Saturday, 2 February 2013

Draft 2: Literature Review by Htet Wai Yan Linn

In this article, editor Deborah B. Whitman highlighted important pointers on GMO related issues regarding human health and environmental concerns. He started off the topic with an overview on whether GMO products are safe or not."European environmental organizations and public interest groups have been actively protesting against GM foods for months,"(Deborah, 2000) This tiny quotation shows that overseas, people are already rejecting GMOs and this gives us a hint that some Singaporeans might also reject it. 
Starting up the topic on GMO, he started off the article with the definition of GMO. “The term GM foods or GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) is most commonly used to refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques.” (Deborah , 2000)This pointer would definitely benefit us when we try to make the public understand what GMO means.
Next, he stated the advantages of GMO products to make us understand the GMO products' , allowing us to carefully examine GMO products to use them effectively. He reported that the world population had topped 6 billion people and is predicted to double in the next 50 years. This piece of information shows that ensuring an adequate food supply would be a major challenge in the years to come, however, he also mentioned that GMO products would meet these needs in a number of ways- pest resistance, herbicide tolerance, disease resistance, cold tolerance, drought tolerance/ salinity tolerance, nutrition, pharmaceuticals and phytoremediation.
However, he also highlighted the criticisms against GMO products to maintain balance on the amount of information on the advantages and disadvantages so that the readers could make a fair comparison."Environmental activists, religious organizations, public interest groups, professional associations and other scientists and government officials have all raised concerns about GM foods, and criticized agribusiness for pursuing profit without concern for potential hazards, and the government for failing to exercise adequate regulatory oversight."(Deborah, 2000). This long sentence give us a hint that there are also a lot of people who turns down GMO products. The article also reports that most concerns about GMO products fall into three categories: environmental hazards, human health risks and economic concerns. 
He also opened up a sub-topic on the prevalence of GM crops and the plants involved. This sub-topic states the 13 countries adopting to GM crops and the plants which has been genetically modified. It is also reported that the acreage of GM crops have increased 25 folds, means the more and more food on the shelves of supermarkets have been genetically modified and this serves as a reminder to the people who have an issue with GMO products.
Lastly, he talked about how GMO products are regulated and also the question of how GMO products are labelled. Deborah reported that due to the political, social and economic climates in different countries, different governments are having their own individual different regulatory process without an universal one. This goes to show that GMO products are lacking a standard regulatory process and is something worth raising an issue on. Moving back to the part on how GMO products are labelled, it is stated in the article that an international trade agreement for labeling GMO products was established in January 2000. This gives us more information on helping the public find out which of the products on a supermarket shelve is genetically modified and which is not, which is in turn a great help to worried consumers.

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