HU305: Critical Thinking
December 9, 2012
“The Good, the Bad, and the G.M.O.”
I am a food lover. I live to taste new food items, try new recipes, and experience the wonder of food. For me, ingredients are more than just a step in the process. Ingredients need to be of quality and need to be as fresh as possible. They are the difference between a mind altering eating experience and a boring or even distasteful meal experience. With that being said; we have now engineered food to stay more fresh, longer and offer people with food allergies the ability to have things they once could not. Genetically modified foods may even offer enhanced nutrients in foods that may not normally contain a plethora of valuable nutrients. For most people, this may seem like a triumph within the world of food. However, we have to question the potential side effects of genetically modified organisms. While the idea is admirable, the details behind how we make crops that survive infestations and nuts that no longer cause allergic reactions, are startling. With Genetically modified organisms being a relatively new addition to the world of food; how do we know what the long term affects may be of prolonged ingestion of these food items? Furthermore, how do we know that we have not already seen signs of health concerns with the use of G.M.O.? Where do we as humans draw the line as to what is acceptable for nutritional consumption? For myself, I say we get back to naturalistic ways of farming or start focusing our efforts toward a healthier way of growing our crops, without the added risks.
G.M.O. is becoming somewhat of a catch phrase in the world of food. It stands for organisms that have been genetically altered to have certain desired traits added or removed. For example: If left to nature, a tomato would be subject to certain types of insects that would eat away at the tomato causing a farmer to lose money in damaged crops. A genetically modified tomato would be cross bred with an organism that is resistant to those insects. Another advantage could be fruits such as bananas that contain vaccines or wheat, soy, and peanuts free of allergens or other tomato plants that have genes from an artic flounder spliced in to make it resistant to frost. What is wrong with that you may ask? It is saving the farmer a lot of money and time by not having to spray pesticides. Farmers may also be able to produce higher crop yields; in turn they see higher profit margins. With that being said, when using genetically modified seeds, the farmer will be forced to purchase new seeds season after season due to the way the seeds are engineered. Some G.M.O seeds are genetically engineered to NOT produce a viable seed for regrowth, such as the plants that contain the “Terminator” gene (Rice). This means that companies that produce the seeds continue to see revenue year after year; in turn, creating jobs for our economy. Genetically engineered food may even offer up solutions for malnutrition in less developed countries, such as the Philippines, by offering such crops as golden rice; which is said to potentially save over a million children a year from vitamin A deficiencies (Norton). For many, this may seem like a step in the right direction for society and a huge leap forward in efforts to end world hunger. However, the cost to our bodies for a stable economy may not be worth the effort put into genetically modified organisms.
So, what is wrong with G.M.O.? Foremost, we are creating food products that in nature would never exist; essentially, genetically modified organisms are unnatural. Our bodies do not recognize some, if not, most of the genetic make-up in certain foods that have been modified. One of the most popular examples of this would be corn. Corn today is being used by almost every industry in America and around the world. We see it in feed for livestock, in the kitchen for...