Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are defined as all organisms that have their genes structures modified or have been altered via techniques of genetic engineering. Up to now, scientists have been able to modify various organisms that include plants and animals. By modifying the genetic structure of an organism, scientists aim at either improving the standard of the organism in question or increasing food productivity as a measure of enhancing food security. A good example of an animal that has been genetically modified includes GloFish, which is commonly sold as pets. Since the inception of the topic on Genetically Modified Organisms in biotechnology, the subject has been received with mixed reactions as some people support it while other are against such projects. However in recent years, the number of people against GMOs have been increasing hence raising an alarm among the government officials and bio-scientists. The negative sentiments have led to the introduction of both governmental and non-governmental organizations to try and regulate the procedures involved in the GMO process. These organizations include the United States Foods and Drugs Regulating Agency (FDRA).
This research paper focuses on various existing reasons on why the GMO projects should be regulated with an immediate effect by the government. This is in order to meet the all the needs rose by those against such developments. Solving the problem will lead to a unanimous acceptance of Genetically Modified Organisms especially for consumption purposes.
After genetic engineers indicated that they have found a solution to fight food scarcity in the globe through genetic modification processes, different stakeholders have raised their concerns on the safety of such food to ordinary citizens. They include consumers, civil societies, human rights activists, et al. These have raised the need for the government to strictly regulate the sector and come up with long-term solutions that will appeal to all consumers indiscriminately. The main reason why regulation is necessary is because the rate of food production has decreased significantly hence leaving the population at stake. This leads to the need for improved scientific methods of capable of increasing food production using the available factors of production. Though GMO is one of the best solution to a satisfied population in terms of food production, strict government regulations are necessary to ensure that not only the technology produces food products that are socially acceptable to the general public, but also uses the right procedures accepted by the law.
Some of the problems leading to low food production include prolonged drought, continued usage of traditional methods of food production especially in developing countries mainly in Africa and Asia, lack of improved and modern technology in farming, et al. Such problems are responsible for the increase of genetically modified foods and organisms to as one of the best measure to provide for the starving population. Another factor responsible for the problem is the significant increase of the world population hence the need for the technology to be included in order to enhance the capacity of production. In the long run, these have led to public complaints as individuals are not satisfied with consuming GMOs claiming that such foods are hazardous especially to health.
Why should the government regulate or control the processes involved in producing Genetically Modified Organisms?
Problems promoting government intervention
1. Economic problem
Economic related issues are some of the problems that have been raised by members of the public against the genetically modified food products. Genetically Modified Food is very expensive compared to the traditional foods. Cost is made a major factor by the existence of major players in the technological sector. For instance, most Genetically Modified Foods have patents registered by the genetic engineers who initially invented them. Such patent restrict the production process only to be conducted by the legal owner. Such restriction affects the amount of food available in the market since the few players with patents cannot produce food that can satisfy the market demand. In the long run, the market price of GMOs increases as the result of the increased demand.
Since the Production of Genetically Modified foods require extensive biological research to enhance both the quality and the quantity of production, financial resources are necessary for the process. However, various genetic engineers lack enough financial resources to fund their expensive projects which in return may help securing the population in terms of food production. This leads to the conduction of a substandard research results to production of genetically modified substances with low quality. In the long run, such problems lead to the production of small quantities of genetically modified food hence a price increase due to low availability. Producers of genetically modified foods in large quantities also require huge sums of money to assist them in their production projects. Lack of financial resources has been listed as one of the inhibitors to the production of enough food.
2. Social Problem
One of the social problems associated with Genetically Modified Foods is lack of adequate labeling in grocery stores and other food retail shops. Most consumers are not aware of whether the food products they are purchasing from a food store are genetically modified or not. The problem is due to unclear labeling on the process used in producing a given product and the food content present. On the other hand, most store-keepers and owners tend to dismiss the availability of genetically modified food in their stores in case a customer asks a question concerning GMOs. This is because they are aware that most people are not comfortable in consuming genetically modified products. Such limited access to information denies consumers the right to decide on what to take and what not to consume. Thus, the need for the government to intervene since it is a common right for every individual to use or consume products of their choice. It is also a social responsibility of every seller to disclose all the information of the product to the potential customers. This can also be termed as an ethical problem since some food producers indicates the existence of a very minimum quantity of GMOs in their products instead of stating the exact quantity.
3. Environmental Problems
Recent researches show that some forms of GMOs are environmentally hazardous as they affect other organisms in the ecosystem. For instance, caterpillars are said to be harmed by some pollen grains of genetically modified corns. The effect has raised a lot of question among renowned genetic engineers as the reasons behind such effects are yet to be discovered. It has also come into the light that some genetically modified food can harm both animals and human beings in terms of health. Other forms of GMOs are said to cause allergies, weaken immunity systems and lower metabolic process.
GMO products are said to have various effects on consumers. Some of these effects are fictional while others are realistic. Examples of these effects are economic problems where individuals fails to access enough food products due to high costs, social effects; where retailers of genetically modified food fails to indicate the existence of GMOs in retail products, and environmental problem where caterpillars have been killed in discriminatively after consuming genetically modified B.T Corns. Therefore, the need for an urgent solution.
The only solution to the current situation on GMOs is strict regulation on genetic engineering by the government. This will help not only to tame the process but also return public faith in the sector.
Government intervention in the sector is a very important step if citizens’ interests were to be safeguarded. The government should ensure that its officers are involved in all process of researching and developing genetically modified products. This is to ensure that such process strictly follows the law as stipulated in the constitution. The government should also regulate the consumption products packaging process to ensure that no genetically modified products are offered in the market without the knowledge of the consumer.
Advantages of the solution
1. Economic Advantage
The government intervention on GMOs will help in reducing the prices of genetically modified food products in the market. This is because important genetically modified food lacks in the market as a result of low production. The government intervention means that enough funds for researchers and production hence increased production. In the long run, prices will decrease hence enhancing affordability.
2. Social Advantage
The government intervention on GMOs will restore the much-needed social responsibilities in the retail sector. A law will be passed requiring that full information on the product context be disclosed to customers by retailers. The move will promote personal responsibilities as individuals will be required to cross-check the content in a product before purchasing.
3. Environmental Advantage
It is clear that the government intervention in the sector will promote conduction of high-quality researchers. This is as a result of strictness and provision of the necessary financial support. Thus, the government will influence production of genetically modified products with no side effects on the surrounding ecosystem. A good example is the production of genetically modified corns with no side-effects on caterpillars.
In conclusion, the government should consider intervening in all process involving GMOs in the country. This is because an intervention is the best solution to all problems involving GMOs. Some advantages of government intervention include reducing the prices of food related products in the market, restoring social responsibilities among food retailers and enhancing environmental preservation.