Genetic Engineering

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Noushad Siddique
English 1A

December 13, 2012
The Future lies in GE products
Recently in the 2012 Elections, Proposition 37 in favor of labeling genetically engineered (GE) foodstuff in California was rejected by the public amid fears that it would spread unnecessary skepticism of the safety of bioengineered products. Foods produced by altering the genes of an organism, mostly plants, to make it robust are called GE food. The issue of GE products made available for human consumption has been controversial since its introduction claiming that the safety of GE products is not well founded. In fact it has been one of the most controversial issues in the past decade and there have been numerous debates on whether the GE products really pose a hazard to consumers and the natural environment as well as that they have impaired the conventional food market which has been feeding the human beings since the start of time. Though GE products include a process of altering genes which would not have occurred naturally, GE products have revolutionized our modern day eating habits and they will guarantee us a sustainable future.

GE products were first introduced into the US Market in the mid 1990’s after vigorous testing in the labs and then field testing (Schonwald 25). Since then many farmers and corporations have adopted the use of GE crops to meet the demands of the steeply growing population curve. Joe Castaldo, a Toronto based Journalist for Canadian Business, estimates the required increase of food production in the coming decades: “To meet the growing demand, global food production will have to increase 70% by 2050, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In developing countries, it will need to almost double” (Castaldo). This is also the reason why many GE ingredients are found in our daily diet and it makes economic sense for farmers growing the crops, such as cotton, for other industries other than the food industry itself. As John Schonwald, a journalist for Huffington Post claims in an article in The Futurist, “Many genetically engineered foods can be found throughout our food supply. Genetically modified soybeans and canola dominate the market, which means that most processed food —everything from your spaghetti to your Snickers bar—has GM ingredients. More than 90% of American cotton and 80% of corn crops come from GE seed” (25). It is apparent that we have been consuming products with GE ingredients for quite some time and the industry will continue to do this and we as consumers will continue with our lifestyle because there is nothing wrong with GE products.

The public has been wary of GE products ever since the anti-GE campaigns started a couple of years ago. People watching the campaigns on perhaps the 9 pm news simply concluded that it’s probably unhealthy for consumption while munching down some good old Pringles crisps, which they being uninformed, contained bioengineered dried potatoes fried with bioengineered corn oil and traces of bioengineered soy. People have been mostly unaware of GE ingredients in their food supply and it is human tendency to stick with something familiar than trying something rather new so it’s not unusual that people would jump to conclusions. A good example comes from Eric Schlosser’s revealing book Fast Food Nation: “In the spring of 2000, McDonald’s informed Lamb Weston and the J.R. Simplot Company that it would no longer purchase frozen French fries made from genetically engineered potatoes” (269). Fast food chain McDonald’s had anticipated public backlash which made them cancel the genetically engineered French fries contract despite serving their customers hamburgers with tainted meat infected with E. coli 0157:H7. People were more concerned with the term genetically engineered than some weird sounding bacteria in their hamburgers. Basically, most of the social and ethical issues associated with GE products are indeed the average human’s...
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