Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have become common place in our food supply. There are many ethical issues to consider in the entire process from feeding livestock with feed that has been produced from genetically modified ingredients, farming genetically modified crops and the products that end up on the store shelf as a result. What can the consumer in the United States do to insure the food they are feeding their families is safe? How do we know if the GMOs in our food supply are safe or hazardous?
There are many that believe there are no known risks with GMOs. The main purpose for genetically modified crops (GMCs) is to make them resistant to pesticides, diseases and pests. According to Henry I. Miller (2012), genetic engineering actually makes food safer by reducing such dangerous contaminants as fungus and mold in an established and practical way. In 2013, 93% of all soybeans, 90% of all feed corn and 90% of all cotton grown in the United States had been genetically modified. (Weise, 2014) There are other genetically modified crops in the United States such as alfalfa, canola, papaya, sweet corn and summer squash. The United States leads the world in genetically modified crops. (Weise, 2014)
On the other hand, you have arguments that GMOs are hazardous to our health and environment. Ronnie Cummins is the founder of the non-profit organization, Organic Consumers Association. According to Cummins (2012), genetically modified food has been found to contain toxins, some of them deadly and others cancer-causing; in addition, GMOs could harm people with allergies by exposing them to proteins spliced into common food products. The Organic Consumers Association is pushing for a complete ban on all GMOs and biotechnology as a whole. (Cummins, 2012)
No matter which side you are on, the fact remains that consumers rely on the labels they find on the food in grocery stores to help reach an informed decision when purchasing food. These labels show how many calories are in the product, if the product contains gluten, and the percentage of sodium in the product. The label has information concerning if a product is fat-free, sugar-free, could contain peanuts, all natural, and an excellent source of fiber. Labels spell all of these things out for consumers; however, there is no indication of whether it is genetically modified. (Helme, 2013) The Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates between 75% and 80% of conventional...