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Discussion on Genetically Modified Foods

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    Someone out there has probably wondered why their tomatoes which they bought at a supermarket, taste different than the tomatoes at a farmers market. Well to answer that curious person, the tomatoes from the supermarket are most likely Genetically Modified. Genetically Modified foods (GM foods) are organisms in which genetic material (DNA) have been altered in a way that is not natural. Basically they are inserting genes of another species into their DNA, the process is known as biotechnology. 5 percent of corn and 85 percent of soybean are genetically modified. Fulton states that “some 70-90 percent of processed food is genetically modified and has been that way for years” (“Politics Heating Up Over…”). The first GM plant was produced in 1983, an antibiotic resistant tobacco. In 1990 the first GM cotton was produced, from then on scientists and farms have tied to make everything genetically modified. It is important for people to understand what they are eating and how it was made.

    In the Agricultural Industry, GM foods are one of the biggest debates. There are so many reasons as to why GM foods are very controversial. Not only do they bring upon us many pro’s and con’s and are a well talked about topic in politics. The biggest issue is not whether or not we should genetically modified foods but rather if we should label it. In the United States, it is not a law that one must state if their food product is genetically modified or not. It should be labeled for many reasons but lots of people find ways not to label GM foods.

    In today’s paper the matter of whether GM foods should be labeled or not will be discussed as well as, mandatory and voluntary labeling, the government’s policies and many more information. There are many pros and cons for GM foods, which is why there is a debate whether people should have the choice to eat them or not. Some of the negative portions of genetically modified foods like how harmful they could possibly be for the body. Some scientists think that it can cause maybe cause the development of diseases like cancer.

    This biotechnology have not been around for a long time so the long term condition of eating these foods is still unknown. Quite a few people refuse to eat GM foods because they do not like the idea of scientist transferring animal genes into plants or fruits; could also be their religious views. Biggest negative would how manufactures and the FDA do not want to label their genetically foods because, they think it will hurt their business. They would rather get their money and have power than give people a chance to eat what they want. Over 450 scientist from around the world have signed an open letter that cites cancer, damage to the immune system and the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria possible consequences of GE foods”(Kaplan “playing genetic”). A few positives for genetically modified food are: people who are usually allergic some types of food can eat those certain food if they are GM foods. The reason for this is because, the scientist actually modify the DNA system so that the allergic gene in the food is gone.

    GM corps actually grows faster than traditional corps. Certain foods can only be grown during certain seasons and certain places but with genetically modified foods one is able to grow those same foods all year round, wherever they please to grow them. GM foods are naturally resistant towards pest and insects. The farm will not need to spray the corps with pest resistant spray because the GM crop would already be naturally resistant towards them. In the long run the GM corps would come out cheaper because of the fact that they are pest resistant.

    It is well known that genetically modified foods taste better than traditional foods. GM foods also have more shelf life, meaning they live longer or take more time to begin to rot. ”The nutrition and safety of each product is evaluated at many stages before it reaches the consumer. Research shows that foods derived through biotechnology are as safe to eat as traditional foods” (Hu,Veeman,Adamowiz and Gao 586). GM foods may be safe or may be dangerous either way people should be able to have the choices as to what they want to consume into their own body.

    Wuyang Hu, Michele Veeman, Wiktor Adamowicz and Ge Geo did a research on “Consumers’ Food Choices with Voluntary Access to Genetic Information” one of the things they discorvered is that “despite recognition of the importance of information to consumers’ choice of products, whether and to what extent individual consumers will seek product information and the effect of this search behavior on product choices are not features that are well understood and there are relatively few studies of this issue”(Hu,Veeman,Adamowiz and Gao 586). They did a computer based survey that was a component of a larger tudy of Canadian consumers’ altitudes and purchasing intentions for Genetically Modified pre-packaged sliced bread. “A total of 445 respondents, drawn from a representatives panel of adult Canadians maintained by a major marketing firm, completing this survey” (Hu,Veeman,Adamowiz and Gao 586). Hu,Veeman,Adamowiz and Gao mention that “since the presence or absence of GM ingredients is a credence attribute, the provision and influence of information is expected to have impacts on purchase intentions”(586). Gao states that individuals with different characteristics exhibit different information search behavior (586).

    Meaning that everyone has different thoughts and pleasures and ways of life so, different people want to eat GM foods and others do not want to eat it, they all should have a voice. Now Hu, Veeman, Adamowiz also did “Labeling Genetically Modified Foods Heterogeneous Consumer Presences and the Value of Information”. Their research is interesting as well as their thoughts and views on labeling GM foods. “Labeling can be viewed as a means of providing information for consumers to make informed choices and there is much debate about the merits or otherwise of different labeling poices”(Hu,Veeman,Adamowiz 84).

    According to Hu, Veeman, and Adamowiz the study they are working on asks two questions dealing with labeling genetically modified foods. The questions are “how consumers behave under different labeling polices and what extent do they value the information revealed in different labeling contexts” (84). “Views on labeling requirements for food with GM ingredients tend to be paralyzed. Two types of labeling practices are currently being used: mandatory labeling and voluntary labeling” (Hu,Veeman,and Adamowiz 84).

    The Government has been major part of the battle against labeling GM foods. In the United States, the government would rather not label the foods so they can have more money to themselves. Fulton from the NPR says that the “GM issue have become a full-blown political one that’s not likely to go away anytime soon”. “According to a recent report in the prestigious science Journal Nature DNA from genetically engineered(GE) corn has contaminated native varieties growing in the remote, mountainous Sierra Norta de Oaxaco reigon in Mexico”(Kaplan “Playing Genetic Roulette… ). The FDA actually has put his report into a more “political document” rather than a scientific one says Kaplan. The European Commission states that “the European Union has adopted a mandatory labeling scheme for food and moved to requirement for explicit labeling of GM content for all products with GM content higher than 0. 9% by weight”(qtd in Hu,Veeman,and Adamowiz 85). Yet in the U. S all we have is voluntary labeling on no GM foods. “A voluntary labeling system has been adopted in Canada” (Hu,Veeman,and Adamowiz 85).

    Gm Foods has also been a great debate among politicians and their party. “Not only did political appointees in the first Bush administration ignore the concerns of the scientists, they distorted the scientists’ conclusion that GE foods could have unpredictable and possible dangerous effect on human beings” (Kaplan “Playing Genetic Roulette”). “Some protesters have vowed not to support the president’s reelection over the issue”(Fulton “politics Heating up Over”). Some people who are against Labeling genetically modified foods may have many arguments against it.

    One of their biggest arguments might be that the manufactures and the FDA do not want to label their genetically foods because, they think it will hurt their business. The manufactures probably feel that no one would buy their Gm foods because most people might not want to eat that. But the truth of the matter is that, they never what will happen maybe more people would rather eat GM foods than the traditional. They should at least give them the freedom to choose what they want to eat and stop being cold hearted and greedy.

    In this paper many different things were discussed including what genetically modified foods are and there pros and cons. Whether Gm foods should be labeled or not. Which they should be, people should have the freedom. The Government should stop hiding the facts and just let us choose what we want.

    Works Cited

    Fulton, April. “Politics Heating Up Over Labeling Genetically Modified Foods. ” www. npr. org. National Public Radio, 17 Dec. 2011. Web. 4 Apr. 2012. Hu, Wuyang, et al. “Consumers’ Food Choices with Voluntary Access to Genetic Modification Information. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics 54. 4 (2006): 585-604. Biological & Agricultural Index Plus (H. W. Wilson). Web. 28 Mar. 2012. Hu, Wuyang, Michele Veeman, and Wiktor Adamowicz. “Labelling Genetically Modified Food: Heterogeneous Consumer Preferences and the Value of Information. ” Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics 53. 1 (2005): 83-102. Biological & Agricultural Index Plus (H. W. Wilson). Web. 28 Mar. 2012. Kaplan, Jeffrey. “Playing Genetic Roulette With Our Food. ” Reclaim Democracy. N. p. , Sept. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2012. http://reclaimdemocracy. org/food_and_health/genetic_roulette. html>. Lapan, Harvey, and GianCarlo Moschini. “Grading, Minimum Quality Standards, and the Labeling of Genetically Modified Products. ” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 89. 3 (2007): 769-83. Biological & Agricultural Index Plus (H. W. Wilson). Web. 1 Apr. 2012. Scatasta, Sara, Justus Wesseler, and Jill Hobbs. “Differentiating the consumer benefits from labeling of GM food products. ” Agricultural Economics 37 (2007): 237-42. Biological & Agricultural Index Plus (H. W. Wilson). Web. 1 Apr. 2012.

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