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Ehle- Unit 4 Rough Draft

Page history last edited by Andrea 13 years, 3 months ago

World Wide Experiment on People, Animals, and Nature

Genetically Engineered Food- Should not be consumed.

By: Elizabeth Ehle



"FDA is responsible for promoting and protecting the public’s health by ensuring that the nation’s food supply is safe, sanitary, wholesome, and honestly labeled." This is FDA's promise to America yet it is a lie. The research on genetically engineered food is incomplete, and scientists are unsure how it will effect our bodies in the future. I suggest American's start to research where your food is really coming from. FDA is aware of all the health hazards our food causes, but they still allow genetically engineered foods into our diet. Imagine finding out in 10 years a new defect such as a cancer, is affecting your body because of the daily consumption of genetically engineered foods.


Genetically Engineered Foods-

Genetically engineered foods fill the local grocery market, and are a threat to society. As a part of my generation, I find it important to uncover the facts about genetically engineered food. Genetically engineered food should be outlawed because it potentially causes health issues, harming people all over the world, especially in the United States.  This food has been consumed for almost two decades now. The science of genetically engineered (GE) foods is, “GE foods are produced when scientists remove a copy of a gene from one organism and transfer that gene to a different organism” (Palmer). The process of genetically engineered food has many side effects that harm the health of humans, therefore it is not safe to consume it. The way we eat has so vastly changed from a century ago, but the imagery and the labeling on the products remains the same. We still go into a grocery store and still see pictures of farmers, with the green grass, picket fence, and their happy cows. People are  tricked to think our food is natural and healthy but food production is no longer run by small farmers. Agrarian America is a scheme by the U.S. food industry which convinces the consumer that they are buying "farm fresh" and "all natural" products, when that is far from true. 




History of Genetically Engineered Foods

The industrial food system was inspired by drive in, fast food restaurants.  To cut costs and simplify has driven factories to the creation of seeds for mass production. The first time people were able to create food quickly, and for a low price brought about the idea of uniforms and unified production. Assembly lines were the new efficient way food was mass produced in McDonald's fast food restaurants. The idea of conformity and to be less expensive was a great success for the creators of McDonald's in the 1930's but it lead to unintended consequences. Think about it this way, McDonald's needs to mass produce their ground beef so that is all tastes the same, so thus creating mass production. It has come to the fact that only a handful of companies are controlling our food system. McDonald's and other fast food restaurants are main consumers of lettuce, chicken, pork, etc. Their demand for a large supply has created the ripple effect that large corporations support large fast food chains, and essentially the rest of the food market. Three to four food companies control all of our meat, and this has never happened before. This industry controls the way animals are raised, and how our food is grown. 


"A lot of food, a small amount of land, and an affordable price" Food Inc.


Some people whom consume genetically engineered food are unaware of the dangers, although it is seen as a problem. Europe has banned genetically engineered food and many scientists are unsure of the effects of genetically engineered food. Genetically engineered food has become very common in the United States, and there are not warning labels on this food.  However, the public opinion is split between two sides of this issue. Some people are for genetically modified foods because they believe it is the best solution to solve world hunger and malnutrition. It is also thought to be beneficial, because crops are less likely to be destroyed by pests, bad weather, and herbicides. "Genetically modified foods are not only harmful to one’s health, but to the environment and should be banned because there are unpredictable and irreversible risks which are caused when consuming these foods" (Rosenthal). Who does genetically engineered food actually benefit? 


 Changing the genetics of these foods can allow for people in regions of the earth that have been deprived from nutrients in the past to finally be self sufficient and grow foods in their area. There are tobacco, tomato, and potato plants that have been engineered to withstand cold temperatures for extended periods of time. GMO's have allowed for these foods to be grown in places of the world that have never before had the capabilities of growing their own crops. In places like Russia and Northern Europe most of the year is spent under extremely cold conditions. These genetically engineered foods allow people in these places to grow the food necessary for them to become self reliant. Theoretically growing these foods can allow people all over the world to grow the food necessary to survive no matter where they live. In third world countries it is all to common for children to become blind due to vitamin a deficiency. A strain of rice has been created that has a high concentration of vitamin a in order to combat this problem; it is being called "golden rice". Foods that are being created in order to fight specific problems like this can make a huge impact on world hunger. “Any scientist who tells you they know that GMOs are safe and not to worry about it, is either ignorant of the history of science or is deliberately lying. Nobody knows what the long-term effect will be.”Geneticist, David Suzuki, giving the 2008 Commonwealth Lecture in London.



Young and Untested Technology 

Genetically engineered food is a young and untested technology that has not yet been prove to be safe. Imagine this, no long term effects are known as of today, but within the next decade unheard of health hazards will arise from genetically engineered food. Rats have a short life span, and in many studies where rats were fed genetically engineered organisms such as potatoes, they ended up with genetic defects such as discolored testicles. Genetically engineered food has been consumed by people for the last 17 years. My whole life time has been spent consuming genetically engineered food, with little to no awareness about it for me as a child.However, the Human Genome Project (HGP) also cites many negatives.  The HGP also cites food safety concerns as their main complaint. They say specific worries are driven by the appearance of new allergens --- created by the genetic modification process --- and the possible transfer of antibiotic-resistant genes through the food chain.

GMOs can have unpredictable and unalterable consequences for the environment and for human health. Genetically modified organisms have become a growing issue in the United States and the research is still in progress to ban these foods.


Multiple Related Risks 

 The risks are not known at this time.  Which is worse - solving world hunger or causing long term effects in the next generation's genetic makeup?  According the website worldometer.com, over four billion tons of food has been produced thus far this year.  Four billion tons of food.  According to the same website, there are over 1.4 people classified as obese or overweight.  And finally, according to worldometer.com, there are over one billion undernourished people in the world.  All food in the world could be GE and it still would not fix world hunger. World hunger isn't an issue of not having enough food to feed everyone and therefore not solvable by GE foods. Although genetically engineered food could have a positive effect on world hunger, the side effects are too risky. Europe has already banned the use of genetic engineering on crops, because of the effects the studies have shown.  Endangering future generations is not a good solution to solving world hunger. Over 75% of processed food contains genetically engineered substances. “Pest-resistant crops, pesticides that kill weeds, but not food crops, and foods with enhanced nutrients would be a blessing if safely and equitable achieved” (Callahan). These crops are adaptable to pests, weeds, and enhanced with nutrients which cause them to be easier to grow, yet these crops are not safe to consume.




 You might want to think twice next time you purchase regular food in a grocery store because of the possible health risks. The research done on G.E. foods is incomplete. Studies show different affects that this food can cause, and it is unknown what long-term effects that this food will cause to the human body. 




Genetically Engineered Fish?!

The Center for Food Safety is against genetically engineered food and has successfully stopped the commercialization of certain GE crops such as alfalfa, wheat, rice, sugar beets, and other pharmaceutical crops. There is plenty of evidence global conglomerate corporations have tried, and often times, succeeded in squelching choice when it comes to GE foods.  But one example is over the pending approval of genetically engineered salmon. The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and the company that created the GE salmon are battling in court whether or not the label should be labeled a GE food.  The company argues the salmon's nutrient value is identical to natural salmon, why label?  The OCA argues the impact of modifying the salmon's genetics is not know.  Consumers deserve to know what they're eating. Through legal petitions and pressure on federal agencies and our government, they have been able to keep this hazardous new fish out of our waters and off our plates for the past ten years. Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)--under serious pressure from the biotech industry--is now set to approve GE salmon. This takes away our rights as America citizens, to know what is in our food and how it is made. 



Salmon would be the first GE animal ever approved for human consumption. These GE fish could  potentinally cause serious threats to wild and native salmon and our marine environment and could potentially wipe-out remaining native salmon populations. To make matters worse, the human health impacts of eating GE fish are completely unknown. Because GE fish may be susceptible to more diseases than other fish, the amount of antibiotics given to transgenic fish may be higher. As a result, consuming GE fish could lead to the ingestion of harmful antibiotics or contribute to the existing problem of antibiotic resistance in humans. There are so many threats that are opened form the consumption of genetically engineered fish. This problem needs to be stopped. Additionally, GE salmon are lower in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids than wild salmon, and have more of a potentially dangerous artificial growth hormone. The fish are lower quality and cause health risks, what is there an argument over it?



Genetically engineered food faces many challenges ahead for the government, especially in the areas of safety testing, regulation, international policy and food labeling. Under current regulations, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require labeling of G.E. food products. Organic food is not genetically modified and organic is the only federally regulated food label that prohibits the use of G.E. foods.  



The Human Genome Project (HGP) website, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research cites the benefits of GE food to include higher quality food crops, better taste, reduced growing times, higher yields, greater resistance to pests and climatic vagaries, increased ability to engineer new products, healthier livestock, greater yields of animal-based products and environmental benefits made possible by "friendlier" bioherbicides and biopesticides. Perhaps the most compelling reason is the "increased food security for growing populations" that could be made possible through genetic modification. Concerns of the HGP include fears that the world's food supply eventually might fall under the control of a few large companies with the most successful genetic modification technologies. The ethics of tampering with the natural order of things is another concern often heard about GE foods. Organic standards expressly prohibit the use of genetically modified seeds or ingredients. Unfortunately, our local grocery markets are run by Monsanto, and he was the first man to ever create genetically engineered food. Choosing organic products is the only way to ensure that you and your family aren’t eating genetically engineered foods or supporting the companies that produce them. Genetic engineering is a relatively new and unproven technology. Genetically engineered food threatens biodiversity, and robs farmers of their right to save seeds and maintain their economic survival. They are also intended for use on large monocropping systems — where only one crop is grown for many acres — which leaves them vulnerable to disease and weak in terms of resistance to drought, pests, and climate changes. “In one study rats fed gene-altered potatoes developed smaller brains, testicles, and livers, compared to rats fed the parent line of the very same potatoes. In another, when male rats were fed G.M.O soy, their testicles changed color from the normal pink to dark blue" (Miller). For the public’s safety of the American people these genetically engineered foods should be properly labeled throughout grocery stores.


"A curtain dropped between us and where our food is coming from" Food Inc. 


Growth Hormones 

Organic standards prohibit the use of growth hormones. U.S. government regulations permit hormone use in conventional livestock operations to increase the size or rate of gain of animals raised for meat, or to stimulate production of animal products. One example of this is milk. " Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) is a synthetic hormone administered to the cow by injection and used to increase milk production. This is bad for dairy cows, because it stresses their bodies and burns them out in three or four years. It can also cause a long list of medical problems, including reproductive complications, lameness, pus in the milk, and higher rates of udder infections that are routinely treated with powerful antibiotics.rBGH is already prohibited in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the 27 countries of the European Union." Organic dairy farmers realize this is only a short term gain, and promote the long-term health of their animals, which keeps them producing milk for a long time. This is good for the farmer, the land, and the consumer.It has been found that "The use of rbST in milk production has been shown to elevate the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a naturally-occurring hormone that in high levels is linked to several types of cancers, among other things.” The Court also found that the use of rbST “induces an unnatural period of milk production” resulting in milk “considered to be low quality,” and that milk from treated cows turns sour more quickly, another indicator of poor milk quality.


"The government does not want us to know where our food is coming from, because we probobally would not eat it. Where our food is coming from is being deliberately hidden from us so that we still consume this food. The seed market has gained control of our food. This is not about what we are eating, it is not only about our health. The reality of our food is not a farm, it is a factory and huge multinational corporation's run these factories." Food Inc.  



Organic Food 

If organic farming is the natural way, shouldn't organic produce just be called "produce" and make the pesticide-laden stuff take the burden of an adjective? As far as genetic engineering for food, that is the great experiment that has failed. They literally have the entire world market against them. All those dreams… the blind will see, the lame will walk… has turned out to be science fiction. They are basically chemical companies selling more chemicals. They’ve been able to spread these herbicide-promoting plants around because it is more convenient for farmers who can just mass-spray their crops. But they’ve given absolutely nothing to the consumer while causing more chemical pollution and contamination.”Lawyer, Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety (USA)



Our generation is the first to have to deal with the issues of genetically engineered food. Depending on who it is coming from genetically engineered food could be described as doomsday or the future of agriculture. A lot of food that we eat today contains genetically modified ingredients and usually without our knowledge. Food shortages are a political and economic problem. Is genetically engineered food really needed to solve world hunger?  Agriculture in small biodiverse farms is actually known to be very productive. A few large profit-hungry corporations has created genetically engineered food, and citizens are afraid that it will cause long term harmful effects.  






Even though these foods have the potential to cause some problems in the future, genetic engineered foods have found their way into our grocery stores and ultimately our stomachs. Let us choose for ourselves, what we are going to consume. The FDA and biotechnology companies are creating foods that cause many severe symptoms that are unknown. The products that are for sale have been modified in order to solve problems that have not only caused people to go hungry but have been causing problems for our economy since creation. A common genetically modified food is the Colorado potato beetle-resistant potato. The beetle is known for killing vast areas of crops and in recent years has grown tolerant to the poisons in pesticides. Until this potato was created farmers had no way of fighting back against the insects. This is just one example of how genetically engineered foods can bring food to an area that once could not support it due to natural restraints. GE foods affect our health, and the few positive things it "could" do for the consumer, are not worth it. Genetically engineered food might help solve world hunger, but it is not guaranteed that it will not effect the future. Food will still be produced whether it is genetically engineered or not. 



World hunger is a political issue that is very broad.  However, what we do know is the side effects and risks from GE foods are unknown.  GE food is not labeled in the United States, therefore, people do not have choice between buying GE foods or non-GE foods.  The only way someone can avoid GE foods is to patronize grocery stores who offer organic foods.  Foods that are more expensive but guaranteed to not be genetically engineered. Although this could solve world hunger, that currently is not an issue in the United States.  Genetically modified organisms are harmful to humans and should be labeled properly. A number of genetically modified organisms (G.M.O) have been approved for human consumption, but concerns over safety persist in the public. Allergens and toxicity, which are caused by proteins, are the major reasons for the concerns of genetically engineered food. Why is America keeping people from being informed of everything they are consuming in these products? “ American biotechnology companies were fierce opponents of labeling G.M. products, arguing that, since there are no reported health threats, the public has no need to know about the genetic modifications” (Callahan).





Link Back To:

Unit 4 Portfolio

Andrea's feedback to Ehle

Comments (8)

Ehle so fly said

at 1:32 pm on Nov 12, 2010

still working on the revision of the two templates, but any feedback would be greatly appreciated!! :)

Boda said

at 11:57 pm on Nov 16, 2010

Hey ... check out this link... it's got some recent info about legislation going through Congress about GMOs. Hope it helps. http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=6910

Ehle so fly said

at 12:44 am on Nov 17, 2010

Thanks Boda, I'm tired I have been watching Food Inc but I will check it out in the morning!

April Sopczak said

at 2:08 pm on Nov 18, 2010

I would reword this sentence: "The research done on genetically engineered food is so incomplete, and they are unsure how it will effect our bodies," or somehow combine it with your opening sentence, and use it to start your paper. Saying that it could "possibly" be harmful starts it a little weak since it possibly could not be as well. Write as though you are trying to convince someone who thinks everything is A-ok or someone who is completely unaware.

I haven't read your whole paper, but I will later. This is just what struck me right off.

Ehle so fly said

at 5:53 pm on Nov 18, 2010

ok thankyou april!

Andrea said

at 6:05 pm on Nov 18, 2010

Ehle, right off the bat, I want to know what FDA stands for. There is a quote at the very beginning and I want to know what FDA is, and how it relates to genetically engineered food. I'm going to take one paragraph from this entire essay, and edit it. I will post a link on here to it. Doing this makes it easier for me.

Ehle so fly said

at 1:51 pm on Nov 21, 2010

Thanks Andrea and April, I have already made edits and posted the new draft on my final draft page, so if we could work with feedback to that draft it would be perfect!!

Alyssa Blumenthal said

at 10:50 am on Dec 2, 2010

Ehle- I really like everything you have to say. Where did you get your information from? Maybe include some sources you looked at to improve the reliability of your work.
Great job :)

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