Anti-GMO Food Logic
Image courtesy of http://lincolngenetics.blogspot.ca
Tomato in the left column: non-GMO
Tomatoes in the centre and right columns: GMO
GMO food has been on the market since 1994, when Calgene first marketed its Flavr Savr delayed ripening tomato. Since then, GMO food has become widespread in the food market, and most people aren’t even aware they are eating GMO food. GMO food is produced through genetic engineering, where a gene from one organism is inserted into the genome of another. The genes are usually removed from one species and inserted into another species, creating transgenic organisms.
David Suzuki is a renowned Canadian scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. In an interview with CBC in October 1999, when asked about his opinion about GMO food, Mr. Suzuki replied that he’s “we have no idea what the long-term consequences of these genetic manipulations are.”
Mr. Suzuki’s statement can be viewed as an argument broken down into the following premises and conclusion:
Premise 1: Effects of gene transplantation from one species to another species on the organism are unknown.
Premise 2: Effects from consumption of GMO organisms on an unmodified organism are unknown.
Premise 3: Consumption of GMO foods entails risks that have not been fully identified or proven.
Conclusion: Therefore, we should avoid consumption of GMO foods.
An evaluation of Mr. Suzuki’s argument may reveal to us how sound his argument is.
Premise 1 can be considered to be true, since there have not been extensive studies conducted into the effects. There is insufficient scientific data to prove any known effects.
Premise 2 can be considered to be true also, since monitoring the effects of all the different combinations of GMO foods is close to impossible.
Premise 3 can be considered to be true, as this premise is based on the Precautionary Principle, which states that “if a proposed activity carries with it the possibility of environmental harm, but that harm is not completely proven, then that activity may not be allowed.”
– P. Saradhi Puttagunta
As seen above, Mr. Suzuki’s argument is factually correct, since all the premises are true. They are true because the development of GMO food is relatively recent, and not enough research has been done on its effects. His premises are valid because they have a correct form and are based on valid logic. This validates his conclusion, thus making his argument valid. His argument is logically sound, because it is both valid and true.
Genetic engineering may affect future generations of humans in a variety of ways. Firstly, the biodiversity of flora and fauna will be severely diminished, since unmodified varieties of crops will be replaced with genetically engineered varieties. Food supplies could be severely affected if the genetically engineered crops are stricken with disease. Since there would be fewer varieties of crops, natural resistance to the disease would not exist, resulting in massive crop failure. This would lead to severe food shortage, malnutrition, health problems, and even death.
However, the danger of endorsing Mr. Suzuki’s argument is to deprive developing countries of a chance of improving their condition. GMO food may help to reduce hunger because it can be engineered to provide more nutrition. This property can help combat malnutrition, and improve the health of many populations.