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Brandon Ilano
Professor Olliff
ENGL 115
24 November 2014
GMO Corn: Friend or Foe?
GMO corn was intended to be a good thing creation in general and an improvement in
society. These crops do have benefits such as growing faster, being stronger, and being enhanced
by vitamins. However, they came with fatal consequences and have proven to be dangerous due
to the fact that they caused cancer in the animals it was tested on and caused harm to the
environment. GMO corn has proven to do more harm than good, therefore GMO corn must be
monitored carefully in order to keep our society safe from its harmful effects. GMO is also
harmful socially, economically, and politically as well. In Michael Pollans The Omnivores
Dilemma, Pollan explains how big of a role GMO corn plays in our economy and the food we
eat as well as how it is in the majority of foods that we eat. Despite these risks and problems,
there are also many benefits to GMO corn. GMO has the power and potential to eradicate
poverty and end world hunger in many countries. The rate at which they grow is 30 times faster
than normal and they can carry nutrients that can be beneficial to the human race by limiting the
spread of human disease. GMO corn is very harmful to the human body, environment, and
economy but it also has many benefits to it as well if used properly, making it just as harmful as
it is beneficial.
It is no secret that GMO corn can significantly harm the environment. It has been proven
that GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine

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ecosystems, and soil organisms (Institute for Responsible Technology, par 8). GMO corn can
reduce bio-diversity, pollute water sources, and can cause the land to become infertile, resulting
in the land to never again be able to support life. There are records of the herbicide causing birth
defects in amphibians, embryonic death, and organ failure in other animals if eaten in relatively
small portions. GMO corn is also capable of escaping and being introduced to other areas in the
wild population, making them a harmful and dangerous invasive species of plant. If GMO corn is
monitored carefully and precautions are taken to avoid such disasters, then GMO corn will not be
as harmful and can be used for the benefits it was created for.
The cost of importing GMO corn is costly and has not solved the problems that is poverty
or world hunger. GMO corn is actually making world hunger worse, instead of trying to
eradicate world hunger as it was created to do so, GMO farmers are starving because they are
unable to able to purchase the very food that they grow. The seeds must be imported along with
the pesticides and herbicides that go with them. As a result, This makes the cost of growing the
crop very high, and rather than finding a means to lower the cost of food to make it available for
the consumers within the country, the farm owners of the developing world look to sell these
crops to the markets in the developed world, like the U.S., because consumers will pay a higher
price for the food (Genetically Modified Foods). The price of the seeds are expensive and are
expected to rise in the future, widening the gap between the rich and the poor in third world
countries. This can be disastrous to farmers who will need to buy the seeds in order to grow
them. It makes good economic sense that people with limited money to spend on food would
spend it on the cheapest calories they can find, especially when the cheapest calories- fats and
sugars- are precisely the ones offering the biggest neurobiological rewards (Pollan 108).
Economically, it is appealing to the consumer because it is so cheap which is one of the reasons

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it is so popular. However, to the people that have to grow GMO corn, it is expensive and takes a
long time to grow.
Government oversight of GMO corn is dangerously careless. The majority of the
environmental and health risks of GMO are ignored by governments superficial and safety
regulations. The FDA does not require the labeling of GMOs or a safety study, and allows
companies to put their GM foods onto the market without notifying the agency first. However, it
was revealed that the FDA was fully aware that GMOs are dangerous and can create hard-todetect side effects and unpredictable side effects. Despite the FDAs awareness, The White
House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and the agency official in charge of
policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto's former attorney, later their vice president. He's now the
US Food Safety Czar (Institute for Responsible Technology). The White House is indeed fully
aware of the harmful effects of GMO but are insisting that GMO is safe. Risk assessment and
risk management are political processes. Both processes are Difficult to determine what level of
risk is acceptable for a given potential benefit, because, while the direct benefits tend to accrue to
a small group of people, the risks of GM crop technology are widely distributed over the
population at large (Conservation Ecology). This inequality between groups is usually difficult
to resolve without establishing public institutions, as a result of the significantly difficult to
mobilize groups of people who have experienced significantly minor losses. This inequality can
further highlight the prominent roles of politics and ethics in the debate over GM crops. It is one
of the many reasons why GMO corn is so dangerous and unhealthy as a result of it still being
sold even with full knowledge of its effects.
GMO corn is generally viewed as unhealthy and is capable of causing catastrophic
damage to the human body and the environment. Many people are aware of the health concerns

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that GMO causes and they insist that they know what products being marketed contain GMO
corn in it. Public opinion surveys show that many people do not want GE food in their diet and
the vast majority of those polled are insistent that GE food must be labelled (Eisberg 1). The
state of California refused to pass a bill that would have products labeled if they did contain
GMO corn. As a result of the bill not passing, the general public is now unaware of what
products they purchase contain GMO corn or not. Many US governmental agency reports have
concluded that there must be a rigorous evaluation as well as a label of GMO products before
they are put on store shelves. Products that contain GMO corn should be label so that way,
people will be aware of what is going into their body. Without labeling what products have
GMO corn, people will continue to eat GMO corn without knowing it. Many people view GMO
corn as unhealthy and want products to be labeled so that way they do not consume products that
contain GMO corn.
One of the primary reasons people should avoid GMOs is because they have absolutely
no consumer benefits and GM ingredients will become a marketing liability because of all the
health risks. In 1999, Europe reached the tipping point after a GMO safety scandal was revealed
in the papers and it alerted the citizens to the potential dangers. They key to achieving a tipping
point for consumer in the U.S. 5% of the population needs to be non-GMO shoppers. In order for
this happen, the consumers need to be educated and be fully aware of the documented health
dangers as well as providing a Non-GMO guide to make avoiding GMO easier.
GMO corn is also used as an animal feeder and is commonly tested on rodents to see the
short-term and long-term effects it may leave. These animal feeding trials are also used to
observe unintended effects it may leave behind whether it was expected to happen or not. An
infamous study conducted by Ewen and Pusztai in 1999 reported several injurious effects in the

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gastrointestinal tract of rats (Van Eenennaam 4). Even with the full knowledge of what GMO
corn can do, as a result of the rats eating it as an experiment, it is still being processed and used
in many of the foods we eat. It is a significant reason why foods that do contain GMO substances
must be labeled before being commercialized. If there were more tests done that reports no shortterm or long-term effects on the test subjects, then GMO corn would be more beneficial and
safer.
In spite of the many health concerns of GMO corn, there are also many benefits to GMO
corn. GMOs are intended to increase crop productivity for farmers such as improving resistance
to disease, pests, and herbicides, as well as increasing nutrients, yield, and stress tolerance of
crops. The most important benefit part of GMO is the increased food security for growing
populations around the world. Biotechnology companies are hoping to create new crops that are
able to be genetically modified to be drought-and salt-tolerant or less reliant on fertilizer, which
would lead to the opening of new areas to be farmed. GM crops also decrease the potential for
the spread of human diseases because they allow growing populations to spread out rather than
concentrate in agriculturally-bound locations. Even though it can cause harmful effects to the
animals and the environment, it is still beneficial to use because it limits the spread of human
disease and can make growing GM crops easier in the most extreme locations. It can also be
genetically modified to provide better nutrients. This can be specifically helpful where there are
problems of malnutrition and it can also be used to stop world hunger. These nutrients can cause
the GM crops to grow nearly 30 times faster than normal, immunity to viruses and worm
pesticides, and can decrease the production of oil with less saturated fat, which can be both
beneficial to human health as well as the environment.

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GMO crops have been heavily criticized for being unhealthy and being harmful to the
environment. While this has been proven true, it can be limited and controlled if safe regulations
are followed. GMO have the power and the potential to end world hunger and diminish poverty
in other countries. This will take a lot of time, energy, and money and even though it will not
have many short term benefits, in the long run it can be mutually beneficial to the people who
sell GMO as well as for the people who produce and buy GMO products. GMO has proven to
just as harmful as it is beneficial.

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Works Cited
"Conservation Ecology: The Risks and Benefits of Genetically Modified Crops: A
Multidisciplinary Perspective." Conservation Ecology: The Risks and Benefits of
Genetically Modified Crops: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov.
2014.
Eisberg, Neil. "Gmos Or Not." Chemistry & Industry 20 (2011): 4. OmniFile Full Text Mega
(H.W. Wilson). Web. 22 Nov. 2014.
"Genetically Modified Foods: The Consequences of Agricultural Design." DUJS Online. N.p.,
n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
Institute for Responsible Technology." - 10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov.
2014.
Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York:
Penguin, 2006. Print.
Van Eenennaam, Alison L. "GMOs in Animal Agriculture: Time to Consider Both Costs and
Benefits in Regulatory Evaluations." Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 4.1
(2013): 37-50.