Topics: Genetically modified food, Genetic engineering, Genetically modified organism Pages: 3 (930 words) Published: January 7, 2014
In Michael Pollan’s essay, “Playing God in the Garden”, we are introduced to the New Leaf Superior, a genetically engineered potato. This is not the first of its kind, for it is only one of the many foods that are products of an emergent development here in the United States. Monsanto and other giant transnational companies are carrying out a dangerous global experiment by introducing large numbers of genetically engineered foods into our diet. Genetic manipulations can result in unanticipated harmful effects, and because genetically engineered foods are not sufficiently tested, this experiment not only jeopardizes the health of individuals, but also affects the natural flow of nature. Pollan writes, “genetic engineering overthrows the old rules governing the relationship of nature and culture in plants.” He argues in his essay that the “old rules”, or natural (organic) ways of farming are no longer being valued, but rather overthrown and replaced by this new technology. We get the impression that Pollan does not trust this genetically engineered food because it is completely unnatural. There are numerous benefits to genetic cultivation as well as many farmers who agree with and practice this way of life. Biotechnology food produces its own insecticide, and its final product is better looking than that of organically grown food. Due to genetically modified food’s unique and unknown nature, however, there is potential for adverse health side effects. On page 467, Pollan writes: “When I called the E.P.A. and asked if the agency had tested my Bt potatoes for safety as a human food, the answer was . . . not exactly. It seems the E.P.A. works from the assumption that if the original potato is safe and the Bt protein added to it is safe, then the whole New Leaf package is safe . . . the original potato is safe, so that left the Bt toxin, which was fed to mice, and they ‘did fine, had no side affects’”. Pollan here implies that it is unknown whether or not these...
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