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Genetically Modified Foods

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Robert M. Hutchins, known for his contributions to philosophy, said that, “A civilization in which there is not a continuous controversy about important issues is on the way to totalitarianism and death.” While I do not necessarily agree with the former, or the latter, for that matter (no rhyme intended), it is imperative for us, as people, regardless of nationality, to ask questions. On the topic of important issues are genetically modified foods. The specific tangent on genetically modified foods is the question of whether or not genetically modified foods should have mandatory labeling. Instead of being a staunch absolutist and deciding so hastily on the matter of GMOs, the merits and drawbacks of this issue need to be discussed.

Like any contemporary moral issue, there are parts of the issue that are black and white with the rest of it being one huge gray area needing to be properly defined, and the issue of GMOs is no different. One of the facets on the gem of GMOs is the question of putting mandatory labels on genetically modified foods. Groups that are in favor of mandatory labeling such as Greenpeace International, for example, argue that consumers, regardless of awareness towards food have the right to know what is inside their food. Greenpeace International, “…emphasize[s] unknown health risks, such as allergic reactions, and environmental risks, such as pest resistance and loss of biodiversity, and denounce the absence of long-term studies investigating those risks” (Dannenberg 374). Before I go any further, I need to enlist the help of a deontologist. For our purposes I will call him, “No Exception” Evan.

After telling Evan about Greenpeace’s position on genetically modified foods, he said that, “Under n...

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...ndatory GMO Labeling.” Editorial. St. Louis Post-Dispatch 11 Nov. 2013, 3rd ed.: 13. 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.

Dannenberg, Astrid, Sara Scatasta, and Bodo Sturm. “Mandatory versus Voluntary Labelling of Genetically Modified Food: Evidence from an Economic Experiment.” Agricultural Economics 42.3 (2011): 374. 5 Nov. 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.

De Tavernier, Johan. “Food Citizenship: Is there a Duty for Responsible Consumption?” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25.6 (2012): 897. ProQuest. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.

Kaste, Martin. “So What Happens If The Movement To Label GMOs Succeeds?” GMO Labeling. KUOW. 94.9, Seattle, Washington, 17 Oct. 2013. Radio.

Phillips, Diane, and William Hallman. “Consumer Risk Perceptions and Marketing Strategy: The Case of Genetically Modified Food.” Psychology & Marketing 30.9 (2013): 741. 23 July 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.
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