A trip to any supermarket in Canada will reveal nothing out of ordinary, just the usual of array of fresh and packaged goods displayed in an inviting manner to attract customers. Everything appear familiar and reassuring, right? Think again. A closer microscopic inspection discloses something novel, a fundamental revolution in food technology. The technology is genetic engineering (GE), also known as biotechnology. Blue prints (DNA) of agricultural crops are altered and “spliced” with foreign genes to produce transgenic crops. Foods harvested from these agricultural plants are called, genetically modified (GM). Presently, Canada has no consumer notification; GM foods are being slipped to Canada’s foods without any labels or adequate risk assessments. This essay argues that GM foods should be rigorously and independently tested for safety; and, consumers be given the right to choose or reject GM foods through mandatory labels. What is the need for impartial examination of safety of transgenic foods? And why label them? GM foods are not “substantially equivalent” to conventional foods, genetic engineering of agricultural crops is not a mere extension of traditional plant breeding, and finally, there are human health implications associated with it.
In the U.S., GM foods have received little public opposition; this is largely due to the fact that food manufacturers are not required to label their products as containing genetically modified ingredients for fear of confusing consumers. Due to the lack of evidence that genetically altered foods are harmful, the Food and Drug Administration considers GM foods to be “generally regarded as safe” (known as GRAS) and no special labeling is required (Falkner 103). In the U.S., genetically modified crops are monitored by t...
The issue of genetically modified food affects every one regardless of age, race or geographical location. You are what you eat. What a person puts into his or her body essentially impacts their health as a whole. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are found in almost every food except for whole, organic foods labeled as GMO free. Genetically altered foods have benefits and disadvantages. The choice of being an opponent or a proponent to genetically enhanced foods is ultimately up to the consumer. Seed producing companies such as Monsanto have a monopoly over how our food is produced and what is acceptable and safe for human and animal consumption. The lack of labeling of foods that contain GMOs sparks controversy with people who believe they have a right to know exactly what they’re eating and if it is safe for their health. This is an issue that affects any person eating food so it is important for one to know the pros and cons of GMOs. I will highlight the supporting arguments for genetically modified food and in contrast I will describe the risks associated with GMO consumption.
A substantial percentage of the work on the ethics of genetically modified food has primarily centralized on its potentially nocuous effects on human health and on the rights to label
The question “Is this product genetically modified?” has gained increasing popularity among the health concerned and those who worry about where their food comes from over the past couple of years. A decade or two ago, this question had no meaning and has no significance in society. However, thanks to the development of technology and a larger understanding of the underlying properties of foods, down to the molecular scale, humans have created a new field of engineering to combat worries that have plagued the food industry to centuries upon centuries. And as always, the advent of a new a product or procedure that changes the way we think and create will always usher along with it self opinions from every strata of society. The genetic modification of food in the United States of America has become a pertinent topic of debate, just recently gaining its popularity in the past couple of years. To modify or not to modify? There are both pros and cons to whether or not change the DNA sequences of foods in order to better them in some way or another. However, like every other major, groundbreaking change in this country comes regulation in hopes to appease everyone in the country and give each participant a fair chance in the race, in particular, the race for the production and distribution of foods. Such regulation in the United States has been done in order to protect and support people that have not devoted their time and money to the biological nuance and also to give every consumer in the country products that are labeled, identifying what they are putting into their systems on a daily basis. As time and society progress, how we view tasks that have been usually kept hidden and now placed onto a pedestal for everyone to se...
Miller, Henry I. "Genetically Modified Foods Have Numerous Benefits and No Known Risks." Genetic Engineering. Ed. Noël Merino. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "When Technophobia Becomes Toxic." 2012.Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 3 May 2014
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.
Food is an essential part of everyday life without it one could not survive. Every day we make choices on what we put in to our bodies. There are countless varieties of food to choose from to meet the diverse tastes of the increasing population. Almost all food requires a label explaining the ingredients and the nutritional value allowing consumers to make informed decisions on what they are consuming. However, many may not be considering where that food is coming from or how it has been produced. Unfortunately, there is more to food than meets the eye. Since 1992, “ the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled, based on woefully limited data, that genetically modified foods were ‘substantially equivalent’ to their non-GM counterparts” (Why to Support Labeling). GM food advocates have promised to create more nutritious food that will be able to grow in harsh climate conditions and eventually put an end to world hunger in anticipation of the growing population. There is very little evidence to support these claims and study after study has proven just the opposite. GM crops are not only unsafe to consume, but their growing practices are harmful to the environment, and multinational corporations are putting farmers out of business.
A non-GMO label doesn’t necessarily mean “healthy”. White sugar, flour, and processed ingredients if not genetically modified are considered non GMO. Recently Cheerios made their ingredients GMO free. This label made Cheerios seems as a “healthy conscience choice” when in fact they are not healthy at all. The truth is that this breakfast cereal is highly processed and is best to be avoided despite the “healthy halo” of being approved by the National Heart Association and GMO free. The truth appears on the nutrition label and the ingredients (Wartman). “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it” The voluntary labeling places a burden on the consumer. The average Americans are forced to navigate confusing and cluttered food landscape” (Wartman). A mandatory labeling law is vital to give clear and concise information to citizens.
Premanandh, Jagadeesan. “Global consensus--need of the hour for genetically modified organisms (GMO) labeling.” Journal of Commercial Biotechnology. 2011. Web. 6 May. 2014.
Next, companies that refuse the use of genetic modifications on their foods must begin to label foods that do not contain GMOs so that consumers can be sure of their safety, even if others that contain GMOs do not label. Due to this labeling, there will be an exposure to which foods are natural because the foods that are the most appealing will have “the ‘Non-GMO Project Verified’ seal [in order] to help shoppers recognize which products meet rigorous GMO avoidance practices” (“Whole Foods Market”).
“Genetically modified foods are a "Pandora's box" of known and unknown risks to humans and the environment. They have been forced onto the American public by multinational biotech and agribusiness corporations without adequate oversight and regulation by the United States government (Driscoll, SallyMorley, David C).”Genetically Modified Food is food which has been chemically altered by scientists during the production process to give the food more nutrients, better appearance, and a longer shelf-life (Rich, Alex K.Warhol, Tom). The importance of this issue is that these GMO’s can actually have a negative effect in our society in general. It could mutate in a negative way and cause cancer or other diseases. Genetically modified food should be strictly controlled due to its various detrimental effects on the environment, human health, and potentially insect/animal effects.