People seem to think that Biotechnology is a New Science that creates “Franken-maters”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Biotechnology utilizes natural sciences to create solutions for many of the world’s problems, such as fossil fuel shortages, disease and hunger and have been around for millennia. Biotechnology “dates back to 8000 B.C when the domestication of crops and livestock made it possible for civilizations to prosper. The 17th Century discovery of cells and later discoveries of proteins and genes had a tremendous impact on the evolution of biotechnology. “44
Improve or Starve
There are people today who can’t afford to eat. In 2012, 49 million Americans lived in “food insecure” households. Of that 49 million, 15.9 million were children.44 And this is occurring in the most powerful, technologically advanced country in the world with a GDP of $15 trillion (the largest in the world)! Individuals who are “food secure” do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. Food insecurity on the other hand, is a situation of “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods…” according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).44 To put it more bluntly, food insecurity equals “can’t afford to eat properly.” Biotechnology has been used for centuries in agriculture and medicine. Advancements in biotechnology have allowed us to feed a growing world population and expand into new sciences such as genomics, immunology and improved pharmaceutical and diagnostic testing.
9 Billion Served?
By 2050, the United Nations predicts that there will be 9 Billion people on the planet. And that’s assuming a decrease in fertility. Thank goodness the scientific community is looking for better, more affordable ways to increase food production to help feed those 9 billion inhabitants. The simple law of economics are; if demand goes up and supply goes down, prices go up. Thus, more food will stabilize, or drive prices down. That’s why we need food resistant to disease, insects, drought, and natural disasters. Without these advancements prices go up and more people will be “food insecure”.
Biotech Makes Food Cheaper
Food costs are impacted by various factors, including all those activities from farm to fork, known as the “food chain.” For instance, oil prices impacting transportation, temperature changes impacting perishability, drought impacting farm production, etc. Product prices would have been 6% higher if not for advances in biotechnology, specifically genetically modified corn. Soybean products would have been 10% higher, according to a 2010 study by Graham Brookes. In 2012, nearly 22% of U.S. children lived below the poverty line. Simply, food prices need to be stabilized and as low as possible. Biotechnology has helped as farmers now grow 311.8 million more tons of food than in the last 15 years.
There Has Not Been a Single Documented Instance of Harm
“Food from GMOs is digested in the body the same as food from non-GM crops. Hundreds of studies have and continue to demonstrate that GMOs do not present any health risk—they do not cause new allergies or cancers, infertility, ADHD or any other diseases. ” In the last 20 years that U.S. farmers have been using modified seeds to reduce prices, disease and increase crop production, “there has not been a single documented instance of harm to human health resulting from genetic modifications, including new allergic reactions.” Today’s biotech products are without question the most researched and tested agricultural products in history.44
Uses of biotechnology in agriculture have allowed for the creation of crops resistant to pests, diseases and climate conditions like drought. Other uses have reduced chemical use and improved the length of time until spoilage. We have also witnessed increases in food nutrients.
Let’s Be Smarter, Not Hungrier
The bottom line: biotechnology, by genetically and naturally combining the genes of other plants and strains, can help make our crops more resistant to disease, insects, pesticides, drought and other natural disasters. Biotechnology advancements can help stabilize and lower food prices and make food more affordable to those who can barely afford food now and in the future. Agriculture and healthcare industries with products under review by the U.S government are continually frustrated by the slowness of the process of approving new products. Delays of even a few months are enormously costly, both in terms of human health and finances.
- http://www.ncbiotech.org/biotech-basics/what-is-biotechnology#sthash.PsoATtxX.dpuf 444
- http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-facts/hunger-and-poverty-statistics.aspx 444
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_insecure 444
- http://gmoanswers.com/explore 444