Figure 3: Information given to participants. Anti-biotechnology Information
The following is a collection of statements and information on genetic modification from Greenpeace, a leading environmental group.
Genetic modification is one of the most dangerous things being done to your food sources today. There are many reasons that genetically modified foods should be banned, mainly because unknown adverse effects could be catastrophic! Inadequate safety testing of GM plants, animals, and food products has occurred, so humans are the ones testing whether or not GM foods are safe. Consumers should not have to test new food products to ensure that they are safe.
The process of genetic modification takes genes from one organism and puts them into another. This process is very risky. The biggest potential hazard of genetically modified (GM) foods is the unknown. This is a relatively new technique, and no one can guarantee that consumers will not be harmed. Recently, many governments in Europe assured consumers that there would be no harm to consumers over mad-cow disease, but unfortunately, their claims were wrong. We do not want consumers to be harmed by GM food.
Genetically modified foods could pose major health problems. The potential exists for allergens to be transferred to a GM food product that no one would suspect. For example, if genes from a peanut were transferred into a tomato, and someone who is allergic to peanuts eats this new tomato, they could display a peanut allergy.
Another problem with genetically modified foods is a moral issue. These foods are taking genes from one living organism and transplanting them into another. Many people think it is morally wrong to mess around with life forms on such a fundamental level.
GM foods are being pushed onto consumers by big businesses, which care only about their own profits and ignore possible negative side effects. These groups are actually patenting different life forms that they genetically modify, with plans to sell them in the future. Studies have also shown that GM crops may get lower yields than conventional crops.
Genetically modified foods could pose major environmental hazards. Sparse testing of GM plants for environmental impacts has occurred. One potential hazard could be the impact of GM crops on wildlife. One study showed that one type of GM plant killed Monarch butterflies.
Another potential environmental hazard could come from pests that begin to resist GM plants that were engineered to reduce chemical pesticide application. The harmful insects and other pests that get exposed to these crops could quickly develop tolerance and wipe out many of the potential advantages of GM pest resistance.
Figure 4: Information given to participants, pro-biotechnology information
The following is collection of statements and information on genetic modification provided by a group of leading biotechnology companies, including Monsanto and Syngenta.
Genetically modified plants and animals have the potential to be one of the greatest discoveries in the history of farming. Improvements in crops so far relate to improved insect and disease resistance and weed control. These improvements using bioengineering/GM technology lead to reduced cost of food production. Future GM food products may have health benefits.