abstract
Genetically Modified (GM) Foods have been on the market since 1994. Created by introducing alterations in the genetic matter (DNA) of the organisms: plants or animals, in contrast with traditional cross-breeding, genetically engineered foods are developed for numerous reasons such as health benefits to human beings, improving the shelf life of products, and, enhancing flavor. However, people around the world are skeptical about this new innovation as its long-term effects are unknown since it has been around for merely two decades.

This essay outlines the advantages as well as the issues with GM Foods while assessing the sociological aspects of the foods.
Keywords: Genetically Modified Foods, GM Foods, GMOs, transgenic foods, genetic engineering, biotechnology, bioengineering, advantages, disadvantages, safety, environment, food security, labeling, regulations.

Genetically Modified (GM) Foods
As defined by The World Health Organization (2015), genetically modified (GM) foods are foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, for example, through the introduction of a gene from a different organism. Genetically modified foods can also be referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or sometimes as transgenic foods because of the genetic or DNA transfer which occurs during genetic engineering or genetic modification or biotechnological research. GM foods were officially introduced to the public in 1994 when the first genetically modified food, known as the Flavr Savr tomato was approved for release (Clive, 1996). Most genetically modified crops are grown in North America, but large areas of cultivation are found in Argentina, Australia, China, France, Mexico, and South Africa (Flavell, 1999: Nelson et al., 1999; Persley & Doyle, 1999). Ever since GMOs have been introduced in the main human food supply chain, their advantages and disadvantages have been analyzed. Some assets of genetically modified foods are the health benefits they provide to human beings, improved shelf life of the products as well as their versatile properties in which they can make things better such as their contribution to pharmaceuticals: pharmacrops. However, GM foods also have their downsides. Some of them include environmental impacts such as increased herbicide use, super weeds, and superbugs. Some sociological aspects of GM Foods such as safety, food security, regulations and labeling, and if people choose them over traditional foods.

The first sociological aspect that is outlined in the safety of GM foods in terms of scientific research as well as public talk. The public talk involves a number of non-scientific factors such as the opinions of people on GMOs. The article The Risks and Benefits of Agricultural Biotechnology by Napolean K. Juanillo examines how considering both scientific talk and public talk can lead...

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