The Instigator
racketguy
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
bluesteel
Con (against)
Winning
22 Points

Genetic Modified foods are Organic.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2011 Category: Health
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,144 times Debate No: 14588
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (6)

 

racketguy

Pro

This is an argument that people who claim that genetically modified foods are inorganic. All Organic labels are common in grocery markets and foodstuff stores. A foodstuff recieves the title of "Organic" if it compiles to the FDA standards which are pretty rigerous involving no use of pesticides, growth hormones(including Genetic Modification), and antibiotics. Foods that are genetically modified are organic.

Genetic Modification in foodstuffs is an on going issue on the harmful effects or "non-natural" process the food undergoes. Many falsely believe that harmful substances are added while genetic modification. Plant genes are modified in test tubes and gene modification is different than hormones because as hormones increase the growth rate of cells through stimulation, genes are naturally produced through cell division. Genetically modified foods are every bit as organic as organic foods. Genes in a plant were certainly never meant to be tampered with, however it has kept insects from infesting the plant fields and prevented mass outbreaks of low agricultural food supplies. It has grown salmon almost five times the size it normally is and who can argue that that's a bad thing? By combining the genes of a tomato plant and that of a another may improve growth rate and provide disease resistances.

Not only has genetically modified foods been a huge leap forward in the agricultural technology department, it continues to make food growth more efficient and it saves space. In Japan, where space is limited, people cultivate rice because rice is the most efficient crop. With genetic modification, Japan can keep its large population well fed and as a sidenote, they have the longest lifespan on average.
bluesteel

Con

Thanks for the debate racketguy.


Definitions

Organic means “relating to natural products” and “often certified by a regulatory body.” [1]


Burden of Proof

As instigator, my opponent has the burden to prove that all genetically modified (GM) foods are both:

1) Derived naturally

2) Certified by a regulatory body


Contention 1: Derived Naturally

GM crops are obviously not derived from natural products. Unlike with selective breeding of crops, which is natural, GM crops have sequences of DNA artificially spliced into their genomes. The DNA is usually from another species, often a bacteria or animal species.


Contention 2: Certified by a regulatory body

According to a guide on how to avoid GM foods, “The US and Canadian governments do not allow manufacturers to label something 100% organic if that food has been genetically modified or been fed genetically modified feed.” [2] My opponent is wrong – the FDA does not certify GM foods as “100% organic.”


Contention 3: GM =/= organic

My opponent’s resolution is “GM crops are organic.” We can rewrite this to “if something is a GM crop, then it is organic.” However, something being a GM crop is not a sufficient condition to make it organic; it must also be grown in the correct manner. GM crops are often grown with non-organic pesticides and thus, not all GM crops are organically grown. My opponent should have written the resolution as: “GM crops CAN BE organic.”


Contention 4: allergies

There is a reason that GM crops are not certified as 100% organic – because they can cause food-borne allergies. A study by Ordlee et al found that soybeans that were modified with a gene from the Brazil nut sparked potentially fatal allergic reactions in people who were allergic to Brazil nuts. [3] This makes sense because people are allergic to the proteins in the Brazil nut, not the nut itself, so when the GM soybeans start manufacturing those proteins, people are allergic to the soybeans as well. Certifying something as organic is the only way to help people with certain severe allergies (such as peanut allergies) avoid GM foods that may contain genes they are allergic to (such as peanut genes) because the US does not require GM foods to be labeled as “genetically modified” (due mostly to lobbying efforts by the agricultural lobbies). John Boyles, MD, says, "I used to test for soy allergies all the time, but now that soy is genetically engineered, it is so dangerous that I tell people never to eat it-unless it says organic." [5]

Even scarier, according to the Institute for Responsible Technology, “the situation [with GM crops] may be made much worse by something called horizontal gene transfer (HGT). That's when genes spontaneously transfer from one species' DNA to another. While this happens often among bacteria, it is rare in plants and mammals. But the method used to construct and insert foreign genes into GM crops eliminates many of the natural barriers that stop HGT from occurring. Indeed, the only published human feeding study on GM foods ever conducted verified that portions of the gene inserted into GM soy ended up transferring into the DNA of human gut bacteria. Furthermore, the gene was stably integrated and it appeared to be producing its potentially allergenic protein. This means that years after people stop eating GM soy, they may still be exposed to its risky protein, which is being continuously produced within their intestines.” [4] Eating a GM crop ONCE could cause you to have an allergic reaction every day for the rest of your life!

When GM soybeans were first introduced from the United States into the UK market, soy allergies suddenly skyrocketed in the UK by 50%. [6] A study by Charles Benbrook found that levels of one allergen, trypsin inhibator, were SEVEN TIMES HIGHER in GM soybeans than non-GM soybeans. [7] Obviously, people with food allergies need to know which crops are safe and need the “organic” label to tell them whether a food has been genetically modified.


Contention 5: Antibiotic resistance

According to Arpad Pusztai, Ph.D. in chemistry, “When food-crops are genetically modified . . . one or more genes are incorporated into the crop’s genome using a vector containing several other genes, including as a minimum, viral promoters, transcription terminators, antibiotic resistance marker genes and reporter genes. Data on the safety of these are scarce even though they can affect the safety of the GM crop. For example: DNA does not always fully break down in the alimentary tract. Gut bacteria can take up genes and GM plasmids and this opens up the possibility of the spread of antibiotic resistance.” [8] Without the certified organic label, people will not know whether they are ingesting crops that may transfer a deadly antibiotic resistance to bacteria in their bodies.


For all these reasons, the FDA should continue its refusal to certify GM crops as “100% organic.” I thus urge a Con vote.


[1] http://tinyurl.com...;

[2] http://tinyurl.com...

[3] J. Ordlee, et al, "Identification of a Brazil-Nut Allergen in Transgenic Soybeans," The New England Journal of Medicine, March 14, 1996.

[4] http://tinyurl.com...

[5] See supra note 4

[6] Louis J. Pribyl, "Biotechnology Draft Document, 2/27/92," March 6, 1992, www.biointegrity.org

[7] Charles Benbrook, "Genetically Engineered Crops and Pesticide Use in the United States: The First Nine Years"; BioTech InfoNet, Technical Paper Number 7, October 2004.

[8] http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 1
racketguy

Pro

Thanks for accepting the debate bluesteel. Looking forward to a good one.

You used for your definition of "organic" [Organic means "relating to natural products" and "often certified by a regulatory body." [1]]

1A. There are two problems with this. One is your use of the term "relation" to natural products. I see no reason why GM foods are not natural. As I used in my above argument, a tomato plant implanted with genes from a salmon maybe provide health benefits you would normally get when consuming a salmon, however these benefits are not derived from unnatural products. Can it not be argued that GM with genes from bacteria and fungi is natural? After all, these examples that you used in your argument "The DNA is usually from another species, often a bacteria or animal species." are all specimens that come from nature.

1B. Foods that are certified by a regulatory body are often regulated to their standards correct? Well, I would like to use a part of an article now: "The FDA's stance is that GM foods are substantially equivalent to unmodified, "natural" foods, and therefore not subject to FDA regulation. [1] GM foods are NOT subject to FDA regulation are ARE considered equivalent to unmodified foods. Therefore my opponent is false when he states "My opponent is wrong – the FDA does not certify GM foods as "100% organic.".

My opponent states: "GM crops are often grown with non-organic pesticides and thus, not all GM crops are organically grown. My opponent should have written the resolution as: "GM crops CAN BE organic."". Isn't the whole point of genetic modification to provide resistances WITHOUT the use of inorganic pesticides? Why would food developers produce a food through GM just to have it eaten by disease and insects that would normally be harmful to the organism.

Lastly, I will address the problem of Antibiotic resistance and Allergies into one.

Just as I said before the FDA does not regulate GM foods and they consider GM foods the equivalent of organic foods as long as they are grown without the use of pesticides. However, the FDA DOES require the food producers to label exactly what has been used and done to the product they are selling [1]. To better inform on the problem of potential dangers to the human body and health I quote again from the article:

"This study claimed that there were appreciable differences in the intestines of rats fed GM potatoes and rats fed unmodified potatoes. Yet critics say that this paper, like the monarch butterfly data, is flawed and does not hold up to scientific scrutiny. Moreover, the gene introduced into the potatoes was a snowdrop flower lectin, a substance known to be toxic to mammals. The scientists who created this variety of potato chose to use the lectin gene simply to test the methodology, and these potatoes were never intended for human or animal consumption."

This article supports my point that researchers will be careful not to expose human beings to harmful effects of GM through testing first on laboratory animals(a whole ethical issue that I will leave alone for now!). The probability also for something harmful to occur is also extremely slim. Scientific research can be flawed as well.

Much of your argument is based off of the definition of organic and the standards used to specify whether a product deserves the label of organic. I say that organic products are those that are derived from natural substances. DNA is actually an organic compound and the modification of it is no cause for anything to be unnatural. Therefore vote Pro.

[1]http://www.csa.com...
bluesteel

Con

Thanks racketguy.

==Rebuttal==

1A) GM foods are natural

By my opponent’s definition of “natural,” meaning essentially at some point derived from nature, then ANYTHING can be deemed “organic.” Does my opponent seriously expect you to believe that a tomato implanted with SALMON GENES is “natural”?! How about a fish with a tomato for a head, is that natural? How about a dog whose genes are altered so he grows 6 legs instead of 4, is that natural? Genetic medication is obviously not “natural” since it alters the makeup of DNA that is found un-tampered-with in nature.

At some point my opponent says that DNA is derived from proteins, which are natural. Even artificially synthesized proteins are combinations of molecules or atoms that are found in nature. By my opponent definition, artificially synthesized pesticides are “organic” because they are derived from naturally occurring atoms. But synthetic pesticides being “organic” goes against every regulatory board’s definition of the term and renders it meaningless to consumers.

Also, Princeton’s Wordnet defines “natural” as “occurring in a normal way.” [1] Plants that are produced through genetic medication, rather than normal plant reproductive processes, are by definition not produced in a “normal way.”


1B) The FDA

My opponent provides a source which says, "The FDA's stance is that GM foods are substantially equivalent to unmodified, natural foods, and therefore not subject to FDA regulation.” First of all, my opponent concedes the debate by citing this source. HIS OWN SOURCE says that GM foods are not considered natural foods, i.e. organic foods. Secondly, this source is only saying that GM foods are not subject to FDA regulation, meaning they are not subject to higher testing standards than regular food. The FDA refuses to do studies on the health risks of GM crops, due to industry pressure. However, the USDA still refuses to certify GM crops as “organic” because they are not derived naturally, it would not be truth in labeling, and it would leave consumers with no method of avoiding potentially deadly allergic reactions. My opponent’s quote is why the FDA refuses to require that GM foods be specifically labeled “genetically modified,” but that does not mean they are organic. Remember, my source said that: “The US and Canadian governments do not allow manufacturers to label something 100% organic if that food has been genetically modified or been fed genetically modified feed.” Lastly the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) and not the FDA is in charge of certifying foods as organic, so any evidence about the FDA is entirely irrelevant.


GM crops don’t need fertilizer

Some GM crops are modified to need less fertilizer, but many GM crops are modified merely to grow more quickly. There is no guarantee that even if the FDA allowed GM crops to be labeled organic, that all of them would qualify based on the agricultural techniques used to grow them.


The FDA DOES require the food producers to label exactly what has been used and done to the product they are selling [1]

I hit control F and searched every instance of the word “label” in my opponent’s source and found nothing that said that the FDA requires GM foods be labeled as genetically modified. In fact, the article says the US has a “domestic food labeling dilemma” (namely whether to require GM foods be labeled) and that the EU requires GM food labeling but not the US.


The rat study

My opponent cites a study that seems to work for my side. It found that rats had digestive tract problems when ingesting GM crops. Then my opponent’s source goes on to indict that same study, which is fine since I don’t need to cite studies with flawed methodologies. However, one flawed study for my side does not prove that as my opponent says, “researchers will be careful not to expose human beings to harmful effects of GM through testing first on laboratory animals.” In fact, his own evidence from the FDA disagrees; the FDA refuses to require that GM crops be tested to see if they are fit for human consumption. Ronnie Cummins writes, “Genetically engineered foods have not been tested to determine whether they are safe for human consumption.” [3]

In addition, more extensive studies done on hamsters found that GM foods can have extremely harmful effects. According to the Huffington Post, “The third generation of hamsters fed genetically engineered soy suffered slower growth, a high mortality rate, and a bizarre birth defect: fur growing in their mouths. Many also lost the ability to have pups.” [2] This study shows that GM foods may lead to hair growth in our mouths and infertility. If labeling of GM food is not going to be required, at the very least, GM foods should not be labeled as “organic.”

Extend my study that people with Brazil nut allergies became allergic to soybeans implanted with Brazil nut genes. Extend the evidence that soybean allergies shot up 50% in the UK when GM soybeans were introduced from the US. Extend the study that found that GM soybeans contain 7 times the allergens as non-GM soybeans.


“DNA is actually an organic compound and the modification of it is no cause for anything to be unnatural.”

Then it is “natural” for radiation to alter our DNA and cause our cells to become cancerous. It is “natural” for toxic dumping in rivers to alter the DNA of frogs and cause them to grow 3 eyes instead of two. Cloning would then be “natural.” Altering human DNA to create someone with two heads would be “natural.” Obviously, my opponent’s definition of natural is absurd to the utmost degree.


GM crops are unnatural and dangerous. Allow consumers to avoid them by buying USDA “certified organic” foods. Vote Con.


[1] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

[2] http://tinyurl.com...

[3] http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 2
racketguy

Pro

Thanks for the speedy reply bluesteel.
First matter of buisness is correcting that citation error. I didn't realize I had not cited it but here it is now.
http://www.fda.gov...
My apologies if it was confusing or didn't make sense. You will find all the info I used under the "Ingredients List" Sub

My opponent has convinced me of his side of the debate. I concede. Thanks bluesteel for a good one. Please vote Con.
bluesteel

Con

Thank you for the concession racketguy.

Thank you all for reading.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro concedes in the final round. Con had an abundance of good quality sources, which Pro could not match.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
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m93samman
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J.Kenyon
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Atheism
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