The Instigator
Yonov
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
IvaK
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

This house would ban genetically modified foods

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/10/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,327 times Debate No: 64913
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

Yonov

Pro

This first round is only for acceptance !
The second one is for presenting arguments !
The third is for rebutting opponent's arguments!
The fourth is for summarizing the whole debate - weak and strong points of your and your opponent's speeches!
I wish you good luck :)
IvaK

Con

I accept the debate. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Yonov

Pro

Definition: Genetically modified foods (or GM foods) are foods produced from organisms that have had specific changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering.
Negative impacts on GM foods:
Safe for Consumption?
The use of genetically modified plants and animals has already become commonplace in today’s society without many people being aware of it. The lack of consumer consent in the choice to eat genetically modified foods creates an ethical dilemma.

As much as “70 percent” of food prepackaged in a normal grocery store contain genetically modified foods. Are they all safe?

Safety for environment
    • Increase use of pesticidesand herbicides
      • the world’s largest supplier of genetically modified seed for crops is Monsanto, which happens to be one of the larger producers of pesticides and herbicides.
      • roundup Ready Soy fields require an average 3x as much Roundup.

  • Cross pollination

monsato's rapeseed farm

the organic farmer

Financial Impacts:
  • $200 million was invested in creating Flavr Savr, and almost non of the investmet was able to be reclaimed.
  • GM crops have cost the United States an estimated $12 billion in farm subsidies, lost sales and product recalls due to transgenic contamination
  • Massive failures in Bt Cotton up to 100% in India.
Testing, testing..Very little testing has been done on GM foods.
  • genetic engineering is a new field, and long term results are unclear
  • funding only given to tests which show positive results

Source : http://classes.soe.ucsc.edu...

IvaK

Con

I"ll present some reasons why genetically modified foods can be helpful to both the environment and people.

First, genetically modified foods have increased pest and disease resistance. Plants can suffer from infections caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, and other pathogens. Farmers typically use lots of chemical pesticides to eliminate these diseases. Consumers do not wish to eat food that has been treated with pesticides because of potential health risks, and the excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers can poison the water supply and cause harm to the environment. More resistant GM foods can significantly reduce the use of these harmful chemicals. Another example is that for some crops, it is not cost-effective to remove weeds by physical means such as tilling, so farmers will often spray large quantities of different herbicides (weed-killer) to destroy weeds, a time-consuming and expensive process that requires care so that the herbicide doesn't harm the crop plant or the environment. Crop plants genetically-engineered to be resistant to one very powerful herbicide could help prevent environmental damage by reducing the amount of herbicides needed.

Furthermore, genetic modifying can help decrease the malnutrition in third world countries. Malnutrition is common in countries where peoples rely on a single crop such as rice for the main staple of their diet. However, rice does not contain adequate amounts of all necessary nutrients to prevent malnutrition. If rice could be genetically engineered to contain additional vitamins and minerals, nutrient deficiencies could be alleviated. For example, blindness due to vitamin A deficiency is a common problem in third world countries. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Institute for Plant Sciences have created a strain of "golden" rice containing an unusually high content of beta-carotene (vitamin A).

Fianally, genetically modified foods are easier to grow, so they increase food supply. GM crops can produce harvests that last longer than traditionally grown crops, reducing the wastage of out of date food. Longer lasting products make long-distance shipping much easier. Moreover, the yields could be multiplied many times over than what is currently being produced, and in a shorter amount of time. Crops can also be modified to withstand long periods of drought or high salt content in soil and groundwater, which will help people to grow crops in formerly inhospitable places. They often require less chemicals, time and tools to grow. That makes them cheaper to produce and therefore the companies will sell them cheaper and the people will benefit from that.
Nowadays when there are so many people starving it is important that we figure out ways to produce food more efficiently.
Debate Round No. 2
Yonov

Pro

Well outlined and presented speech presented by Iva.In response I'll rebutt her arguments -

A=Iva's argument
B=My rebuttal


A=Genetically modified foods have increased pest and disease resistance.


B=Environmental hazards

  • Unintended harm to other organisms Last year a laboratory study was published inNature showing that pollen from B.t. corn caused high mortality rates in monarch butterfly caterpillars. Monarch caterpillars consume milkweed plants, not corn, but the fear is that if pollen from B.t. corn is blown by the wind onto milkweed plants in neighboring fields, the caterpillars could eat the pollen and perish. Although the Nature study was not conducted under natural field conditions, the results seemed to support this viewpoint. Unfortunately, B.t. toxins kill many species of insect larvae indiscriminately; it is not possible to design a B.t. toxin that would only kill crop-damaging pests and remain harmless to all other insects. This study is being reexamined by the USDA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other non-government research groups, and preliminary data from new studies suggests that the original study may have been flawed. This topic is the subject of acrimonious debate, and both sides of the argument are defending their data vigorously. Currently, there is no agreement about the results of these studies, and the potential risk of harm to non-target organisms will need to be evaluated further.

  • Reduced effectiveness of pesticidesJust as some populations of mosquitoes developed resistance to the now-banned pesticide DDT, many people are concerned that insects will become resistant to B.t. or other crops that have been genetically-modified to produce their own pesticides.

  • Gene transfer to non-target species Another concern is that crop plants engineered for herbicide tolerance and weeds will cross-breed, resulting in the transfer of the herbicide resistance genes from the crops into the weeds. These "superweeds" would then be herbicide tolerant as well. Other introduced genes may cross over into non-modified crops planted next to GM crops. The possibility of interbreeding is shown by the defense of farmers against lawsuits filed by Monsanto. The company has filed patent infringement lawsuits against farmers who may have harvested GM crops. Monsanto claims that the farmers obtained Monsanto-licensed GM seeds from an unknown source and did not pay royalties to Monsanto. The farmers claim that their unmodified crops were cross-pollinated from someone else's GM crops planted a field or two away. More investigation is needed to resolve this issue.

A=Genetic modifying can help decrease the malnutrition in third world countries.

B=Human health risks
  • AllergenicityMany children in the US and Europe have developed life-threatening allergies to peanuts and other foods. There is a possibility that introducing a gene into a plant may cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals. A proposal to incorporate a gene from Brazil nuts into soybeans was abandoned because of the fear of causing unexpected allergic reactions. Extensive testing of GM foods may be required to avoid the possibility of harm to consumers with food allergies. Labeling of GM foods and food products will acquire new importance, which I shall discuss later.

  • Unknown effects on human health There is a growing concern that introducing foreign genes into food plants may have an unexpected and negative impact on human health. A recent article published in Lancet examined the effects of GM potatoes on the digestive tract in rats, . 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.
A=Genetically modified foods are easier to grow, so they increase food supply.

B=
Economic concerns

Bringing a GM food to market is a lengthy and costly process, and of course agri-biotech companies wish to ensure a profitable return on their investment. Many new plant genetic engineering technologies and GM plants have been patented, and patent infringement is a big concern of agribusiness. Yet consumer advocates are worried that patenting these new plant varieties will raise the price of seeds so high that small farmers and third world countries will not be able to afford seeds for GM crops, thus widening the gap between the wealthy and the poor. It is hoped that in a humanitarian gesture, more companies and non-profits will follow the lead of the Rockefeller Foundation and offer their products at reduced cost to impoverished nations.



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SOURCE : http://www.csa.com...;!!

IvaK

Con

I will start off by answering the question that Pro raises in the first round “Safe for Consumption?” – Yes, genetically modified foods are safe for consumption. A popular claim is that there is little to no research regarding the safety of genetically modified foods but contrary to what a lot of people think there have been more that 2,000 studies that prove that GM foods are safe.(1) Pro gave an example with modified corn that was found in stores, which were never intended for human consumption, but were designed specifically for pig feed. In my opinion that’s just bad regulations. It’s the store’s fault for selling food not suitable for humans, and the governments fault for not having strict enough regulations, but the fact that the food was genetically modified has nothing to do with it. Most countries have a strict control over foods and would not allow something like that to happen. He also gave an example with BT toxin which causes allergies and other responses,but people are allergic to all sorts of things and that doesn’t mean we should stop selling them. You can be allergic to chocolate, nuts, etc. but we don’t label chocolate and nuts as “harmful” and “dangerous” just because some people are allergic to it. If foods are labeled properly and it’s clearly stated that they have been genetically modified there will be no problem for people allergic to them to avoid them.


Pro’s second argument is that GM foods have negative examples on the environment. He says that genetically modified foods will increase the use of pesticide herbicides but in the 2nd round I actually proved that GM foods can help reduce the use of pesticides.


Pro’s third argument was that genetically modified food is bad for the economy. He gave an example with Flavr Savr which invested $200 million and weren’t able to reclaim the investment. I think that just because some companies made some bad investments it doesn’t mean that there’s no potential in genetically modified foods. In the previous round I explained why genetically modified foods are easier and cheaper to produce. Pro also stated that genetic engineering is a new field, and long term results are unclear. But does he mean to say that we shouldn’t explore any new fields because they may have some harmful sides? It’s only natural that there will be some failures in the beginning of the GMO industry, but I think that with some testing and experimenting genetically modified foods will become the future way of feeding the evergrowing human population and in the long run there will definitely be much more benefits than risks.


In response to my first argument Pro said that genetically modified foods may cause unintended harm to other organisms. He gave example with a study about monarch caterpillars, yet he stated that “This study is being reexamined by the USDA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other non-government research groups, and preliminary data from new studies suggests that the original study have been flawed. Currently, there is no agreement about the results of these studies, and the potential risk of harm to non-target organisms will need to be evaluated further.” With that Pro questions the reliability of his own argument by suggesting that the study he has presented as proof may be flawed. Because of the fact that the study is not reliable I will not put any effort in trying to rebutt it. I advise Pro to proofread his speech better next time – maybe he will notice details like this and not contradict himself.


In his rebuttal of my second argument pro suggests that there may be unknown effects on human health caused by genetically modified foods. He gives example with a study on the digestive tract in rats that claimes that there were appreciable differences in the intestines of rats fed GM potatoes and rats fed unmodified potatoes. However, then he says “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.” with which he again rebutts his own argument, so I do not feel the need to say anything more about it. He also raises the matter of allergies again, but I already explained why I think allergies aren’t a good reason to ban genetically modified foods.


In Pro’s rebuttal of my third argument he says that bringing a GM food to market is a lengthy and costly process, however he doesn’t explain it, nor does he give any evidence supporting it. He also expresses a concern that because many new plant genetic engineering technologies and GM plants have been patented, genetically modified seeds will become too costly and small farmers will not be able to afford them. I think that if they can’t afford them small farmers can just choose to just continue producing non-GM plants and the big companies are at no fault for wanting to patent their inventions.


I look forward to Pro’s conclusive speech.

Debate Round No. 3
Yonov

Pro

Yonov forfeited this round.
IvaK

Con

IvaK forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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