Essay On Genetically Modified Foods
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Based on: UN/WHO, 20 Questions On Genetically Modified (Gm) Foods, http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/
How does WHO define genetically modified organisms? List any lingering questions or concerns about this definition.
Genetically modified organisms are those organisms whose genetic material has been artificially altered. This kind of change cannot occur naturally through mating nor through natural recombination but has been introduced into the organism through modern technology, sometimes called "recombinant DNA technology" or "genetic engineering". Concerns regarding this practice include the question whether this process is leading to the creation of new species and whether there are truly any real benefits from GMOs because they are generally not significantly cheaper, does not have increased shelf-life, nor better taste — concerns which are immediate to the consumer. ("Frequently asked", 2014)
What are some of the policies and outlooks of the EU in relation to GMO's?
Consumer concerns regarding the safety of of GM foods led to a bad outlook for GMO's in the EU. Public attention regarding GMO's has been focused on the risk side of the risk-benefit equation to the point that consumer confidence on the safety of food supplies in Europe has significantly decreased even when the cause of food scares has been unrelated to GMO's. This has led to the labeling of GM foods so that consumers are given a chance of making an informed choice. ("Frequently asked", 2014)
What does the U.N.'s WHO say about GMO's environmental and food safety concerns?
Regarding environmental and food safety concerns in relation to GMO's, the UN's WHO says that these GM products go through a food safety and risk assessment before they are sent out to market. While there are valid concerns regarding the allergenicity, gene transfer, and outcrossing capabilities of genetically modified organisms, any new variation is carefully evaluated by both the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the WHO before they are deemed safe. To further the cause of bringing out products which are safe both to the environment and for people, the WHO presently takes an active role regarding GM foods and is working towards the improvement of the evaluation standards for GMO's. ("Frequently asked", 2014)
Based on: Amy Harmon, "A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA." The New York Times, July 27, 2013. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/science/a-race-to-save-the-orange-by-altering-its-dna.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&)
Briefly, describe the problem facing the Florida citrus industry, described in the article, that might be solved by GMOs.
The disease is aptly called by the locals as "citrus greening". This disease causes oranges to become sour and remain half green. Despite massive efforts to control the disease, including chopping down hundreds of thousands of infected trees and spraying a number of different pesticides against the carrier insect, the disease could still not be contained. (Harmon A., 2013)
The article mentions at least four possible sources for the gene that might save the Florida citrus industry. Try to find these four sources (near the middle of the article) and list them.
According to the article, Mr. Kress, of Southern Gardens, considered several DNA donors. This list includes two different types of vegetables (spinach and onion), a virus, and even a pig. Even a synthetically manufactured gene was considered.
What is your opinion on whether GMO orange juice might gain consumer acceptance?
I believe that GMO juice might gain consumer acceptance. It is as much a GMO food as any other which has been previously produced and accepted. In the Florida scenario, the question becomes, "Would you prefer oranges that uses spinach gene to fight pest or would you rather have oranges heavily-laden with chemical pesticides?". With that, I believe it has a better chance of acceptance than any other previous GMO food.
Is your answer affected at all the European Union regulation that all food products containing GMOs must be labeled?
My opinion is not at all affected by the European Union regulation on the labing of GMO products. Neither is it affected by any other regulation or convention by any governing body. My opinion was solely based on looking at the possibilities that could arise from the given scenario.
Is your answer affected by Whole Foods's announcement that it will avoid stocking most GMO foods by 2018 (as noted near the end of the article)?
As I have mentioned previously, my answer has not been affected by any regulation or convention. Nor was it affected by Whole Foods's announcement. The announcement was insignificant to my opinion. In the end, what will matter more is how information is being presented by both sides of the biotechnology debate.
Frequently asked questions on genetically modified foods. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/
Harmon, A. (2013). A race to save the orange by altering its DNA. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/science/a-race-to-save-the-orange-by-altering-its-dna.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
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