The healthy “choice”

organic-gmo-labelGenetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are exactly what the name entails; Genetically engineered versions of preexisting products. This combining of genes is primarily used to enhance food production, by modifying crops to resist insects, herbicides, and disease. In regards to animals, they can be genetically modified in a way to produce leaner, lower-fat meat and to increase milk production. The modern use of genetically modified organisms began around the 1970s, and as time has passed, this agricultural technique has gained more and more attention, specifically because of its age, and the long term effects of genetically modifying food items is relatively unknown. Monsanto plays a very crucial role in all of this, acting as one of the biggest advocates for genetically modified organisms and one of the major opposers of labeling products that have been genetically modified. Similarly to aspartame, information about GMOs have been relatively kept private from the public, and even though the evidence of its safety is still very ambiguous it is still widely used in food produce.

Almost all grocery stores give you the option of an “organic”  product or the generic version (which may, and probably does, contain some sort of GMO). According to this article, organic food is typically priced at a markup between 20-100% compared to its GMO counterpart. For many people, this extra few bucks doesn’t make a huge difference in their budget. They’re able to purchase the “safer” option with financial security (organic food is the safer option, definitely, because it doesn’t have any unknowns like GMOs do). But for people in low income households, they don’t have this privilege and this is where the social justice issue arises: GMOs are targeted at lower income people. This may be a good and bad thing because although it offers cheaper access to produce and other products, it comes at a cost of health uncertainty. And although the effects haven’t necessarily been proven harmful, everyone deserves the right to know everything about what they are consuming.

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4 thoughts on “The healthy “choice”

  1. I would consider myself a supporter of stricter FDA regulations on labeling of food, because, in my opinion, people have a right to know what they are putting in their bodies. GMOs present a very obvious health issue that isn’t being widely addressed. I also find it very unsettling that there isn’t extensive research yet on the longterm health effects of consuming genetically modified produce. I’m also concerned as to why more people aren’t more suspicious of eating GMOs without this published research on the topic. Perhaps it has to do with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as you briefly alluded to in your reference to social justice issue. Those without the financial security to buy organic foods aren’t worried about longterm health issues because their main concern is feeding their family and providing basic needs. Very interesting post I would be more interested in the future to see more regarding the tie-in to social justice issues.

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    1. I completely agree! Like I said in the last post, our government would rather allow something for consumption until proven unsafe, rather than proven safe. This is an extreme problem within our society because people, including myself, assume that if a product was allowed to be sold in their grocery store it must’ve been approved and thoroughly checked for safety by our government. This is a great example of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and I feel that companies who use GMO takes this into account— because for people who really need to eat and support their families will not take into account that they’re potentially putting their health at risk, and understandably so. In this sense, GMO isn’t such an atrocious idea because it does allow people to eat more for less.

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  2. I actually think GMO is a good way to increase food yield and counter act the decreasing economy in the world. I believe people who oppose GMOs should research more about the benefits that it made for past century. In Asian countries, many people have vitamin D deficiency because their main source of food is rice which do not contain sufficient vitamin D and could lead to childhood blindness. However, a GMO called the golden rice contains vitamin D components to reduce the risk of vitamin D deficiency and has saved many lives in Asian countries. I think people should be less skeptical about GMO because they should not reject a scientific development just because they are afraid of the product without a reason. I understand that people want to know what they eat but to be honest, GMO has been implemented worldwide and it is clear to say there hasnt been a major side effect of GMOs.

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    1. I completely agree with you as well! There is a clear and absolute benefit of using GMOs, especially in poorer regions where food doesn’t come by easily. I also think in theory, GMOs are a pretty great idea. As a short term solution to hunger and malnutrition, GMOs are incredibly beneficial and really get the job done. However, the skepticism arises from its young age. This is where the controversy gets a little more complicated. What’s more important– the short term or the long term? Do we risk a potential serious long term side effect from GMOs, or do we do more research until they’re proven completely safe? I myself am pretty torn when it comes to this issue, and honestly I think there really is no good solution. GMOs should be only a temporary solution, until its safety is assured or another method of mass producing is found.

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