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Genetically Modified Foods College - Essay Example

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The substantial differentiation between traditionally produced and GM foods underscores the reasons why it is a source of such ethical controversy. Genetic modification, as Roller and Harlander (1998) explain, involves the altering of the genetic composition of foods in order to reduce, possibly eliminate, certain characteristics and limitations, while highlighting others…
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Download file "Genetically Modified Foods College Essay" to see previous pages... The implication here is, and as confirmed by Hallman et al (2002), that the primary different between the two food types is that the laws of nature dominate in the one and the laws of man, in the other.
The fact that GM foods involve the tampering with the laws of nature have been identified by several researchers and organizations as one of the more serious of the ethical concerns which confront GM foods.
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According to organizations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, current scientific knowledge does not allow for such tampering, insofar as it has neither the tools to limit the effect of GM foods, or even to deduce, let alone, counter their consequences. Many scientists, according to both Hallman and Metcalfe (1995) and Hallman et al (2002) agree and cite numerous concerns regarding the impact of GM foods on both nature and human health.
The potential impact of GM foods on human health is a source of serious ethical concerns. In two independent reports, Eubanks (2002) and Cherry (2007) contend that the very nature of their production positions GM foods as a potential risk to the health and well-being of consumers. GM foods are foods which contain herbicides, transgress the species barriers and involve such genetic modifications as which alter taste, texture and nutrient composition. The implication here is, as both Eubanks (2002) and Cherry (2007) emphasize, is that genetic alterations imply that these foods contain composites which may produce severe allergic reactions among some consumers but, to the extent that they are largely untested, or novel, their effect is unknown. Added to that, the long-term consequences of consuming GM foods is unknown and, indeed, scientists have not been able to conclude absolute long-term safety, beyond the shadow of a doubt (Eubanks, 2002; Cherry, 2007). The implication here is that consumers are being offered biotechnical foods whose long-term health effects have not been fully studied.
While conceding to the fact that GM foods are genetically altered, its proponents/producers maintain that alterations are, not only benign but, ultimately beneficial for consumers. As West and Larue (2005) report, producers contend that these benefits include the means and technologies by which to improve production efficiency and maximise output, even while lowering costs and hence, price to consumers. They further include the altering of the nutritional balance of foods in order to skew the said balance in favour of health-beneficial nutrients (West and Larue, 2005). In other words, from the perspective of GM food producers, there should be no ethical controversies surrounding GM foods as they are produced with the welfare of the consumer in mind.
Even while conceding to the fact that GM foods may very well be safe, the fact remains that legal and ethical principles dictate that such foods must be labelled, thereby allowing consumers to exercise their right to choice. As Freeman (2003) argues, the clear labelling of ingredients and food types protects the consumer's right to decide which types and kinds of foods he/she will consume and those which he/she will not. Upon ignoring labelling requirements, producers are actually transgressing upon the consumer's fundamental right to choice (Freeman, 2003). Indeed, taking this argument one step further, Gruber (2002) equates the labelling of GM ...Download file "Genetically Modified Foods College Essay" to see next pagesRead More
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