Should Genetically Modified Foods Be Labeled?

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Krysten Goodman
“Should Genetically Modified Foods be Labeled?”

Do people really know what they are eating? How many Americans have even the slightest clue as to what they are actually putting into their bodies? The answer may be quite alarming, and something needs to be done to stop the madness before the inevitable train wreck. It is no wonder that, as a whole, Americans are fatter, more diseased, and unhappier than ever before. Perhaps we have genetically modified foods to thank for our relatively recent trend. Although the subject does not get enough press coverage, awareness needs to be raised and genetically modified (or GM) foods need to be labeled as such so that American consumers have the right to choose what they are putting into their bodies.

What exactly is a genetically modified food? According to the World Health Organization’s website, “Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.” (“20 questions…”) In order to understand the depth of what this means, let’s first take a brief look into the history of how genetically modified foods got their start.

During World War II, University of Chicago’s Professor E.J. Kraus developed Agent Orange, an herbicide used, innocently enough at first, to kill overgrowth of foliage. However, it was soon discovered that Agent Orange was a deadly neurotoxin. After the Vietnam Conflict, the chemical composition of Agent Orange was modified to become an effective pesticide, known as DDT. In the film, “The Future of Food,” there is a propaganda poster shown, stating “DDT is good for meeeeeee!” (“The Future of Food”) No one yet knew the health risks that would stem from the use of DDT as an herbicide sprayed on the plants that would become our food sources.

One problem emerged rather quickly, and that was, although DDT (also known as Lasso) was very effective at killing unwanted foliage, it...
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