Why All The Fuss Over GMO Foods

Frankenfoods Debate Genetically Modified Foods

The Center for Food Safety (2015) claims that 85, 91, and 88% of American corn, soybean, and cotton crops are currently genetically engineered (GE). Although cotton is not a common ingredient in foods, the oil produced from cotton seeds can frequently be found in food ingredients. As a result of the prevalence of GE foods, it is hard to purchase conventional foods at a supermarket which does not contain at least a small amount of GE products. Other common GE ingredients are beet sugar and canola oil (Center for Food Safety, 2013, p. 3).

On a visit to a local supermarket I examined the labels of Dannon blueberry yogurt and Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal. The yogurt label did not provide any information about the presence of GE products, yet the label listed sugar, which may be from beet sugar, and milk, which may contain recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) (Center for Food Safety, 2013, p. 7). The cows could also have been fed feeds consisting of GE products. The box containing corn flakes did not mention whether it contained GE foods, but the ingredients listed corn (89%), so it seems unlikely that this...


Sugar was not defined in any additional way, so it could be from beet sugar, and the cereal was supplemented with vitamin E made from soybeans.
Based on my short shopping experiment it became clear that it's impossible to tell whether the food products I'm purchasing contain GE foods. According to the Editorial Board (2015) of the Washington Post, labeling products to let consumers know whether the food product they may be purchasing contains GE foods is unnecessary. This conclusion is based on a PEW Research Center study which found that 88% of scientists taking part in the survey believed GE foods do not pose a health risk to consumers. The Washington Post editors concluded that the widespread concern over GE foods is nothing more than simply the fear of the unknown and therefore akin to hysteria, especially in light of a lack of concern by scientists. What the editors did not discuss is that fear of the unknown has long served the human race by keeping us safe from unknown, but very real hazards. For example, most people understand it is unsafe to dive head first into a lake without first checking to see how deep it is. The…

Sources Used in Documents:


Center for Food Safety. (2013). True food shopper's guide: How to avoid genetically engineered foods. Retrieved from http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/shoppers-guide_final_24562.pdf.

Center for Food Safety. (2015). About genetically engineered foods. Retrieved from http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/311/ge-foods/about-ge-foods#.

Editorial Board. (2015, March 29). We don't need labels on genetically modified foods. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-dont-need-labels-telling-us-our-food-has-been-genetically-modified/2015/03/29/66f97f4a-d4c5-11e4-8fce-3941fc548f1c_story.html.

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