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Genetically Modified Foods - A look into the lack of knowledge, and hence the need.

This node is U.S. centric. First it is important to point out that (Organic) does not mean (Not Genetically Modified). Organic means containing carbon. Any time a man sits down to eat a tomato, he doesn't want to have to think what is in his tomato. He doesn't want to wonder why it tastes good. He doesn't want to ponder what consequences it holds. If this tomato was homegrown by him, he'd get what he wanted, but it wasn't. Was this tomato genetically modified, instead of homegrown by a farmer? This man doesn't know, in fact no one does because genetically modified foods are not labeled, tested, sorted, or even regulated. Genetically Modified foods should be labeled, ought to be brought to the attention of the people by the government, and should have more explanation and testing. Genetically modified foods should have additional government regulation done by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for the protection of knowledge and health of the United States of America.

The Food and Drug Administration currently is the only governmental section in the United States to follow any information concerning genetically modified foods. They don't do much, in fact according to the FDA, they aren't even required to make any review or test on GM foods unless voluntarily requested by the company producing the GM product. This should change. The FDA is definitely the best organization to do more - they monitor our foods and drugs. Genetically modified foods are a result of drugs and foods together. People have a right to know what is in their favorite produce and foods, as little is known to the public now. This is why GM foods should be labeled, to help consumers know what is GM and what is not, as of now both are mixed together.

A genetically modified food is, essentially, a plant that has had a gene altered to a scientist's opinion or want. Ever since the latter part of the 19th century, when Gregor Mendel discovered that characteristics in pea plants could be inherited, scientists have been improving plants by changing their genetic makeup. Typically, this was done through hybridization in which two related plants were cross-fertilized and the resulting offspring had characteristics of both parent plants. Breeders then selected and reproduced the offspring that had the desired traits. This at first does not sound bad, but when taken into account what genes are being added or changed, it is.

The United States is one of the only major power countries in the world to not label their GM products. Almost all of Europe does, and as a result GM foods are minimally purchased or used. They like the homegrown idea. Nearly all the world's GM foods are distributed to the US. Today, to change a plant's traits, scientists are able to use the tools of modern biotechnology to insert a single gene, or, often, two or three genes--into the crop to give it new, "advantageous characteristics." Most genetic modifications make it easier to grow the crop. About half of the American soybean crop planted in 1999, for example, carries a gene that makes it resistant to an herbicide used to control weeds. About a quarter of U.S. corn planted in 1999 contains a gene that produces a protein toxic to certain caterpillars, eliminating the need for certain conventional pesticides. Who would want this in their food, pesticides and toxins and other chemicals? People should know not only if their food is genetically modified, but how it is modified for their health!

The FDA gives the following United States figures: Since 1997 25% of all American agricultural lands, (70-80 million acres), have been converted to raise GM crops, and 77% of the worlds GM foods are grown in the United States. The USA has a large percentage of its foods Genetically Modified. Consumers ought to know this. The FDA has put concerns out for our safety, and gives these figures to show how much of our food has been altered. There should be further testing on these products to see if they are even safe for our health. GM foods are relatively new, not even a decade old in mass production. It takes many years to prove a scientific theory, or prove something is safe for the public. Time is a factor that should be played out, and used by the government under the FDA to further test foods for safety. No out of hand production of GM foods would continue if the public was involved. It ought to stop here and now, and let the FDA control it for our safety.