Genetically 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.