Good Example Of Ethical Issue In The Food Industry Essay
Food industry has been grappling with various ethical issues. These issues range from the manner in which employees are treated in the industry to food distribution and hunger issues as well issues relating to food safety and labeling. Ethics demands that people carry out activities that take cognizance of goodness (Ingensiep & Marc 3). Activities that yield positive outcomes for the individual and other people are said to be ethically correct. Activities that yield negative outcomes to either the individual or other people are said to be ethically incorrect. Thus, ethics requires human observance of that which is good and right. This paper is developed against the backdrop of an important ethical question. It seeks to examine an ethical issue in the hotel industry. For the purposes of this study, the paper will focus on food safety and labeling. Various Acts such as National Food Labeling Policy Act gave room for companies to create new food labels (Comstock 52). These labels offer reliable information to consumers regarding the various ingredients that should be used in dietary planning. However, this Act has raised concerns since the labeling of food has included food that is produced through genetic materials. Questions have been raised regarding the safety of genetically modified food that finds their way into the industry. While there is contention that genetically modified food is not safe for human consumption, proponents for genetically produced food contend that provides an answer to the perennial hunger situation across the globe. In addition, there are concerns that these foods, particularly from the farms, might have been contaminated by pesticides during the initial stages of growth.
The major argument in support of genetically modified foods is that they help to reduce hunger problem by providing food to a large number of people. This is because modification of food through genetics ensures high production of food. This argument holds that it is ethically wrong to watch people starve because they have nothing to eat. In this regard, production of food in large quantity by the aid of genetics helps to provide an appropriate redress to this problem.
On the other hand, another argument holds that it is ethically wrong to give produce food using unsafe means to serve a large number of people. This contrary opinion holds that use of genetics in the production of food raises important questions about the safety of people. These modified foods are said to have a higher possibility of enhancing diseases such as cancer in the body. This begs the question, “Is it ethically correct to end people suffering by inducing in them another form of suffering?”
In light of the foregoing, I support the argument that genetically modified food is a solution to hunger crisis. My argument relies on the statistics about the perennial hunger problem across the globe. Millions of people around the world live on less than a dollar a day. Such people live in squalid conditions and have been left to fathom indignations of poverty and hopelessness. Research indicates that one million people in Sub-Saharan Africa cannot access adequate food. Actually, people living in poverty conditions rely on low quality food to sustain their lives. This happens only when they are lucky to find it. To such people, quality of food doesn’t matter. Their interest is in finding something to eat. Thus, the argument that genetically modified food is “unfit for human consumption” does not hold in the context of the kind of life poor people undergo. To them, they would rather eat anything that comes their way than die due to debilitating poverty.
The use of genetically modified food in the hospitality industry aims to provide adequate food to millions of people. As long as many people can benefit from this development without having to face the challenge of hunger and possibly succumb, there is should be no issue arising. Scientists contend that the benefits of using genetically modified food far outweigh the risks that may be associated with it. Hunger has killed many people around the world. The act of dying due to hunger constitutes an ethical issue. Not only is it unethical to die due to shortage of food but also embarrassing to note that despite the world’s technologies and innovations, a human life can be lost due hunger. Therefore, the question that should be asked regarding this issue is whether to forego genetically modified foods and risk exposing people to the fury of hunger or provide them with food and examine the emerging issues later. I believe that emerging issues can be dealt with when the key problem (whose solution has been elusive) has, at least, been solved.
Reliance on utilitarianism
My argument for genetically modified is backed by utilitarian ethical theory. Utilitarianism advances that an action is ethically correct if it yields the highest return to the greatest number of people. The use of genetically modified food in the food industry to redress hunger problem for a large number of people is ethically correct. Utilitarian Theory believes in performing actions that yield the greatest positive outcome to the greatest number of people (Mill 3). In this regard, the focus should be placed on producing food to meet the demands of millions of people that need it. I believe that no human being, out of a conscious mind, can use genetics to produce food that can wipe out the entire human race. Humanity must accord benefit of doubt to the research that scientists have carried out to provide solution to the problems of man. I believe that providing positive to the greatest number of people is the reason the food industry recognizes the value of human life.
Counterargument’s reliance on virtue ethics
The opposing argument relies on virtue ethics to state that production of food through genetics violates virtue. Virtue ethics, unlike utilitarianism, holds that an action is unethical regardless of what value it brings to the greatest number of people provided it is morally incorrect (Louden 237). Christians rely on virtue ethics as a springboard upon which the rightness and wrongness of an action hinges. Virtue ethics demands honesty, fairness and transparency in the genetics processes that results into the production of food.
There cannot be virtue as long as people succumb to starvation in some parts of the world. If virtue ethics holds that some acts are immoral, where is morality in the act of dying due to hunger? Clearly, the genetically modified foods foster what is good and right by solving the world’s hunger problem. In this regard, it yields a positive outcome to a great number of people.
Comstock, Gary. "Ethics and genetically modified foods." Food Ethics. Springer New York,
Ingensiep, Hans Werner, and Marc Meinhardt. "Introduction: Food Ethics in a Globalized
World–Reality and Utopia." Food ethics. Springer New York, 2010. 1-14.
Louden, Robert. "On some vices of virtue ethics." (2010): 231-246.
Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism. Broadview Press, 2010.